How Often Do You Take A Cat To The Vet?

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How Often Do You Take A Cat To The Vet?

How often you need to take your cat to the veterinarian is based on a few different factors.

Do you have an indoor or outdoor cat? What is your cat’s lifestyle like? How old is kitty?

Of course if you notice any health issues, a trip to a local veterinary clinic should be immediate no matter what their age.

How often should you take a cat to the vet?

In general, the following is a recommended timeline for your cat to visit the vet:

  • Kittens (up to 1 year) – one time per month for about 4 months for wellness and vaccinations. Spaying or neutering takes place between 6 and 12 months.
  • Adult cats (approx. 1 – 8 or 9 years) – once per year for wellness and vaccinations
  • Senior cats (approx. 8 or 9 years +) – twice per year for wellness and physical examination

The above recommendations are for indoor cats only and are not a hard and fast rule, but a guideline. You should considering taking outdoor cats a bit more.

Indoor cats are typically healthier and do live longer than their outdoor counterparts due to:

  • Less chance of fighting with other cats or animals
  • Lower chance of diseases
  • Lower risk of getting hit by a car

For these reasons your indoor cat may require less trips to the vet than outdoor cats!

Taking a cat to the vet is not high on the list of fun things to do with your cat. But it needs to be done to ensure there are no health issues. But, I also understand that cats can be jerks – and may not be the biggest fun of these outings.

But please, do not let your cat be the boss here! Your cat’s life is precious – and you need to make sure they get those visits in.


how often do you take a cat to the vet

Any time you bring young kittens home, a vet should be the first stop.

Kittens are usually seen once per month for the first 4 months. Then they can begin a once a year visit after they turn one.

A separate visit may be required at about 6 months if they need to be spayed or neutered. Most cats that are rescued will already have this done, or it will be included in your adoption cost.

General veterinarian guidelines for kittens:

  • Once a month up until about 6 months
  • A visit for spay/neuter if required at 6 months
  • Annually after the first 6 months or so

Adult Cats

Once your feline friend is 12 months old you will transition to a one time per year veterinarian visit.

As an adult cat a routine visit might include:

  • Vaccinations
  • Dental cleanings / assessing cat’s teeth
  • General well-being assessment

If it is found your cat has some kind of illness, then additional veterinarian visits may be required for additional testing and possible treatment.

General veterinary visit guidelines for healthy adult cats:

  • One annual checkup
  • Additional visits if issues are found or more testing is needed

You should also consider a visit to the vet if you notice any of the following:

  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • If your cat is throwing up clear liquid, food or hairballs excessively
  • If you notice any bumps
  • When you see your cat having trouble walking or getting comfortable
  • Increased crying or moaning
  • Changes in litter box habits

As your cat becomes middle aged you will need to be more aware of changes in their daily activities. Whatever you might notice, please follow your vet’s advice for additional office visits.

Elderly Cats

There is no hard line when your cat is considered “elderly” but usually at about the 8 year mark you may want to talk to your vet about a bi-annual visit. As your cat ages more pet care may be needed as a cat’s health may slowly begin to decline.

Many vets do consider around this age as a senior cat, so it is the right time to get them a little extra care.

Your cat may not require it if they are a “young” cat at heart – but if there have been illnesses or your kitty is not aging well your vet may want to see them twice a year. When my own cat turned 10 we went to biannual visit because my cat was losing too much weight. While there was no medical reason – and she is still eating well, we are monitoring the situation. These are the types of things your vet will guide you on.

Because many elderly cats may have issues – some which you cannot see, it is best to add in that second visit!

Things like liver issues, diabetes or failing kidneys may be hard for you to notice. That extra visit can find these issues and help you get treatment to keep kitty healthier for longer! You should take a look at their litter box once in a while to look for changes in urine or poop consistency and color.

General vet visit guidelines for elderly cats:

  • Minimum of one annual checkup – possibly 2 if your cat seems to be aging quickly
  • Additional visits if noticeable changes are happening or additional medical care is needed

Pretty litter is a new kind of litter that can actually help you understand if there are changes in your cat’s urine. Might be worth trying if you are cat’s age is falling in the senior range.

Outdoor Cats

If you have outdoor cats as pets it is just as important – if not a bit more that they get to the vet as well! Because they are in the wild there are a lot of things that can happen like diseases or broken bones that you may not see, but a qualified veterinarian will pick up on.

General vet visit guidelines for outdoor cats:

  • Minimum of one annual checkup – recommendation of 2 visits due to the more dangerous lifestyle
  • Additional visits if noticeable changes are happening or additional medical care is needed

Getting Ready For The Vet Visit

Listen, I know first hand how hard it is to get a cat to the vet. Our cat is a master at disappearing and is the most anti-social cat you can meet. So getting her into a cat carrier is no easy feat. For us the only thing that works is my daughter picking her up (she loves our daughter the most) in a blanket and putting the whole thing in the carrier.

Yes, it is tight in there – but the risk of scratching and not getting her in there at all is huge and this was the only thing we could do that would work and keep us safe.

If you have rescued a new cat, early on you want to get them used to the carrier. Leave it out and about for them to explore. Add some treats and toys to help them see it as a positive place for them to be. When the big day comes, they may be less stressed and more ready to spend the next few hours in it!

While at the vet be sure to leave kitty in the carrier until the veterinarian is ready to give them their checkup. Be sure to be open with your vet about any concerns you have or things you have noticed! What may seem like nothing, could be something and this is your time to address those items.

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Jill Caren CharityPaws

Jill Caren

Jill is an avid animal lover who spends her time helping animal rescues by photographing homeless pets and through her work on CharityPaws.

She is currently owned by Cleo, an American Pit Bull Terrier and Snoopy Cat. Her inspiration comes from her girls Ginger and Riley (RIP) – pit mix sisters who were loved family members for almost 15 years.

You can find her on LinkedIn and Instagram.

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