It’s important to make sure your feline friend has regular check-ins with a veterinarian. Cats age at a much faster rate than humans, which means they develop age-related health conditions much faster than we do. Read how to care for a senior cat from one of our Hello Ralphie vets!
The number of times you speak with a veterinarian about your cat’s health will depend on a variety of factors, include your cat’s age, any pre-existing medical conditions, and possible special needs.
Most vets generally recommend a feline physical exam at least once per year with regular virtual check-ins between appoitnemnts. During these check-ins, the veterinarian will discuss with you specifically what is needed to keep your cat healthy.
Vet Check-in by Various Age Groups
One of the main factors that will determine how often your cat should see a veterinarian is their age. To help clear things up, we’ll look at how often cats should speak with a veterinarian by looking at the major age groups.
Kittens (Less Than 1 Year)
Your most frequent, non-emergency veterinary visits will be when the cat is just a young kitten.
Typically, a kitten requires a veterinary visit every month, beginning at eight weeks of age and lasting until they’re 16 weeks old. All of your kitten’s vaccines will be administered and appropriately boosted during these visits.
Your vet will also monitor your kitten’s baby teeth to make sure they’re coming in properly, their weight to ensure they’re growing appropriately, and keep a record of your kitten’s vital parameters.
Additionally, preventative medications are administered during these visits, including deworming medication and flea preventive measures. Spaying and neutering typically occurs around the age of six months, though this surgery will require a separate visit. How soon after flea prevention can you play with your kitten?
Some clinics also recommend a post-surgical checkup after a specific amount of time has passed, which is done to make sure everything has healed correctly. Although, sometimes this appointment can be done with a virtual vet to save your cat a trip to the clinic!
Acquiring a new kitten is an exciting process, but it can also be overwhelming. Hello Ralphie can help between veterinarian visits by providing new pet owners with virtual advice.
Between vaccine visits, a virtual veterinarian can provide tips on feeding guidelines, food options, appropriate toys, potential behavioural issues, training tips, and any other information you may need as a new pet owner.
Young Adults (1-4 Years)
As your cat grows from a kitten into a healthy young adult, it’s generally recommended to take them to see a veterinarian at least once per year for their annual checkup.
This allows your vet to monitor the overall health and well-being of your cat, including their weight, oral health, heart and organ functionalities, joint health, and various other vital parameters.
Your cat’s vaccines will also be updated at least once every one-to-three years. Vaccines are usually administered during these annual checkup appointments. Indoor cats are especially prone to weight gain, so it’s important they meet an appropriate body condition score.
If you think your cat is sick, it’s always recommended to get advice from a veterinarian on whether or not a non-routine visit should be booked. A telemedicine appointment is a great way to provide virtual advice from a qualified veterinarian. Hello Ralphie can help you address any concerns you have about your cat.
In many cases, a telemedicine appointment can be enough to resolve the issue, but if your virtual veterinarian requires further testing, you may need to bring your cat in for an in-person visit.
Middle Aged – Senior (5-8 Years)
As your cat ages, the likelihood to develop some form of metabolic or age-related increases. Cats are prone to developing kidney disease, diabetes, thyroid disease, and liver disease, especially as they approach their senior years.
Once your cat is over the age of eight years old, it may be worth considering a bi-annual checkup with a veterinarian. This will allow the veterinarian to monitor your cat’s health and watch for weight and muscle loss, as well as changes in their heartbeat and organ performance.
It’s generally recommended to have a wellness blood screen at least once per year with senior cats (aged 8-12), which helps check for changes in their kidney functioning and keeps an eye out for diseases such as hyperthyroidism and diabetes. In patients that have a known disease, bloodwork may be recommended more frequently, which could mean more frequent visits to the veterinary clinic.
Telemedicine appointments between these visits are also recommended to monitor your cat’s behavior and body condition, as well as keep tabs on changes to their appetite and any clinical issues, like regular vomiting, diarrhea, increased in drinking, or changes in mentation, which could suggest early stages of diseases.
Senior to Geriatric (12 Years+)
Just like people, cats develop more health issues and require more check-ins with a veterinarain as they age. During the cat’s geriatric years, it’s typically recommended to bring them in for a checkup every six months. Read our senior cat care tips here.
You should also consider bloodwork at least every 6-12 months for a healthy cat. More frequent visits are necessary for cats with known diseases, like kidney or thyroid disease.
It’s really important that you monitor your feline companion for any changes to their daily routine during this age bracket. If your geriatric cat starts showing any changes, like vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, or it’s experiencing noticeable weight loss, you should seek veterinary advice right away. There are many at home monitoring devices such as activity monitors and smart litterboxes that can help with this. A virtual veterinarian can help you select these devices and monitor the results.
Other signs that your cat may be developing disease include increased vocalization, rapid weight and muscle loss, increased thirst and urination, or excessive hunger without weight gain. In any of these are noted, it’s recommended to speak with a veterinarian. Does your cat appear to be losing weight? Read about possible reasons from a Hello Ralphie vet.
In general, a healthy cat should be taken to see a veterinarian at least once a year for a routine checkup and to make sure they are up to date on their vaccines. However, speaking with a virtual veterinarian between these appointments a few times per year can help ensure the health of your cat.
If you’re unsure if your cat needs to be seen, then a virtual appointment will provide you with veterinary advice and a solid recommendation on what is best for your cat. In most cases, a virtual consultation may be sufficient to help without having to take your cat into the clinic.
If your concern is not an emergency, a virtual appointment can help you avoid putting your cat under the stresses of unnecessary travel. Speak with a Hello Ralphie vettie here.