How Often Your Cat Should Go To The Vet

Author:

Updated:

Editorial Standards

At Paws R Pals, we adhere to our editorial standards to provide accurate and trustworthy information about pets. As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases – Read our editorial standards for more details.

As a responsible cat parent, you must prioritize the health and well-being of your cat. Regular vet visits might not be your cat’s favorite idea of play. However, it is vital for its overall health. Like us, cats need preventative care to catch any potential issues before becoming too serious.

Kittens must see a vet every 3-4 weeks until they are four months old, whereas fully grown cats should visit the vet at least once a year.

How Often Should Your Cat Go To The Vet. An orange tabby cat with a white chest, lying on a white table facing forward. A person wearing green scrubs holding a stethoscope onto its tummy.

Missing out on routine physical examinations might be bad for you and your cat; unless you don’t mind your sofa turning into a scratching post, your curtains becoming a climbing gym, and your carpet is used as a litter box!

Read this article to know how often to take your cat to the vet.

When to Take Cats to The Vet

Every cat requires checkups at regular intervals, but the frequency typically depends on age. So let’s dive into the article to see the best schedule for kittens, adults, and senior cats.

Baby Kittens (Below 1 year): Once/twice a month

As a new cat owner, you should take your kitty to your vet soon after adoption to monitor its health at a young age. Baby cats require checkups by their vet once every 3-4 weeks for the initial 16 weeks of their life.

Depending on your cat’s lifestyle, family history, and common diseases in your area, immunizations begin around 8-10 weeks. The first vaccine round will include rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. Some visits can also include deworming treatments.

The initial visits are all about preliminary physical exams and discussions about tick prevention. You can even ask queries regarding nutrition and training. Around the six-month mark, your kitten will be ready to get neutered.

Adult Cats (1-8 years): Once/twice a year

Healthy adult cats should ideally have once-a-year checkups, but if they suffer from chronic conditions, they should be examined more frequently. The veterinarian will ask about your cat’s lifestyle (an indoor-only or outdoor-indoor cat) to assess any risks involved.

At this age, your cat can catch diseases like feline leukemia and feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) from outdoor cats. Therefore, booster vaccines and physical exams will continue as your cat ages. They will also receive the first rabies vaccine during adult age, recommended every 1-3 years.

The vet will also inspect your cat’s teeth to check for signs of pain while eating. Other than this, regular deworming and coat care are also highly imperative.

Senior Cats (Above 8 years): 2-3 times a year

When your cat approaches its senior stages (8-10 years), you should increase the vet visit frequency to 2-3 times a year. Like humans, as cats age, more and more medical issues arise swiftly without warning, making more senior cat vet visits necessary.

Senior cats require routine blood tests to check for metabolic troubles and overall organic functioning. Other tests like urine and blood pressure will help combat diseases like kidney disease, cardiomyopathy, and diabetes.

It is essential to report any behavioral changes in your cat to the vet as it can be a sign of underlying health concerns. In addition, regular visits throughout your cat’s life with one vet will allow your cat to build a trusting relationship and make these visits less stressful.

Common Reasons Behind a Vet Visit for Your Cat

Here are some of the most common reasons why cat owners take their cats to the vet.

Change in Diet And Weight Loss

Cats are good at hiding their pain, but one way to determine if they are suffering is through their eating habits. A sudden decrease in appetite, increased water intake, or weight loss can all be signs of life-threatening diseases.

Generally, a healthy cat can lose up to 10% of its body weight without significant health concerns. However, regarding changes in diet, it is essential to make any dietary changes gradually to avoid upsetting your cat’s digestive system.

Tip: A general guideline is to introduce a new diet over 7-10 days, gradually increasing the new food while decreasing the amount of the old food.

Over Exhaustion

If your cat has become excessively lethargic or lacks interest in things they usually enjoy, it could be a cause for concern. This also includes increased sleep, less socializing, difficulty in jumping, and stiffness in the body.

Litter Box Issues

The most common struggle of every cat parent is to deal with cat spraying. If your well-trained cat is avoiding the litter box or struggling to poop, it may suffer from a urinary infection. 

Look for the following:

  • Refusing to use the litter box
  • Urinating or defecating outside the litter box
  • Spraying urine outside the litter box
  • Experiencing constipation or diarrhea
  • Not covering waste in the litter box

Past Trauma

Some past experiences, such as; being bullied, losing a friend, or moving to a new place, can distress your cat. In such cases, it becomes crucial to take advice from your vet to help your kitty.

To help your cat lower anxiety levels, use pheromone sprays/diffusers, provide hiding places or posts where your cat feels safe, and use positive reinforcement and rewards to build trust.

Obesity

Obesity is another common factor among house cats that can lead to severe health issues if not taken seriously. You can check for obesity in your cat by seeing whether or not you can feel the ribs or see a clear waistline and a tummy tuck.

Healthy weight for an adult cat typically varies by breed, but generally, anywhere around 4-5 kg is considered ideal. However, some large breed cats like Maine Coons can weigh as much as 6-7 kg and still be healthy.

Lumps

Although some lumps seem harmless, it is impossible to determine whether they are dangerous. Therefore, examining them to avoid any possible complications is better.

Some common diseases that are often behind lumps are:

  • Abscesses
  • Lipomas
  • Cysts
  • Tumors (benign or malignant)
  • Infections
  • Inflammation
  • Hematomas
  • Cancer
  • Parasitic infestations

Unusual Walk

An abnormal walking style, like dragging one leg or struggling to walk, could indicate arthritis or other injury. If your cat shows any of these signs, you should take the necessary precautions.

Don’t Ignore These Telltale Signs: Your Cat May Need a Vet

Below are some common signs that call for a quick visit to the vet. But first, let us look at symptoms that you should observe for a day or two before seeking medical help:

  • Red & Watery Eyes: If your cat has redness or water in its eyes, it could be a symptom of an allergy or eye infection. Wait for a day and book an appointment with the vet if it does not improve or gets worse.
  • Frequent Sneezing: Sneezing in cats is often related to allergies but could also be a sign of bacterial infections. If this symptom is followed by loss of appetite, contact your vet immediately.
  • Irregular Vomit: Cats usually vomit more than other animals. While occasional spitting up of hairballs is quite normal, an increased frequency is worth a checkup.
  • Diarrhea: One episode of diarrhea is fine. However, if it continues, you must see a vet to avoid dehydration or stomach ailments in your cat.
  • Change in Behavior: Cats often show sudden changes in behavior due to environmental changes. You should visit your vet if these changes persist for an extended period.

In some cases, your cat may need immediate medical attention. If you notice any of the signs below, take your cat to the vet immediately:

  • Breathing Issues: If your cat is having difficulty breathing, look for gum and tongue color changes. A pale or blue tint indicates a severe problem that should be treated instantly.
  • Frequent Vomit: While occasional vomiting is not uncommon in cats, frequent vomiting within a short period is alarming and requires immediate care.
  • Collapse Or Unable to Wake Up: If your cat suddenly collapses or becomes unresponsive, it is crucial to take them to an emergency vet as soon as possible.
  • Abdominal Pain: You should consult your vet if your cat shows signs of abdominal pain, like arching their back for more than 30 minutes or meowing in distress.
  • Poisoning: If you suspect your cat has consumed something toxic, call your veterinarian whether or not any side-effects symptoms are present.
  • Heatstroke: Cats usually breathe through the nose. If your cat is panting or breathing through its mouth, this may be a sign of heatstroke that a vet should assess.
  • Accident: If your cat has met with some accident or minor injury that you think can’t wait until the morning, don’t hesitate to call your vet directly.
  • Problems with Urinating: Urinary problems are common in older cats. It could be an alarming concern if your cat cannot urinate or meows while urinating.
  • Paralysis in Limbs: Paralysis in one or more limbs of your cat can point to heart or clotting issues. It is a signal to consult your cat’s veterinarian.
  • Crying When Touched: If you touch your cat and they start crying/wailing excessively, it is a sign of underlying issues.

Before You Take Your Cat to the Vet

Below are some items you must carry along with some bonus tips when taking your cat to a vet.

Gather All The Paperwork

You will receive your cat’s paperwork when adopting one. The vet will ask for all the paperwork, including vaccination records, previous medical history, and any test results or X-rays that may be relevant.

Furthermore, take your cats’ identification information, such as their microchip number and registration information.

Choose a Comfortable Carrier

Make sure to get your cat a comfy carrier of the right size, not too small, not too large. It should be left open at home for a few weeks before the visit to familiarize your cat.

You can encourage your cat to use the carrier by placing its favorite toy, treat, clothing, or a calming scent inside it. Additionally, carefully strap the carrier to secure it from moving during travel.

Schedule a meeting During the Quiet Hours

Avoid booking an appointment at the clinic during peak hours. Instead, try to go around in the morning or early afternoon. Discuss this with your vet if your cat is too scared to visit the clinic or act out. They may give some meds to calm your cat down before the process begins.

Keeping Your Cat Healthy: Tips to Minimize Vet Visits

You may often take your cat to the vet for unexpected visits besides the annual checkups. However, there are ways in which you can reduce the likelihood of these situations.

If you are a first-time cat owner or someone who does not give enough time to their cat, things might worsen over time. Having a pet is a big responsibility and often requires interacting with your pet daily. Here are some tips to help ensure you do not have to run to the vet now and then.

  1. Give your cat a healthy and nutritious diet, and only go with reputed brands. This might be costly, but it will help keep issues at bay in the long run.
  2. You can also consider keeping your cat indoors to avoid any potential injuries. Additionally, if you are taking your cat outside, watch it constantly.
  3. Keeping your cat active and mentally stimulated can help prevent obesity and other health issues. You can also purchase various moving toys, scratch posts, and hideouts to keep your cat engaged.
  4. Use preventative treatments, such as flea and tick preventatives, to help prevent infestations and the spread of disease.
  5. Check your cat regularly and brush them daily. Look out for any lumps, cuts, or potential signs of injuries anywhere.
  6. Be sure to take your cat outside and not keep it locked inside all the time. Having a window in your room might also help with mental stimulation.

FAQs on Your Cat Visiting The Vet

Now that you know how often you should take your cat to the vet, look at some more frequently asked questions to help you with the process.

How important is it to take your cat to the vet?

Your cat may be suffering from a significant medical condition, and you would have no idea! Routine checkups are essential to detect issues at an early stage before it turns into something serious. Taking your cat to the vet regularly is non-negotiable!

What do you need for your cat’s first visit?

First, vet visits are an opportunity to exchange information. The vet will ask for your cat’s documents to create a suitable schedule. These initial visits are beneficial to create a bonding. Be sure to keep some treats and registration for the first visit.

How much do annual checkups cost?

The average cost of an annual cat checkup ranges from vet to vet. However, in an emergency, the price of a visit can significantly increase, potentially costing thousands.

Does pet insurance cover regular health checkups?

It majorly depends on your choice of pet insurance. While some only cover emergency cases, others offer routine vaccines and physical exams. In addition, pet insurance is usually less expensive for young cats than for older cats.

Final Thoughts on Visiting The Vet With Your Cat

Pets are family and should be treated like so. Taking your cat to the veterinarian at least once a year for a routine checkup is crucial. This can help detect any potential health issues early n and ensure that your cat is up to date on vaccinations.

Thanks for reading! Before you go, you might find these articles helpful:

Ways To Lengthen Your Cat’s Lifespan

When To Neuter or Spay A Cat

How Often Should Cats Eat

About the author

Share via
Copy link