Vet Visits 101: How Often Should You Take Your Cat to the Vet?

By Charisse Miller
Orange Cat on Woman's Lap

Cat parents are always busy taking care of their furbaby’s health and wellbeing. To ensure their cat is always healthy, they buy the best foods, choose the best litter box and buy as many interactive toys as they can afford. On top of these, there’s a conversation concerning your cat’s health and trips to the vet.

Partnering with a trusted veterinarian ensures that your furbaby is always healthy, which offers peace of mind. Vet visits are a preventive measure to take so your cat will continue to thrive. But many furparents ask: how often do you take your cat to the vet? Is it time to go to the vet when your cat has a sore bum? How about if your cat is bleeding from the anus?

Admittedly, taking your cat to the vet can be a stressful task. Even the calmest of cats might feel distressed when they are exposed to unfamiliar territories (like the vet clinic). With a stressed cat always comes a stressed cat parent. Given all the stress related to vet visits, missing one might seem forgivable. But these visits are important and must be done regularly.

If you’re a first-time cat owner visiting the vet, you might wonder: what does regularly look like? How often should you take your cat to the vet?

When Should You Take Your Cat to the Vet? A Guide According to Age

When it comes to vet visits and cats, the frequency of visits depends on the age of your furbaby, as well as their needs.

Consider the following.

How Often Do You Take Your Kitten to the Vet?

Kittens need to see their vets more often than the adults to receive their essential vaccinations. In general, the first batch of shots is given between six and eight weeks until they are 16 weeks old. The second round of vaccinations is given three or four weeks after that. Further vaccines are administered at three months and again at six months.

Once your cat reaches its sixth month, it is old enough to be neutered or spayed. Their sixth month is also a good time to microchip them.

So, within your kitten’s first year, expect that you’ll be making frequent visits to the veterinarian’s office.

How Often Do You Take Your Adult Cat to the Vet?

White and Gray Cat in Brown Woven Basket
Photo by Cats Coming

Adult cats (cats between the ages of one and seven) need fewer vet visits compared to kittens. In general, cats should see their vets at least once a year, even if they are perfectly healthy. But if your cat is experiencing symptoms or is showing abnormal behavior, get professional help ASAP.

However, it’s not easy to see if your cat is sick since they hide it well. Regular visits to the vet can help you determine if they have hidden problems. An annual wellness check-up catches potential health issues early recommends necessary vaccine boosters and provides an opportunity for furparents to chat with their vets about any concerns. On top of all of these, your vet can check your cat’s teeth and gums.

If your cat loves to spend more time outdoors (or were former strays), they are at risk for parasites. But this doesn’t mean that your indoor cats can slack off with their vet visits. Indoor cats are also prone to weight gain and obesity, particularly if they have been sterilized.

To prevent sudden illnesses and give yourself peace of mind, keep up with regular vet visits. Visiting the vet regularly also instills a sense of routine in your cat. This helps them get used to seeing their doctors over time.

How Often Do You Take Your Senior Cat to the Vet?

Once your cat reaches the age of seven, they are officially a senior cat, which means they need to visit their vet more often. Instead of seeing their doctor once a year, take them to the vet every six months for a checkup.

Senior cats need more medical attention to keep them healthy as they age. Older cats are prone to medical problems like intestinal problems, an overactive thyroid, diabetes, renal disease, cancer and pancreatitis.

To keep them healthy and you worry-free, visit your vet every six months. Contact them as soon as you see anything out of the ordinary with your pet.

When To Take Your Cat to the Vet Immediately

You love your cat and you want what’s best for them, even for their health. In general, if your cat doesn’t feel well or something seems odd to you, schedule an appointment with your vet immediately. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t wait for the next checkup if your cat is exhibiting the following symptoms:

  • Changes in urine or stool
  • Awkward movement or limping
  • Lethargy
  • Changes in appetite
  • Avoiding contact with people
  • Bleeding or vomiting
  • Increased water intake
  • Dietary indiscretion
  • Depression

Vet Visits and Your Cats: Other FAQs

How Much Does a Vet Visit Cost for a Cat?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the cost of veterinary services has been continually rising. Vet expenses depend on the services that you need, as well as the services provided by the veterinarian. Most practices charge for services like lab work, diagnostic services, hospitalization, anesthesia, surgical procedures, physical exams and confinement.

The typical costs of the following services are:

  1. Physical exams: $40 to $55
  2. Routine check-ups: $50 to $250
  3. Vaccines per shot: $15 to $28
  4. Dental cleaning: $70 to $400
  5. Allergy testing: $195 to $300
  6. Fecal exam: $20 to $40

Unexpected vet costs include:

  1. Emergency surgery: $1,000 to $5,000
  2. Long hospitalizations: $1,500 to $4,000
  3. Short hospitalizations: $600 to $1,500
  4. Wound treatment: $900 to $2000

How Often Do Cats Need Shots?

Before, vets recommended getting your cats vaccinated at least once a year. Based on lifestyle risk assessments, most adult cats should be revaccinated every one to three years. However, as vaccine-related research progresses, many vets are recommending frequent vaccinations.

What Can You Expect Before a Vet Appointment?

Woman Lying On Bed With Two Cats
Photo by Tranmautritam

Your vet will need some basic information on your cat, especially if this is your first time bringing them to the clinic. Make sure to remember the following details about your cat:

  • The kind of food that they eat
  • The names and doses of all of their medications
  • Recent tick bites
  • Travel history
  • Their drinking and eating habits
  • Past medical records and vaccine history

In some cases, your vet may ask for a stool sample. To make sure you have everything, call ahead and ask the clinic.

 

Your furbaby’s health is important. Instead of worrying about them when the symptoms are worse, make sure to visit the vet regularly.

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