Sometimes it’s difficult to know when to take your fur baby to the vet; this may be especially true if your kitty appears to be healthy. Other times it may be more obvious an appointment is necessary. New pet parents, who have never had a cat before, may also wonder exactly when to take kitty to the vet. So, we’re here to help you.
We’ll take a look at how often your cat may need an exam, signs and symptoms that should prompt a vet visit and more.
How Often Should My Cat See the Vet?
Most pet parents view cats as usually healthy pets. They’re very independent and seem to take care of themselves without too much fuss. As a result, many people believe cats don’t need much medical care. However, cats are great at hiding pain and other issues. She could be sick for a while before you even see symptoms.
Your precious feline companion does need to see the vet on a regular basis. The frequency of the visits will depend on your kitty’s age and health. The following advice is for both indoor and outdoor cats.
- Kittens: need to see the vet several times in their first year. The first visits, around 6-8 weeks of age, will be wellness visits to make sure she’s growing and progressing normally, she’ll receive her first vaccinations about once a month until she’s about 4-6 months old. During this time, you’ll also want to discuss having your kitten spayed or neutered. And don’t forget to have her microchipped.
- Adult cats: from 1-6 years of age, your adult cat should visit the vet about once a year for wellness visits, updates on vaccinations, etc. The vet will give her a good going over and may run some tests during the exam. They’ll also ask if your kitty’s habits have changed or if you’ve noticed anything different about your cat and/or her behaviors. Be sure to bring up the smallest detail, even if it seems unimportant. This small detail could be pointing to a health issue your cat has developed. Remember, early intervention and treatment can save your cat’s life.
- Senior cats: between the ages of 7-10 years, your kitty will be considered a senior. By this time, she may have developed arthritis and other health issues. Vets often recommend that senior cats see the vet about every 6 months, even if they appear to be healthy. During this stage in your cat’s life, you’ll want to be a little more observant of her behaviors and even her weight. At this age, your cat’s health can change quickly. Some of the most common illnesses during the senior years include arthritis, kidney and/or liver issues, weight fluctuations, etc.
Taking your fur baby on a regular basis is an excellent way to stay on top of any health or behavioral issues that may develop. Not only that, but regular vet visits can catch issues before they become serious. Pet your cat regularly to check of irregularities on its fur and skin.
Early treatment and diagnosis could save her life, while regular visits can also cut down veterinary costs when medical problems are caught earlier, rather than later
When Should I Take my Cat to the Vet
Have you ever wondered whether or not your precious fur ball needs to see the vet? Do you know what signs and symptoms to watch for that indicate a vet is needed? We’re here to help you with these questions! After researching this question online, here’s a list of 10 signs & symptoms that may indicate your cat needs to see the vet.
1). Excessive vocalizations: is your cat meowing more or louder than normal? If your kitty all of a sudden starts “talking” more often, it could be a sign of a health issue. Excessive “talking” can be a sign of pain, distress, etc. One note—excessive vocalization can be a sign that your cat’s in heat; however, if she’s been spayed (or your male cat’s been neutered), then this probably is not the cause. It’s time to call the vet for a checkup.
2). Discharge from eyes and/or nose: cats catch colds just like we do, and it’s possible if your kitty has mucus coming from her eyes or nose that she’s got a cold. Or it could be a sign of another type of feline virus. Be sure to keep an eye on kitty and keep mucus cleaned off her nose and eyes with a warm, damp cloth. If her symptoms last longer than 7-10 days or worsen, then it’s time to get her checked by the vet. One note—after cleaning your kitty’s eyes/nose, be sure to wash your hands. Some illnesses can be transferred from cats to the pet parents.
3). Eating and potty habits: be sure to watch your cat’s eating and potty habits. Changes in his eating or potty patterns may indicate he’s under the weather. Watch for sudden changes in his appetite or in his litter box use. Pay attention to whether your cat seems to be eating more or less than normal, or if she’s even refusing to eat. Notice changes in his feces—color, smell, etc. Also check the litterbox for diarrhea, constipation, etc.
4). Abnormal walking: if your fur baby’s walk suddenly changes, this could indicate problems such as infection, a broken bone, arthritis or another problem. You may notice kitty is limping or favoring one leg or otherwise just not walking normally. This is a sign there’s a problem and you need to call the vet.
5). Vomiting: cats can develop upset stomachs and end up vomiting. Maybe a cat’s eaten something they shouldn’t, ate too fast, they’re eliminating fur balls, etc. These can be normal; however, if your kitty is vomiting a lot or over a day or two, then it’s time to all the vet. If you notice blood in the vomit, this could indicate an emergency situation—get to the vet as soon as possible.
6). Coughing: cats can develop a cough for many different reasons including asthma, allergies, heart or lung disease. If your kitty’s coughing and it worsens or lasts more than a day or two, then it’s time to see the vet. If you notice her gums are a bluish color, then this indicate a serious problem such as cyanosis (lack of oxygen). Take kitty to the vet as soon as possible.
7). Changes in activity levels: if your kitty suddenly goes from full of energy and playful to lethargic and laying around, it may indicate a health issue. Older cats will slow down over time, but a sudden change in your cat’s activity level could indicate problems such as stress, depression, or another medical issue.
8). Grooming habits: cats normally spend almost ½ the day cleaning and grooming themselves; however, if you notice your cat is all of a sudden cleaning herself more often, she may have a problem such as parasites (fleas, ticks, lice, etc.), food or other allergies, or even be stressed or depressed. On the opposite side of the spectrum, if your kitty suddenly stops grooming herself, this is also an indication something’s off. It’s time for a trip the vet to determine what’s causing excessive or a lack of grooming.
9). Changes in behavior: has your kitty suddenly become a recluse, where he used to be socializing with you all day? Does he seem to be experiencing separation anxiety when you go out? Or has your cat started going potty all of the house? Behavioral changes can sometimes indicate your precious fur baby has a health issue and needs to be checked out by the vet.
10). Major injuries or trauma: your cat will definitely need to see the vet if she’s suffered a major injury or trauma, such as being hit by a car, a fight with another cat or other animals, etc. Be aware that your kitty could have internal injuries and not show any outward physical symptoms.
Some people say, “I never take my cat to the vet.” This is not being a responsible pet parent. Cats, even if they appear healthy and active, should at least have a yearly checkup. You can ensure her vaccinations are all current and ensure that she’s truly healthy.
If you’re ever in doubt about if your precious feline companion needs to see the vet, then be sure to take her just to be on the safe side. Again, we want to repeat that early diagnosis and treatment can mean the difference in your cat’s health and even save her life.
Taking Aggressive Cat to Vet
Some cats just hate going to the vet. They may be scared or have had a bad experience in the past. And some just don’t enjoy being in a car on their way to and from the vet. When cats are very scared they can become quite aggressive. How do you manage taking your scare, aggressive kitty for medical treatment? How to get a scared cat to the vet:
- Plan ahead: get an appointment with your vet and inform them your cat may be scared and aggressive. Also, planning ahead, you’ll be able to schedule the trip and keep waiting room time to a minimum. Consider arriving 5-10 minutes ahead of time and hopefully the wait time will be fairly short. Then your fur baby won’t have to be traumatized by other animals in the waiting room.
- Crate or carrier: be sure to use a crate or carrier to keep kitty contained in the car on the way to the vet. Not only will this keep you both safe (you won’t have to worry about a mad, scared cat jumping on your back as your drive!), but your cat may feel a little calmer when in the crate. She should be comfortable in the crate or carrier well before the need to travel in it. Make the carrier/crate comfortable with your kitty’s favorite blanket and toy. You can also lure her in with her favorite treats. Try to make her as comfortable as possible.
- At the vet: if your cat’s too anxious and aggressive, it may be necessary for the vet to give her a sedative. The sedative only makes her relaxed and calm, which makes it easier for the vet to do an exam and any necessary tests or treatments.
If your cat is just not able to calm down, then it might be necessary to give her some medication at home, before you go to the vet’s.
We hope this short guide will help you determine when your precious fur baby needs to see the vet. Cats are good at hiding pain and medical problems, but by keeping track of her behavior, you may be able to spot trouble early, before it becomes a major medical problem. Remember—early diagnosis and treatment can help your kitty have a healthier, longer life.