While we know that cats can generally be graceful and self-sustaining animals, they still require us to provide basic needs and care. Our Nashville vets talk about how often you should take a cat to the vet and some of the care they will receive during their checkup.
How to keep your cat healthy
Catching injuries and illness early makes all the difference in your cat's long-term health and happiness.
Bringing your cat to the vet regularly provides your veterinarian with the opportunity to monitor your kitty's overall health, look for the earliest signs of disease, and offer you recommendations for the preventive care products that would suit your feline friend best.
While you may be concerned with the overall cost of routine care, our vets at Belle Forest Animal Hospital can assure you that the cost of preventive care is much more reasonable than the cost of emergency care down the road.
Cat physical examinations
Taking your cat to the vet for routine wellness exams is the same as when you head in for a doctor's visit and the frequency of their visits will depend on your dog's age and medical conditions.
If you have an adult cat then we will recommend that they have annual vet visits, but kittens, senior cats, and kitties with an underlying health condition should see their vet more frequently for an examination.
Complete kitten care
Your kitten's first vet visit should be when they are approximately 8 weeks old and your vet should continue to see them monthly until they are around a year old.
Your kitten needs to have a variety of vaccinations during the first year of their life in order to help protect them from common infectious diseases. Kittens should get the Feline Leukemia vaccine and the FVRCP vaccine which helps 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).
These initial vaccinations will help to provide your kitten with a lifetime of care.
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.
Care for adult cats
From the time that your cat is a year old all the way until they are around 10 years old, you should be bringing your cat in for annual physical examinations. 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 cat will also need to receive any booster shots that they are due for during the visits, and your vet will 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 happens to notice the beginning of any issues for your cat then they will be sure to share their findings and discuss what the next steps will be.
Geriatric cat care
Once your cats are more than 11 years old it is considered a senior cat and requires geriatric care.
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.