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How Often Should You Take Your Cat to the Vet? 6 Important Questions Answered!

How Often Should You Take Your Cat to the Vet

Taking your cat to the vet for a checkup is a necessity. It is not just for humans to have regular checkups. Your cat’s checkup should be as routine as possible, because every time you go in for an exam or an X-ray, it costs money and time. So it is important to take your cat to the vet.

However, when should you take your cat to the vet? About once a month, maybe more often if you have older or debilitated pets, but even then you should not schedule more than two appointments per week. You should only take your cat to the vet when something is seriously wrong — and that is it!

There are other situations where it is unwise to bring your pet in for medical care, such as an abscess or an injury that requires stitches. Even though your cat probably is not sick quite as often as you think, there are still reasons why you should schedule regular checkups with your veterinarian. Here are some things you should know before bringing him in:

What to Expect from Your Cat’s Checkup

Your cat’s checkup should be similar to your dog’s. Share your cat’s front and hind legs, pick up his/her weight, palpate (feel) his/her abdomen, and check for lumps or masses in his/her stomach. Some people also add a rectal exam to their cat’s checkup, which is not necessary for every instance. These are all part of your cat’s general checkup, and they are done to better understand your pet’s health and well-being.

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You should also have your veterinarian look at your cat’s teeth, ears, nails, and eyes (keeping in mind that your cat’s vision is not as good as a dog’s). Your veterinarian will also run a full blood panel to check your cat for any conditions that may be underlying your pet’s illness or injury.

Health Problems

You should never bring your cat to the emergency room just because it is sick — there are plenty of other options for medical care. However, your veterinarian can also help you pinpoint what health problem(s) your cat might have and when it is most appropriate to take him to the vet. The following are some health problems that your cat might have and when you should bring him to the doctor:

  • Diet Issues: Your cat may have a sensitive stomach if he or she is been fed a certain type of food or has eaten things that are harmful to him.
  • Weight Limit Issues: Some cats can eat large amounts of food and still maintain a healthy weight, but some can not eat enough to keep their body weight within a certain range.
  • Excessive Billing: Some cats are naturally high-maintenance and will require an in-vet boarding kitty-sitter, while others are quite easygoing.

When Is the Best Time to Take Your Cat to the Vet?

Before you bring your cat to the vet, be sure to speak with your veterinarian about your cat’s specific health conditions. Depending on your cat’s age and health, he may be good to go to the doctor or even be able to handle it himself! If he can not or does not want to go, you should probably call your vet first before bringing your pet in.

Generally speaking, your cat should be able to open his mouth and cough appropriately. If he can not cough or sputter, he may have something serious (and even then, it is usually better to call the vet).

Cost of a Visit to the Vet

The total cost of a visit to the vet is expensive, but it should be considered whether you are paying for convenience or necessity.

  • Emergency Visits: Some urgent-care facilities offer discounted rates for cats, which can be very helpful.
  • Boarding Kittens: Boarding kitties should always be kitty-sitting, even if you have another pet. They are often easygoing and happy to interact with other animals, so you would not have to worry about your precious kitty getting in over his head with another pet. 
  • Prescribed Meds: Many pet insurance companies offer discounts for animals on certain medications, so be sure to ask your veterinarian which medications he recommends.

Updating Your Cat’s Vaccination Schedule

It is important to keep your cat’s vaccination schedule up to date, as not everyone needs each new vaccination. Your veterinarian can advise you on what vaccines are safe for your cat and which ones you should check your cat’s vaccination schedule to see if he or she is up-to-date. Some cats do not need certain vaccinations, so it is a good idea to check. If you find that your pet does not need certain shots, be sure to get them up to date.

Other Reasons You Should Schedule a Checkup with Your Veterinarian

You should also schedule a checkup with your veterinarian if you are having any problems with your pet. These could include issues regarding his/her health (e.g., changes in body condition), behavior (e.g., fights), or possible medical conditions that your pet may be dealing with (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, etc.).

Keep in mind that your vet is not just there for your pet — they are also a resource for you. They can help you figure out which treatments are best for your pet (e.g., surgery, medication, etc.), and they can even refer you to other doctors and/or specialists in your area that can help treat your pet’s conditions (e.g., dental hygienists, veterinarians that specialize in infectious diseases, etc.).

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Conclusion

As your cat’s primary caretaker, it is important to keep a careful eye on its health. You should schedule your cat’s checkup at least once a month, but preferably twice or three times per week. Every six months or so, have your pet’s teeth cleaned and any other necessary dental work done. And remember, it is not just for humans to have regular checkups — your cat should have his/her own set of medical appointments, too!

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