Did you know August 22nd is National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day? If you’re like me, then you had no idea there was a whole day dedicated to taking your cat to the vet. At this point, your vet is probably pretty booked up for the day and your day’s plans probably didn’t include rushing your cat to the vet just so you could say you participated in the day. So, let’s pretend that this ‘day’ is an all month-long event. Now you have the rest of the month to participate! You’re welcome.
National Take Your Cat to the Vet ‘Month’ was created to build awareness among cat owners for the need of regular veterinary care. My cats tend to be hide and seek masters and this makes it easy for them to hide their illnesses. This is why it is important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian – preventative veterinary care is always better than reactive veterinary care. It is important for cats at every stage in life to have a regular vet check-up and here is why:
Kittens First Vet Visit – Grab the Tissue Box
This first vet visit is crucial. During this visit, you will want to ask your veterinarian about specific kitten care issues. This includes what food to feed your kitten, how much to feed it and how often to feed. You can also ask about how to control parasites, when to schedule your next appointment for vaccinations and what time is appropriate for your cat to be spayed, neutered or declawed.
Besides being a great time for you to ask some questions this is also your kitten’s first physical. The veterinarian will do some routine checks to make sure your precious baby is as healthy as possible and give you advice on how to keep your kitten happy and healthy. The veterinarian will more than likely take your kitten’s temperature, listen to the heart, palpate the organs, test muscles and joints for mobility, check the coat for fleas, check ears for infections or mites and check the eyes.
Veterinary Checks for the Adult Cat – Where did the time go!?
Your cat’s an adult but that doesn’t mean they don’t need you. They still live in your house, eat your food and demand your attention – sounds a lot like some college students, right? The point is, your cat may be an adult but that doesn’t mean they are fully independent. Sure, they groom themselves, regulate their own food, and don’t require you to show them the door to use the bathroom but this doesn’t mean that they will tell you when they aren’t feeling well. This is why regular vet visits are important.
Just like people, cats need routine check-ups to ensure they are happy and healthy. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to schedule your cat’s appointment at the same time you schedule yours. This way it is at the forefront of your mind.
According to Royal Canin, this is what you can expect at your cat’s adult veterinary visit:
- Some poking and prodding. Your veterinarian will feel your cat’s body from nose to tail, noting any bumps or lumps, feeling its muscles and inspecting its coat. She’ll check inside its ears, looking for signs of infection or external parasites such as fleas, ticks, ear mites or ringworm. The examination will also help the veterinarian note whether your cat is overweight or obese.
- A closer inspection on the front end. Your veterinarian will inspect the inside of your cat’s mouth. Dental problems can portend broader health issues such as infections or eating disorders. At look at your cat’s oral health can reveal tumors, loose teeth, or infected gums.
- A closer inspection on the back end. Yes, expect your vet to take your cat’s temperature, rectally. This simple act can immediately alert to a potential underlying health issues that might otherwise be masked. In some cases, your veterinarian may want to do a urine test as well, which can reveal problems with kidney performance and bladder health. Finally, she might also want a stool sample in order to check for internal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms or microbes such as Giardia or Coccidia.
- A good listening to. Expect your veterinarian to pull out the stethoscope and listen to your cat’s heart and lungs, an exam that can reveal problems with your cat’s heartbeat or respiratory issues. Your vet will want to listen to you, too: What questions do you have? Have you observed any new behaviors in your cat that have puzzled you? Has her diet or eating habits changed? What kind of exercise does she get?
Senior Check-Up – Not old, just vintage
You are your cat’s health advocate - talk about a lot of responsibility! It is your job to watch for warning signs of illness as well as any changes in behavior as your cat ages. Some of these changes may be changes that come naturally with age but it is always important to check with a veterinarian first.
This vet check will consist of the standard ‘physical’ and will also include a more thorough check of mobility changes and dental changes. According to Royal Canin, “Older cats tend to experience more dental disorders, which can impair their eating and cause significant pain.” During this visit your vet may recommend diet changes to keep your cat at a healthy weight.
Still skeptical about taking your cat for routine vet checks? Check out the articles and infographics below for more information on the importance of routine visits: