As a loving cat caretaker, you want to do everything you can to make sure your pet has a long, happy and healthy life. In this post, our Los Angeles vets explain how often you should take your cat to the vet for routine preventive care and wellness exams.
How Preventive Care Can Improve Your Kitty's Health
One of the surest ways to make sure your kitty has a long and healthy life is to prevent serious illnesses or catch them early when they are more easily treated.
By regularly taking your cat for their wellness checks and other routing procedures, you provide your vet the opportunity to monitor your kitty's overall health, look for the earliest signs of disease, and offer you recommendations for the preventive care that would suit your feline friend best.
Our vets understand how you might be worried about the costs of your cat's routine checkups and preventive care especially if they seem to be in optimal health, although, taking a proactive, preventive approach to your kitty's health could save you the fees of more expensive treatments in the future.
Routine Wellness Exams for Cats
Taking your cat to the vet for routine wellness exams is akin to taking them to the doctor for a physical checkup. As with people, the frequency with which your cat should have a physical examination depends on their age, lifestyle, and overall health.
We typically recommend once-yearly wellness exams for healthy adult cats; however, kittens, senior cats, and cats with underlying health conditions should see their vet more often for an examination.
Kittens (8 weeks-12 months old)
If your kitty is less than a year old then we suggest bringing them to the vet about once monthly, with their first veterinary appointment taking place when they are about 8 weeks old.
During their first year of life, kittens require multiple rounds of vaccinations to help protect them from common infectious diseases. Kittens require the Feline Leukemia and the FVRCP vaccines, which help 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).
Your young cat will be given these vaccines over the course of approximately 16 weeks and will go a long way in helping to keep them healthy their whole life.
The exact timing of your cat'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 unwanted mating behaviors as well as unwanted litters of kittens.
Adult Cats (1-10 Years Old)
If you have a healthy adult cat between 1 - 10 years old, we recommend taking them in once a year for an exam. 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 veterinarian will also provide your kitty with any required vaccines or booster shots, and 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 detects any signs of an arising health issue they will explain their findings to you and recommend the next steps.
Senior Cats (11+ years old)
Your feline friend is officially considered a senior cat when they turn 11 years old.
Since many cat diseases and conditions 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 some 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.