The frequency of feline health checks depends on various factors. But age is the most prominent. The health needs of kittens differ from those of adult cats and are different from senior cats’. Apart from age, other factors like breed and sex could influence how often your cat should visit the vet.
Importance of Regular Health Checks for Cats
Having a pet is loads of fun, but it also comes with responsibilities like healthcare. Excellent healthcare is one thing that will make you stand out as a good pet parent.
Your cat needs regular health checks by a vet because cats are so good at hiding ailments or signs of discomfort. Regular health checks also help you be proactive about your cat’s health and wellness. You can keep up with the following crucial health:
- Parasite checks
- Neutering or spaying
- Dental care
- Weight and body condition checks
The frequency of vet visits varies with age and health status. Read on and learn how often cats at different life stages should have health checks.
Kittens – Age 0 to 6 Months
At this stage, the kitties are so fragile. They also experience many changes in their bodies rapidly. Therefore, vet checks are recommended once every 3 to 4 weeks.
As the vet does the checks, they can also perform crucial procedures like vaccinations and neutering/spaying when the kitties are about four months old. During the visits, the vet will perform head-to-tail examinations, listen to the heart and lungs, check the eyes and ensure your kitty is free from parasites. The vet will also give you tips on detecting behavior issues, grooming, toys, stuff to buy (or DIY), feeding, and the importance of socialization.
The vet also looks out for birth deformities and other congenital issues and recommends ways to address them.
Teens – Age 7 to 24 Months
Kitties at this age continue to experience significant changes in their bodies. Therefore, health checks should continue at a high frequency.
The cat is very athletic and curious about the world. Therefore, it is likely to explore everything extensively. They could eat many things they should not and go to forbidden spaces.
Health checks focus on vaccinations, parasite control, and dental care. You will continue to get advice concerning grooming, socialization, behavior, nutrition, and weight management.
Adults – Age 2 to 7 Years
Cats reach adulthood at different ages, but most could be adults after they cross the 18 months mark. A healthy adult requires at least one health check a year.
During the health check, the vet will perform comprehensive examinations. They will do body condition scores, stool tests, and dental tests. The vet will also update vaccinations and could perform wellness blood work to make sure everything is okay.
You will likely leave the vet’s clinic with prescriptions to treat worms and other parasites and nutrition recommendations for the best cat food.
Mature Adults – Age 7 to 10 Years
Your cat begins to experience reduced agility, increased susceptibility to illnesses, and sometimes, weight gain. Health checks are still maintained once a year, but the vet focuses on signs of issues that often affect senior cats.
Your cat will get vaccination updates, parasite control medication, a dental check, wellness blood work, and a weight or body condition score. If your cat has a specific ailment, such as a lump or bump, they may need an x-ray.
The vet will also expect plenty of questions from you to help in nutrition and behavior management.
Senior Cats – 10 Years and Beyond
Senior cats are very witty and have also perfected the art of hiding signs of disease or discomfort. They are also more susceptible to various ailments and health conditions. Therefore, health checks revert to once every six months.
During the checks, the vet will be keen on detecting age-related conditions. They will perform various examinations like Wellness Blood Work, Complete Blood Count (CBC), Chemistry and Thyroid Bloodwork, and many other tests depending on the cat’s health status. Although these may sound like many tests on the aging kitty, they are crucial. They help to help detect health issues, and the vet can recommend ways to improve the quality and longevity of your cat’s life.
A Final Word on Health Checks for Cats
Take your cat to the vet whenever you notice signs of illness or distress. If you notice any of the following, plan a check-up outside of the regular health checks.
Limping, bleeding, open wounds, vomiting, prolonged diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, withdrawal, dietary indiscretion (eating stuff they shouldn’t), excess vocalization, abnormal water intake, excessive weight gain, and weight loss.