There is nothing worse than going to the vet. In addition, there is the whole business of getting your cat into her carrier, which should be considered an Olympics event. It takes time driving there – the hissing and low growls – and then parking and carrying the carrier inside. There are dogs everywhere…so many dogs…and unfamiliar smells and noises that only make your sweet pet even more upset. You have to wait, you have to wait forever, and then you have to repeat the process to get home. How often does your cat REALLY need to go to the vet?
Kittens and the Vet
Your kitten needs to see the vet regularly during his first year of life. This includes making sure he gets all the necessary shots and getting him checked out for parasites and diseases. Your veterinarian will likely recommend regular checkups throughout your kitty’s first year of life.
The vet will probably tell you that it’s best to bring your kitten in for an appointment once a month, but there are some exceptions. If your kitten is older than 8 weeks, he might need to go in less frequently. He’ll need to come in for a vaccination every three to four weeks starting at 4 months old. And depending on what he’s being vaccinated against and how long he’s been living indoors, he might need to come in more frequently.
Adult Cats and Wellness Checks
Cats are very independent creatures, and while most people think of them as being pretty easygoing, there are some things that owners should know about keeping their pets happy and healthy. One of those things is annual checkups.
Just like humans, cats should go to the doctor once a year, even if they seem perfectly fine. This includes regular wellness checks, as well as vaccinations. Your vet can tell you what’s normal for your pet based on his or her age, breed, lifestyle, and health history.
Some vaccines also require boosters every few years to remain fully effective. If your cat hasn’t had one in awhile, ask your vet whether he or she recommends giving him or her another shot.
Wellness visits also create the ideal opportunity for you to discuss any concerns you may have about your cat’s behavior or appearance. You can talk about any dietary changes, too.
If your cat seems to be acting out of character, or showing signs of illness, don’t hesitate to bring it up during your appointment. Your vet can run tests to determine exactly what’s wrong.
Senior Cats and Vet Care
Cats live longer than dogs do, and many cats reach seven years old. However, there are certain health issues that tend to show up around this age, such as arthritis and kidney disease. If you notice any changes in your pet’s behavior, make sure to take her to the veterinarian immediately. You’ll want to bring along a copy of your pet’s vaccination records, as well as copies of any medical reports.
Is your cat due?
The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that cats receive veterinary care every six months. This includes routine checkups, vaccinations, deworming, flea control, dental cleaning and heartworm testing. If you’re unsure about what your cat needs, talk to your vet.
Kittens (birth – 1 year)
The first few months of your kitten’s life are critical. During this time, your kitten needs to receive proper nutrition and care. This includes regular veterinary checkups and vaccinations. You must keep track of your kitten’ s growth and development during this time. If your kitten is sick, it is important to take him/her to see a vet immediately.
Your veterinarian will administer vaccines to your kitten according to his/her age and health status. These include rabies, distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, feline leukemia virus, bordetella bronchiseptica, calicivirus, panleukopenia, coronavirus, and others.
At each visit, your veterinarian will examine your kitten for signs of illness and infection. He/she will perform fecal examinations to detect parasitic infections such as coccidia, giardia, cryptosporidium, whipworms, roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and others. They will also look for evidence of bacterial infections like salmonella, campylobacter, clostridium difficile, toxoplasmosis, and others.
You should provide your veterinarian with a fresh stool sample at each appointment. This will allow us to evaluate your kitten’s intestinal tract for parasites and bacteria. We may empirically treat your kitten for intestinal parasites if necessary.
Adult Cats (1 year – 10 years)
An annual wellness exam is important for every cat. During this visit, your vet will check yourcat’s teeth and gums, eyes, ears, nose, throat, heart, lungs, abdomen, skin, haircoat, weight, and overall well being. A complete physical exam includes checkingfor signs of illness such as coughing, sneezing, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, andweight loss. Your vet will perform a thorough dental evaluation including oral hygiene checks, toothscleaning, scaling, polishing, and tartar removal. Your vet will also examine your cat’s eyes,ears, nose, throat, and mouth. They’ll take note of any changes in your cat’s behavior,such as increased aggressiveness, fearfulness, excessive sleeping, hiding, or eating problems.Your vet will also look for any lumps or bumps that could indicate a problem. Finally, yourvet will measure your cat’s height and weigh him/her.
A fecal sample will be collected during the exam to test for internal parasites like roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and coccidia. If your catis pregnant, your vet will collect a urine sample to make sure there are no urinary tract infections.
If your cat has been vaccinated against feline leukemia virus, rabies, distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, panleukopenia, andcalicivirus, your vet will give booster shots for each vaccine. In addition, your vet willgive your cat a flea and tick preventative called Advantage Multi Plus.
Finally, your vet will administer a vaccination for Rabies, FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus), FeLV(feline leukemia virus), and Bordetella (kennel cough). These vaccines are given in the neck subcutaneously (under the skin).
Please remember that it is very important to keep your cat indoors. Outdoor cats can contract diseases from other animals, insects, and wildlife.
Senior Cats (10 years +)
Cats are living longer lives than ever before. They’re active, playful and energetic. But what happens once they reach the ripe old age of 10 years? Senior cats start showing signs of aging such as arthritis, kidney disease, diabetes, heart problems and vision loss.
The best way to keep your senior cat happy and healthy is to schedule regular checkups. We’ll do a complete physical exam including vital statistics, weight, temperature, pulse, respiration, eyes, ears, mouth, teeth, gums, skin, lymph nodes, abdomen, spine, joints, neurological exams, urinary tract, fecal examination and thyroid testing.
We’ll also test your cat’s cholesterol levels, electrolytes, glucose, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, vitamin D3 and B12.
If you notice anything unusual, please bring it to our attention immediately.