Cats Need Check Ups Too
You get your teeth cleaned twice a year and your car’s oil changed every 8,000 km, but when did your cat last see their veterinarian? It might not seem like a big deal, but cats truly do need regular checkups. The first year of a cat’s life is nearly the same as the first 15 of a human’s, and they continue to grow and develop faster than us throughout their lives. On top of that, cats often hide the signs of pain and illness, so by the time many cat parents notice something is off, the cat may have been suffering for much longer.
None of this is to scare you, just to remind you that our feline friends need regular visits with their veterinarian to help ensure they’re living their best lives! For kittens, this means 2 or more exams in the first 6 months of life, while for adult cats (1-8 years) exams should be performed at least once per year. As your cat matures into their senior life stages (8+ years) exams should be performed at least twice yearly as their health conditions can change more quickly.
What a Visit Looks Like
During a routine visit at any time in life, you can expect your veterinarian to ask questions about your cat’s behaviour, eating habits and signs of pain, as well as for them to be weighed and given a physical examination.
During the kitten stage, deworming and sterilization (getting fixed) will be important topics of discussion, as well as weight management, dental and nail care, parasite control, plus FeLV and FIV testing. Like any time in life, behaviour and nutrition are really important things to discuss. A lot of behaviour focuses on meeting important environmental needs – cats see and navigate through the world differently than we do. Setting you, your kitten, and your home up for success also includes having a frank conversation about how to make the litter box a desirable space.
For adults, much of the focus will be on the importance of weight management and dental care, along with other preventive healthcare measures.
As a cat heads into their later adult and senior years, the twice-yearly exams will screen for common diseases like hyperthyroidism, chronic kidney disease, arthritis and diabetes. If blood pressure checks have not begun, they will be assessed at this point. Your veterinarian will ensure that none of their vaccinations have lapsed. Proper disease screening may require blood work as well as urinalysis at these stages, and is incredibly important for proper checkups.
While we know that your cat may not always love visits to the clinic, we can guarantee they will always appreciate feeling their best. The easiest way to help ensure your cat is happy and in good health is with lifelong preventive healthcare visits.