Cat owners want to make sure their kitties live long, healthy, and happy lives. So, how often should your cat go to the vet to keep up this health? Our Capitola vets break down how often you should take your cat to the vet and why it's important.
How to Keep Your Cat Healthy
The number one way to keep your cat healthy is to catch any illnesses early on and have them treated promptly. This can only be done by bringing your cat to the vet for regular visits to check on their general health.
Our veterinarians at Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital understand that the cost of routine checkups and preventive care may be a concern, especially if your cat seems perfectly healthy. That said, taking a preventive, proactive approach to your kitten or cat's health could save you paying for expensive treatments long-term.
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.
Preventive Healthcare for Kittens
For cats less than a year old, we recommend monthly exams, with their first veterinary appointment happening when they are about 8 weeks old.
During their first year, kittens need several rounds of vaccinations to help prevent them from contracting common infectious diseases. Kittens should have the Feline Leukemia vaccine and the FVRCP vaccine, which help protect your feline friend from three highly contagious and life-threatening feline diseases. They should also be vaccinated against Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1) Feline Calicivirus (FCV), 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 and 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 provide your kitty with any required vaccines or booster shots, and have a conversation with you about your cat's diet and nutritional requirements, as well as recommend the appropriate 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.
Since many cat diseases and injuries tend to be more common in older pets we recommend bringing your senior companion to the vet every 6 months. Twice-yearly wellness check-ups for your geriatric cat will include all of the checks and advice listed above, but with a few additional diagnostic tests to obtain extra insights into your furry friend's overall health.
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.