As a pet parent, you want what’s best for their health and well-being. You've probably bought the best foods and carefully researched the best litter box and interactive toys for them. But being a pet parent goes beyond having the best supplies - it also involves keeping on top of your cat's health and wellness, including knowing when to schedule visits with your vet.
Most cats hate going to the vet, and the entire process of getting there is stressful for both you and your kitty. Your cat not only has to brave unfamiliar territory but also the sounds and smells of other pets at the clinic. The result can be howling and hissing. No cat parent wants to go through that ordeal, so we may hesitate to bring our feline friends for regular checkups. Stressful as the journey may be, your cat requires regular vet care. So, how often should your cat be seen by a vet?
How Often Should Your Cat See a Vet?
Do cats need check-ups? Yes, they do. So, how often should they visit the vet? The answer to this question depends on the age of the cat. The medical needs of a kitten are completely different from that of an adult cat. It is important to schedule the recommended number of cat wellness visits for his or her age, to ensure that your cat is healthy and free of disease.
How Often Should Your Kitten See Vet?
The recommended time for your kitten to be seen by a vet depends on their age and what vaccines and deworming products they’ve had so far. When adopting a rescue kitten or cat, the pet parent usually signs an agreement with the rescue organization or shelter to take their furry friend to the vet for a wellness exam. For other kittens, wellness exams start at around eight weeks and continue until they are approximately six months. Kittens need to visit the vet regularly to receive essential vaccinations. The basic vaccination schedule for kittens looks like this:
First vaccine: Six to eight weeks
Second vaccine twelve to fourteen weeks
Third vaccine: Three months to sixteen weeks
Once the vaccination period is complete, the next step is ascertaining when your kitten should be neutered or spayed.
Cats reach their sexual maturity between four and six months of age. Neutering your kitten at around four months can help prevent surprise pregnancies. It can also help to curb unwanted behaviors linked with sexual maturity. The vet will take into account your kitten's size and age to determine if they are ready to be neutered or spayed. This is also an excellent time to microchip your kitten. Your vet may also recommend testing for retroviruses like Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV).
Deworming treatments may also be given during a kitten or cat wellness visit, as most young cats get intestinal worms from their mothers. The vet will also check for tick and flea infestation. Your vet may also offer advice on nutrition, training, and tick and flea prevention.
How Often Should Your Junior Cat See a Vet?
A junior cat is between the ages of seven months and two years. During this period, your cat will undergo lots of rapid changes. Visiting the vet annually can help your feline keep up with vaccinations, dental health, nutrition, weight management, and behavioral and environmental health.
How Often Should Your Adult Cat See a Vet?
The average age of an adult cat is between three to six years. The recommended time to visit the vet for healthy adult cats is once a year. During these yearly visits, your vet will inquire about your furry friend's lifestyle, especially whether she's an outdoor or indoor cat. Outdoor cats can face more health risks like predators and parasites.
Cats that love the outdoors are often exposed to diseases like feline infectious peritonitis and feline leukemia. These diseases easily spread from one cat to another. Administering a feline leukemia vaccine during a pet wellness exam can help protect your cat. The vet will also inspect your cat's teeth and perform a general physical exam. Vaccines like rabies and FVRCP will also be administered.
How Often Should My Senior Cat See a Vet?
A senior cat is any cat older than 11 years of age. During a cat’s senior years, he or she is at a higher risk of developing diseases, so it's recommended that they visit the vet every six months. During these visits, your vet will want to know if your cat has exhibited behavior changes. For instance, your vet will want to know whether your cat is drinking more water than usual. If they are, your vet will want to screen your cat for diabetes or kidney problems. Your vet will also screen your cat for other health problems during each visit. These screenings will give your vet information about whether your cat is healthy. The screening process could also involve regular blood/urine tests and checking your feline's blood pressure.
When Should You Take Your Cat to the Vet in an Emergency?
Preventative care for your cat is always better than reactive care. But what happens when an emergency pops up? How do you tell when you need to take your cat to the vet right away? Here are several signs that indicate potential problems that may require an immediate visit to the vet:
Change in your cat's appetite
Awkward movement or limping
Change in urine or stool
Avoiding human contact
Seeing a vet shouldn't be something your cat does only when an emergency, illness, or concern arises. But, if you are worried about what your cat will do on the ride to the clinic, BetterVet has got you covered. We are a full-service mobile veterinary practice that brings quality veterinary services straight to your doorstep.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens during an In-Home Cat Wellness Exam?
Our in-home Wellness Exams provide essential, preventative care for your cat. Preventative care is one of the best things you can do to keep your cat feeling healthy and happy. We offer all common ‘core’ vaccines and non-core vaccines for kittens and cats. We also recommend annual cat wellness checkups, during which our veterinarian can also provide booster vaccines if needed. Once you schedule your in-home visit, our mobile veterinarian and nurse will come to your home to give your kitty a nose-to-tail examination. Our doctor will discuss your pet’s history and determine the best vaccine schedule for your pet before administering any vaccine.
What are the benefits of in-home veterinary care?
Pets often associate carriers, car rides, and vet clinics with anxiety. When wellness and sick visits are provided to your pet at home, this not only eliminates stress and fear but also allows our doctors to better assess them. BetterVet performs all of the standard services that a vet clinic provides, but in the comfort of a home.
When can I use a telemedicine option for my cat?
Besides home visits, our BetterVet pet parents can also access our services via video consultation. These consultations allow us to follow up on your cat’s health and advise on the proper nutrition for your pet. Video consultations are an excellent option when you want to check in with your vet about your cat’s health and development and if you are unsure whether your cat should be scheduled for a veterinary appointment. Telehealth is a stress-free way for you and your cat to connect virtually with one of our doctors, who will view your pet through the camera, and work with you to create a plan for their care.