Cats are very independent animals, and they don’t always want to go on a vet visit. They also tend to get scared at the vet’s office, so it can be tempting to limit the amount of visits that you put your four legged friend through.
But what exactly is too many visits to the vets and what exactly is too little?
Cats are very smart, and they know exactly what they need to stay healthy. However, just like any other living being they can get run down and even sick from time to time. If you notice any changes in their behavior or health, then it’s time to visit the vet.
Think About Your Cats Age
If your cat is older than 12 months old, he probably needs regular vet visits. This is because cats age faster than dogs, and they start losing muscle mass as early as 10 years old. As a result, they will have less energy and may become sick much more easily.
After the first visit your vet can help you to determine if your cat needs to see the vet more frequently. For example, if your cat has been diagnosed with diabetes, this condition requires frequent monitoring by your veterinarian.
The same goes for cats who have kidney problems. These conditions require special care, including blood tests and medication, and therefore you will need to meet with your furry friends vet more often.
Also, if your cat has a heart issue, your vet will likely recommend that you bring him in once every six months.
The older a cat gets the more susceptible they become to the above conditions and therefore generally speaking the older the cat the more vet visits they require. However, this is not always the case and some cats can require constant monitoring from being kittens.
Dental Disease In Cats
Your cat’s teeth are important to his overall well-being. Just like humans, cats can develop dental disease. Unfortunately, these diseases can cause pain and discomfort and make eating and drinking difficult.
If left untreated, dental disease can lead to serious complications such as infection, tooth loss and even death.
Cats usually begin showing signs of dental disease when they are between 3 and 5 years old. At this point, your cat will already have had several teeth removed due to decay.
To prevent dental disease, brush your cat’s teeth twice a week using a soft bristle brush. Also, use dental chews to encourage your cat to chew on them. Toothpaste containing fluoride is recommended but not necessary.
Due to the health issues that can arise as a result of dental disease it is a good idea to take your cat to the vets as soon as you suspect that this could be the issue.
Similarly, if your cat is diagnosed with dental disease then it is a good idea to keep up to date and arrange a regular visit with your feline friend’s vet.
Annual Vet Visits
Annual visits are always a good idea as your feline friend can receive a physical exam that could pick up any issues or infectious diseases that would have otherwise been missed.
In addition to routine checkups, your cat should receive an annual vaccination against common illnesses. These include:
- Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV)
- Feline Immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
- Feline Herpes Virus (FHV)
- Feline Calicivirus (FCV)
- Feline Panleukopenia (FPL)
- Feline Coronavirus
Other Health Issues That Can Arise From Aging
As we mentioned earlier, aging can affect all aspects of our pets’ lives. Therefore, there are many other health issues that can arise from the effects of time. Some of these include:
- Kidney Problems
- Heart Disease
- Hip Dysplasia
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Neurological Disorders
- Skin Conditions
Many of these disorders can be treated but may not be picked up on unless you attend a veterinary visit annually.
However, you do not have to wait for your annual visit, if you notice anything unusual about your pet, contact your vet immediately.
This includes changes in their behavior, appetite or weight. Your vet will also be able to provide advice on how to deal with any health concerns you might have.
Signs That Your Cat May Need To See A Vet
If you notice any of the following symptoms in your cat then it is best to seek veterinary help as quickly as possible.
- Changes in behavior
- Decreased activity levels
- Difficulty walking
- Excessive sleeping
- Increased aggression towards people or other animals
- Increased fearfulness
- Increased urination
- Loss of interest in food or water
- Lack of grooming
- Sudden weight loss
- Unusual vocalisations
- Weight gain
These symptoms could be nothing, but they could also be something much more serious so the sooner that you can see the vet the better.
Obviously, you know your cat better than anyone else so if you get even the slightest feeling that something could be wrong then it’s better to be safe than sorry, and you should contact your cat’s vet immediately.
However, remember that there is no need to panic, just make sure that you act quickly. If you feel like you cannot cope with your cat being unwell then you can always ask for help from family members or friends who love your feline friend and have the time or expertise to help care for them.
Remember that your cat needs to live a long happy life and that means taking every precaution necessary to ensure that he/she has a healthy and happy future.
So if you are ever unsure then the vets should always be your first point of contact. If you ever disagree with your vet then you can always request a second opinion from other medical professionals specializing in feline care.