You want to do everything in your power to help your cat live a long, healthy life. So, how often do cats need to go to the vet to keep them feeling and looking their very best? From their first days as a kitten to their senior years, here are some recommendations from our Oklahoma City vets.
How to Keep Your Cat Healthy
The best way to ensure your cat lives a long, healthy life is to prevent serious illnesses or have them diagnosed early, when they can be treated more easily.
Bringing your cat in for a regular visit with the vet offers your veterinarian the chance to monitor your feline friend's general health, check for early signs of disease, and give recommendations for preventive care products that best suit your kitty's needs.
Our veterinarians at Putnam North Animal Hospital understand that routine checkups and preventive care can be expensive, especially if your cat appears to be in good health. Having said that, taking a preventive, proactive approach to your kitten's or cat's health could save you money in the long run.
Physical Checkups for Cats
Scheduling routine exams for your cat is like booking a physical checkup with the doctor. Similar to humans, how often your cat should come in for a physical examination depends on their lifestyle, age and overall health.
As for when to take a cat to the vet, we typically recommend annual routine exams for healthy adult cats. However, kittens, cats with underlying health issues and senior cats should see the vet more frequently for an exam.
How often do kittens need to go to the vet?
For cats less than a year old, we recommend monthly vet visits, with their first veterinary appointment happening when they are about 8 weeks old.
Kittens require several rounds of vaccinations during their first year to help protect them from common infectious diseases. Kittens should receive the Feline Leukemia vaccine and the FVRCP vaccine, which help protect your feline friend from three highly contagious and potentially fatal feline diseases. They should also be vaccinated against Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1) and Feline Panleukopenia (FPL).
Your feline friend will be provided with these vaccines over the course of approximately 16 weeks and will go a long way in helping to keep them healthy their whole life.
The exact timing of your kitten's vaccinations will vary depending on your location and the overall health of your furry friend.
Our vets recommend having your kitten spayed or neutered when they are between 5 - 6 months in order to prevent a host of diseases and undesirable behaviors as well as unwanted litters of kittens.
Caring for Your Middle-Aged Cat's Health
If you have a healthy adult cat between 1 - 10 years old, we recommend taking them in once a year for an exam. These examinations are yearly physical checkups that are completed when your cat seems to be perfectly healthy.
Throughout your adult cat's routine exam your vet will implement a head-to-tail examination to look for early signs of diseases or other issues, such as parasites, joint pain, or tooth decay.
Your veterinarian will also give your cat any necessary vaccines or booster shots, talk to you about your cat's diet and nutritional needs, and recommend parasite protection products.
If your vet spots a developing health issue they will explain their findings to you and recommend the next steps.
Geriatric Care for Senior Cats
Cats are typically considered to be senior when they reach 11 years of age.
Because many cat diseases and injuries are more common in older pets, we recommend taking your senior companion to the vet every 6 months. All of the checks and advice listed above will be included in your geriatric cat's twice-yearly wellness check-ups, along with a few additional diagnostic tests to gain additional insights into your furry friend's overall health.
Some diagnostic tests we recommend for our senior patients include blood tests and urinalysis to check for early signs of problems such as kidney disease or diabetes.
Geriatric care for cats also includes a more proactive approach to keeping your feline companion comfortable as age-related issues such as joint pain become more common. If you have a senior cat, ask your vet how often you should bring your pet in for a routine exam.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.