According to pet ownership survey done by American Veterinary Medical Assosciation (AVMA) in 2016, about 48% of the total cat owners only take their cat to the routine health check up whereas the remaining 52% do not.
Having a cat is all fun, but the fun comes with responsibilities. Responsibilities to look after your cat and care for them. Many believe that cats are independent animals that do not require much care. That is not true!
Cat requires frequent human assistance to stay healthy. They can also hide their pain, so sometimes noticing a subtle change in their health requires a professional eye.
A frequent health checkup can solve that problem. Depending on your cat’s age, breed, and health condition, the frequency of health check-ups can differ. This helps catch early symptoms of potential health problems and prevent them.
To know more about keeping your cat healthy: A Happy Cat is a Healthy Cat – 10 Ways to Keep your Cat Happy
So, how often should cats have their health checked?
Here we have prepared an overview of the different stages of a cat’s life and how often they are required to take to the vet depending on their age:
Regularity of Cat’s Heath Check-Up
The duration of health check-up for cats differ as they grow older. From the stage of being a kitten to an elderly cat, they need different types of assistance. Here we have listed the guidelines to be followed in different stages of a cat’s life. There are mainly three stages of cats life.
Kittens (Birth to 1 Year)
In the first year of the kitten’s birth, they might need to visit to vet more often than they will need as they are older. After the birth of the kitten, you need to take them to the vet within a few days of birth.
During this age different medical assistance is needed for the kitty; your cat might need great medical assistance. They will get different vaccinations that will protect them from different infectious diseases and life-threatening diseases.
Cats reach sexual maturity at the age of four to six months. So, vet doctors recommend that it is the perfect time to get your cat neutered or spayed. This ensures that your cat won’t go on heat and prevent any sort of unwanted pregnancies and birth. You are also saved from the complication that arises when cats are in heat.
Read this blog to know more about cats going to heat: How to know a Cat is in Heat?
When the kittens are taken for regular check-ups, their whole body will be examined. So you can expect a full examination on each visit. Likewise, taking them to the vet at a young age can make them ensure your cat gets used to the environment of getting their health checked up.
Adult Cats ( 1 Year to 10 Years)
When the cat turns 1 year their adulthood start from this age. Different changes occur rapidly in this stage. It is recommended to take them to the vet every six months for the first two years of their life and after that, they can be taken to the vet every year for an annual check-up.
Different examinations are done during this stage like parasite control, dental check-up, weight management, diet plan, behavior analysis, and many more. They will also get updated vaccination.
The main focus of the routine check-up during this stage is to keep the cat healthy and prevent any life-threatening diseases.
When a cat starts to reach the end of adulthood the chance of developing different age-related problems also increases. These problems are important to be treated in time, where routine checkup plays an important role. The earlier the illness of the cat is diagnosed and treated the better cat can live a healthy lifestyle
Senior Cats (10+ Years)
Once your cat reaches 10 years, they start to show the signs of aging. This is the time they start to develop various age-related problems which can be life-threatening as well. It is recommended to take them to the vet twice a year to get them checked.
Cats are very secretive and sometimes do not show their problems, rather they stay away from their human or hide away from any sort of interaction. So, it is important to analyze the behavior of your cat very carefully and look after how it sleeps, the food intake, and many more.
The care needed for the senior cat is totally different compared to adult cats. Here are the age-related problems that can be seen in the cat:
– Confusion and Spatial Disorientation
– Loss of Memory
– Loss of Appetite
– General Anxiety
– Mobility Problem
Above are the few common problems elderly cats can develop. There are other various problems as well which some elder cats can develop but not all cats.
What happens during a cat’s Routine Health check-ups?
Cats need different medical assistance depending on their age. Still, some of you must not be convinced that is it really important for you to go through the hassle of taking your cat to the vet frequently and spending a lot of money.
Understanding your concern here we have listed what happens in a routine check-up. Surprisingly enough the process doesn’t make you spend a lot of money rather it saves you from spending excessive amounts.
Usually, in routine checkups, the vet doctor does a whole-body examination from whiskers to tail.
The examination includes the following.
Like humans, cats also need different vaccines to stay healthy and prevent different diseases. They need to be vaccinated depending on their age. When taking your cat for a routine check-up, your cat gets the vaccination that it needs.
Here is different vaccination your cat will need during its lifetime.
- Rabies – Singe Dose with Yearly Booster
- Feline Distemper (Panleukopenia) – Two Doses
- Feline Herpes Virus – Two Doses
- Caliciviral – Two Doses
- Feline Leukemia Virus – Two doses
- Bordetella – Two Doses
Prevention is better than cure, goes the same for the parasite. During the routine health check-up, your cat is inspected for any kind of parasite infection.
Since fleas, worms, and ticks are everywhere, it is easy for your cat to get them. This parasite also carries different diseases and can transfer it to your cat. So, it is important to get rid of them.
If any signs of parasite infestation are seen then it is made sure that it is completely removed during the routine check-up. You also get different advice on how to keep your cat’s parasite free.
Cats reach their sexual maturity from four to six months. If you are not planning to breed from your cat then your vet can perform a procedure to neuter your cat. Even if you have a male cat, neutering them can save you from the annoyance that comes when your cat is in heat.
You can ask your vet for suggestions for when it is the right tie for your cast to get neutered. They also provide you with advice on what diet is best for your cat when they are neutered.
If sadly your cat is diagnosed with any disease or problem then you need to provide proper medication for your cat to cure them. A routine checkup also monitors the condition of your ill cat and provides proper care for your cat.
Different medications are suggested during treatment for your cat depending on its problem and its age. During this time you need to visit the vet more often than you usually do.
Behavior Analysis and Training
Cats are quite secretive animals and most of the time they do not show their problems and their pain. When taking them for a routine checkup make sure you mention the behavioral changes in your cat.
If your vet doctor is aware of the change then they would be able to diagnose the problem your cat might be facing. But if your cat has some sort of behavioral problem then they can recommend your cat to a trained behaviorist and train them.
Studies report shows that between 50 and 90% of cats older than four years of age suffer from some form of dental disease.
The dental care of your cat s also important. As mentioned many times in this blog, cats are really bad at showing their pain, s routine health check-up comes to the rescue.
Dental disease in a cat is normal but it should not be neglected. It can also be life-threatening sometimes. As they get older, the chances of having dental problems are given. Different dental procedures might be needed to cure the problem.
Your vet will also provide you with different advice on how to care for your cat’s dental health and also how you ca keep your cat’s teeth clean and strong.
More on Cats Dental Health: Feline Dental Problems and Care: Purrfect Ways to Prevent Dental Problem
Condition of the Weight and Body
Like humans, obesity is also a common problem seen in cats. many owners think that it is not much of a concern. When you take your cat to a routine health check-up, the vet also weighs your cat. Having the right weight is important for your cat to stay healthy.
If your cat is overweight or underweight then, your vet will advise you to change your cat’s diet. They will provide you with diet plans depending on your cat’s needs. If your cat is obese then your doctor will be your tips on increasing your cat’s activity level as well.
So, is Routine Check-Up Expensive?
Early diagnosis of problems saves you a lot of money. How is that possible? You might ask. Think about it, when a certain problem or disease is seen at the early stage, the medication required to treat the problem is less. Your cat might not need to go under big procedures to get treated.
Whereas if the problem is seen late, it might be bigger than that early stage. Your cat might need more medication or even need the medication for its whole lifetime.
Although this is not likely the case to happen for every cat, think about how much money you will need to spend if that scenario is to happen to you. Not only that it also makes sure your cat experiences less discomfort and pain.
So, a routine check-up is not expensive, rather it saves you a lot of money and energy.
Your Contribution to Cat’s Health
When keeping your cat healthy, you shouldn’t solely depend on a routine check-up. How you treat your cat at home also plays an important role in keeping your cat healthy. Here are some ways you can play your part in keeping your cat healthy:
Providing Adequate Diet and Nutrition
Obtaining appropriate food and proper nutrition is the base for a healthy cat. The diet and the nutrition required for your cat changes as they grow in size and age.
You can ask your near vet for a diet beneficial for your cat’s health. Many believe that cat food is the only source of food that cats can eat. Well, cat food does have many benefits and is best for beginner cat owners who are not sure what to give to their cats.
But if you are well aware of the foods that are good or bad for your cat then you can prepare a diet plan for your cat. You can include different proteins like meat stuff and carbohydrates like vegetables that are good for your cat and that can provide great nutrients.
So, do your research, take help from your near vet and provide a healthy diet for your cat.
Cats are one of the cleanest animals. They are able to keep themselves clean and you can see them doing so most of the time. Although the cat is able to do so. They might need extra help for their human friend.
You might need to trim their nails and brush their coat to prevent any matts. you will also need to give a bath to your cat once in a while. So, don’t let your cat just be when it comes to cleaning. Lend some help to your furball to stay clean and healthy.
Quality Time and Exercise
Spending quality time is important to forming a healthy relationship with your cat. When spending time with your cat, include some exercise to keep them healthy physically and mentally.
You can provide them with different toys they can play with or just let your cat lay on your lap. Toys help to stimulate your cat mentally and physically. They are happy to spend time with their human friends. This allows you to form a strong bond with your cat.
So, even in your busy schedules, make time for your cat. It is your responsibility as a cat owner to make time for your cat and provide enough attention and playtime for them.
To Sum Up,
Routine check-up plays important role in keeping your cat healthy. The duration of routine checkups may vary depending on their age and their requirement.
If you have not taken your cat to a vet visit yet, then this is the right time for you to do so. Your cat might have some underlying issues that are yet to be noticed. So, take this opportunity as a sign to take your cat for a vet visit.