Knowing when to take your cat to the vet is important not only for your pet, but also for your budget. Vet visits vary exponentially based on your cat’s age and health level. That’s why we have created a complete guide answering your question of “How often do you take a cat to the vet?”
Vet Visits for Newly Adopted Cats
Newly adopted cats have their own set of rules for vet visits during the first week to a month after adoption. Most shelters will require adopters to take their new feline friend to the vet within the first week of adoption. This is an essential step in your relationship with your cat for several reasons. First, it allows you to swiftly kick off your cat’s relationship with you and their new vet. Secondly, the vet visit will help you get a clearer idea of your cat’s health and the level of care they might need in the future.
Routine check-ups are essential to maintain the health of cats. Depending on the age and health level of the cat, the number of routine veterinary visits your cat needs may range from once a year to three times a year.
Kitten Routine Check-ups
Kittens (0-1 years old) need extra care in the first year after birth, including vaccines and multiple checkups.
0-16 Weeks (4 Months) Old
Between the ages of 0 and 16 weeks (4 Months), Kittens should see their veterinarian every 3-4 weeks. During these veterinarian visits, your kitten will undergo a series of vaccinations, blood tests, stool examinations, and full-body examinations.
6-12 Months Old
When your kitten is 6 months old he/she becomes a candidate for neutering/spaying. During this time, you will need to make an appointment with your veterinarian to determine when your kitten should undergo the procedure.
Adult Cat Routine Check-ups
Adult cats (ages 1 – 10 years) in good health may only require an annual check-up with their vet. During this vet visit, they will receive a comprehensive physical exam, stool check, and an update on their vaccinations. Other tests that the veterinarian may recommend you to do include a dental checkup/cleaning or blood test.
Senior Cat Routine Check-ups
Senior cats (ages 10 – 15 years) need biannual check-ups since they are more likely to develop serious health conditions at this age. During these examinations, your senior cat will undergo a comprehensive physical examination. Your veterinarian only needs to perform other tests once a year, including CBC, chemical and thyroid blood tests, and urinalysis.
Geriatric Cat Routine Check-ups
Geriatric cats (over 15 years of age) should see the veterinarian every 3-6 months, as they are likely to develop health conditions and need to be closely monitored. During these visits, your veterinarian will assess quality of life factors such as pain management, eating habits, sleeping habits, and more. Your vet will also check your cat’s health and may recommend diagnostic testing or procedures to ameliorate serious health issues.
Appointments for Feline Illnesses
In addition to routine check-ups, your cat may need other vet visits to treat unforeseeable health issues. Being able to identify signs and symptoms of sickness and underlying health issues will help you determine if you need to schedule a visit to your vet.
Common Signs of Illness or Underlying Health Problems
Other unplanned veterinary visits may include emergency animal hospital visits. As a pet owner, it can be difficult if your cat needs immediate care rather than a scheduled vet appointment. Understanding which situations require immediate care can help you determine when to visit an animal emergency room. However, if you are not sure, you should always call your veterinarian or local animal emergency room.
Situations Qualifying For Emergency Care
What to Remember
All cats are different and require different levels of care. However, most cats will require routine check-ups to help maintain their health and monitor their well-being. Talk to your vet about scheduling routine visits for your feline friend.
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Boufis, Christina. “Does Your Cat Need Well Visits?” WebMD, WebMD, 6 May 2013, pets.webmd.com/cats/features/well-visits-cats#1.
Jenna Stregowski, RVT. “When to Take Your New Kitten to the Vet.” The Spruce Pets, www.thesprucepets.com/age-to-take-kitten-to-vet-3384892.
“Senior Cat Care – Caring For Mature, Senior, and Geriatric Cats.” Cat Care Center of Baton Rouge, 9 Oct. 2020, www.catcarecenter.com/services/cats/senior-cat-care.
“Why Do I Need to Take My Indoor Cat to the Vet?” Small Door Veterinary, SmallDoorVet.com, 22 Feb. 2020, www.smalldoorvet.com/learning-center/wellness/why-take-indoor-cat-to-vet/.