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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 will be based on what type of pet cat you have – indoor or outdoor and their age. And of course if you notice changes in your cats behavior or habits, a vet visit should be immediate!

How often should you take a cat to the vet?

Adult cats should go to the vet at least once a year for a wellness check-up, while kittens should see a vet monthly until they are about 6 months old. Senior cats may begin to go to the vet two times a year at your veterinarians request.

The above recommendations are for indoor cats, I usually would recommend outdoor cats go a bit more. Indoor cats are typically healthier and do live longer than their outdoor counterparts and there are a few reasons for that.

  • 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 vet visits than outdoor cats! I know taking cats to the vet is not high on the list of fun things to do with your cat, after all cats are jerks – and they definitely do things on their own terms. But it is critical for them to get these visits in – so let’s touch base on a recommended plan for the most common kitty scenarios and find out how often do you take a cat to the vet.

Kittens

how often do you take a cat to the vet

Any time you bring a new kitten home, the first stop should be the vet for a full physical to ensure they are happy and healthy. Depending on the age of your kitten you may need monthly visits to make sure they are growing properly – and then at about 6 months or so you can begin to do an annual checkup once a year.

You will need to bring your kitten to the vet at some point to be spayed or neutered and this usually happens at about 6 months of age. If you adopted a kitten from a shelter or rescue, it is typical that this will be done for you already, so make sure you find out!

General vet visit 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 cat is about 6 months or so you will transition into a one time per year veterinarian visit. This visit will be a routine visit and may include vaccinations and a general well-being assessment.

If the vet finds any issues they may do additional testing like blood tests. 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 vet visit guidelines for 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:

  • When your cat is losing weight
  • 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

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. 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!

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

Outdoor Cats

If you have outdoor cats as pets it is just as important – if not a bit more so 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 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! [1]

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.

Resources:
VCA Hospitals

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