According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are about 58 million cats living in homes scattered throughout the country. They’re present in just over 25% of American households.
This might lead you to believe that people are well-versed when it comes to knowing how often their cats need to take a trip to the veterinarian for a cat check-up. But in reality, many cat owners—especially those who just got a cat for the first time—aren’t sure when they need to bring their cat to the vet.
Cat check-ups are extremely important as far as your cat’s health is concerned. If your cat doesn’t go to the vet on a regular basis, you could end up paying a small fortune to treat your cat’s medical issues down the line.
Here is a quick breakdown of how often your cat should go to the vet throughout the course of their life.
Your Cat’s First Year
One of the first things you should do when you welcome a kitten into your home is find a veterinarian that you trust for them.
There are more than 70,000 vets working in the U.S. today. But you shouldn’t trust just any vet to care for your kitten. You should look for the best one in your area to provide your kitten with the treatment they need early on in life.
You can track down the best vet for your kitten by:
- Asking family members and friends for recommendations
- Reading online reviews for vets in your city or town
- Checking out the websites for vets in your area to see what services they offer and what kind of experience they have
You can also read more here about finding the right vet for your kitten.
Locating the right vet is essential because you’re going to need to bring your kitten to the vet about once every month until they’re four months old. Your vet will test them for things like feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia.
Your vet will also give your kitten a series of vaccinations during the first 16 weeks of their life. These vaccines should include the:
- FVRCP vaccine for feline distemper
- FeLV vaccine for feline leukemia
- Rabies vaccine
Outside of providing your cat with vaccines, bringing your kitten to the vet for regular check-ups will give you a chance to ask any questions you might have about your new feline friend. You can discuss their eating habits, their sleeping patterns, and more with your vet.
All of this will help you keep tabs on your cat’s health and make their well-being a big priority from the earliest stages of their life.
Your Cat’s Next 7 Years
After the first year of your cat’s life, you’re going to be on a first-name basis with your vet. You’re going to see them so often that they’re going to know you and your cat as soon as you walk into their office.
But once the first year is over, you and your cat will start to visit your vet a whole lot less, assuming they don’t have any major medical issues. Generally speaking, you’ll only have to worry about taking your cat in for a cat check-up about once every year.
During your cat’s yearly check-up, your vet will check them from head to tail to make sure that they aren’t dealing with any health problems. They’ll provide your cat with a full examination and let you know if there is any cause for concern.
Unfortunately, vets don’t usually take blood samples from cats like they do with dogs to check for things like heartworms. This is because blood samples aren’t always reliable with cats.
But depending on how healthy your cat looks, your vet may or may not recommend other tests. Your vet will also start keeping track of which vaccines your cat has had and offer booster shots to you and your cat over the years.
It’s very easy for cat owners to forget to make an appointment for an annual cat check-up. It’s why it’s so important to work with a vet who will follow-up with you and make sure your cat comes in every year for their check-up.
Your Cat’s Senior Years
It’s impossible to predict exactly how long cats are going to live for. But most cats tend to live to be somewhere between 10 and 15 years old.
This means that your cat will be considered a “senior” cat by the time they turn about 7 years old. At that point, it’ll be up to you to start having cat check-ups done on a more regular basis.
Most vets will tell you that you should try to get a cat over the age of 7 into their office about twice every year. This will give a vet the chance to give your cat a more comprehensive physical exam.
The vet will keep a close eye on your cat’s:
- Kidney health
- Liver health
- Thyroid hormone levels
They’ll also address any signs of arthritis and talk to you about what you can do to make your cat’s life more manageable day in and day out.
The more often you can bring your cat to the vet for check-ups, the better. It’ll improve your cat’s quality of life and allow them to make the most of their senior years.
Schedule a Cat Check-Up for Your Feline Friend Today
It doesn’t matter if your cat is six months old, 3 years old, or well over a decade old. You’re going to want to get into the habit of taking your cat to the vet for a cat check-up.
Check-ups allow your vet to look out for potential health problems with your cat. They also give you an opportunity to talk to your vet about any issues you may have spotted.
You can extend your cat’s life in many cases simply by making vet appointments. Even if your cat doesn’t love what happens at the vet, they’ll love how hard you work to take good care of them.
Read our blog to find out more tips for caring for your cat.