Regular checkups and preventive care are essential for giving your cat their best shot at a long and healthy life, but how often should you take your cat to the vet for a checkup? Below are the approximate schedules our Westminster vets recommend.
The Ongoing Healthcare Needs of Cats
Our vets believe that the best way to make sure your kitty has a long and healthy life is to prevent serious illnesses from developing or catch them in the earliest stages when they are more easily treated.
Routine checkups for your cat give your vet the opportunity to monitor your kitty's overall well-being and physical health, watch for the earliest signs of disease, and offer recommendations for the preventive care products that would suit your feline friend best.
At Wachusett Animal Hospital we understand that the potential cost of routine checkups and preventive care can be a concern, especially if your feline friend seems to be in perfect health. However, taking a proactive, preventive approach to your cat or kitten's health could save you the cost of more expensive treatments down the road.
What Routine Checkups for Cats Involve
Taking your cat to the vet for routine wellness exams is like bringing them to the doctor for a physical checkup. As with people, how often your cat should have a physical examination depends on their age, lifestyle, and overall health.
We typically recommend annual wellness exams for healthy adult cats, but kittens, senior cats, and kitties with underlying health conditions should see their vet more frequently for an examination.
Routine Health Checks for Kittens
So, how often should you take a kitten to the vet? If your feline friend is less than a year old, then we suggest bringing them to the vet once monthly starting when they are approximately 8 weeks old.
Throughout their first year, kittens need multiple rounds of vaccinations to help protect them from common infectious diseases. Kittens should get the Feline Leukemia vaccine and the FVRCP vaccine which help protect your feline friend from 3 highly contagious and life-threatening feline diseases, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1) Feline Calicivirus (FCV), and Feline Panleukopenia (FPL).
Your kitten will be provided with these vaccines over the course of approximately 16 weeks, which 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 to prevent a host of diseases, undesirable behaviors, and unwanted litters of kittens.
Annual Wellness Care for Middle Aged Cats
If you have a healthy adult cat between the ages of 1 - 10 years, we recommend annual visits to see the vet. These wellness exams are yearly physical checkups that should be completed even 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 detects any signs of a health issue, they will explain their findings to you and recommend the next steps.
Optimal 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.
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.