Going to the vet is a huge pain. There’s getting your cat into her carrier, which should be considered an Olympic event. There’s the drive there – all the hissing and low growls – then parking and lugging the carrier inside.
Once you get in there are dogs…so many dogs…and unfamiliar noises and smells that only rile your sweet girl up more. Then there’s the waiting, the endless waiting, and then you have to repeat the process to get home again.
Who has time for all that?
But even once you’re convinced that at-home vet visits really are the best way to streamline your pet’s health care, how often does your cat really need to go to the vet?
Kittens and the Vet
Kittens need to see the vet a lot more often than adult cats, for obvious reasons. It’s important for the vet to make sure they’re growing properly and that they get all their vaccinations on schedule. During your kitten’s first year of life, she’ll need to see the vet around 5-7 times.
When your cat is 6-8 weeks old, she’ll need vaccines every 3-4 weeks she’s about four months old. Depending on what she’s being vaccinated for and her specific vaccine schedule, these appointments could be getting vaccines intermittently until she’s around 6 months old. The first year is also when you’ll want to start the conversation with your vet (and potentially perform the procedures) of having your cat microchipped and/or spayed or neutered.
Adult Cats and Wellness Checks
Just like humans, cats should see the vet once a year even if they seem perfectly healthy. Cats are stoic, and it’s important for your vet to monitor your animal for changes that might not mean much to an untrained eye! Annual vet appointments – wellness checks, as they’re called – can help head off potentially serious diseases. Some vaccines also require “boosters” every few years to remain effective.
Wellness visits also create the perfect opportunity for you to discuss with your vet any issues your cat is having. These could be behavioral in nature, or even related to ageing or diet. Over half of all American pets are overweight; seeing the vet once a year ensures you don’t turn a blind eye to your gradually-ballooning cat.
Senior Cats and Vet Care
Believe it or not, a cat that reaches seven years old is technically considered a senior. It’s recommended that she see the vet twice a year to check for signs of age-related diseases that can come on quickly; some of these diseases can become quite serious in a year’s time which is why twice-annual appointments are necessary.
In general, your cat should see her veterinarian at least once a year. Of course, this doesn’t account for any one-off visits she needs like when she has a bad cold or a limp that won’t go away. These things happen, and it’s important to respond with proper medical care as quickly as possible and to keep your annual or biannual appointment on the books as planned.