Geriatric Care For Senior Cats
Cats are typically considered to be senior when they reach 11 years of age.
Because many feline diseases and injuries are more common in senior cats, we recommend taking your senior companion to the vet every 6 months. All of the checks and advice listed above will be included in your geriatric cat’s twice-yearly wellness check-ups, along with a few additional diagnostic tests to gain additional insights into your furry friend’s overall health.
Blood tests and urinalysis are two diagnostic tests we recommend for our senior patients to look for early signs of problems such as kidney disease or diabetes.
As age-related issues such as joint pain become more common, geriatric care for cats includes a more proactive approach to keeping your feline companion comfortable. If you have a senior cat, inquire with your veterinarian about how frequently you should bring your pet in for a routine exam.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s condition, please make an appointment with your vet.
Put Your Cats Bedding In The Carrier
As cats are highly scent-driven animals, you should put your cats bedding inside the cat carrier instead of using new clothes.
Cats claim their area by secreting scents by rubbing or licking. So, when your cat finds its bedding in the cat carrier, it becomes comfortable claiming it as its territory. Thats why instead of using new towels or clothes, you should use your cats existing bedding inside the cat carrier.
How Often Do You Take A Cat To The Vet
Although trip to the vet likely ranks at the very bottom of your cats list of favorite things to do, cats are often very good at keeping to themselves when something is wrong. And unfortunately, some surveys suggest that less than 50 percent of cat owners take their pets to the vet annually.
Stressful though it may be, regular veterinary care is vital to your cats health, and there are ways to make the experience better for the both of you. Heres how often you should take your cat to the vet and why regular cat checkups are so important.
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Preventive Care & Early Diagnosis
The best way to make sure your kitty has a long and healthy life is to prevent serious illnesses or catch them early when they are more easily treated.
Our vets understand how you might be worried about the costs of your cat’s routine checkups and preventive care especially if they seem to be in optimal health, although, taking a proactive, preventive approach to your kitty’s health could save you the fees of more expensive treatments in the future.
Your Thoughts On Frequency Of Cat Vet Visits
Do you have any thoughts, opinions, or stories related to frequencies of vet visits you can share with us?
Do your cats have any underlying medical conditions and if so, how often does your vet advise you visit? Did he or she advise you to go in more often, or just to watch for flare ups, behavioural changes, and potential symptoms, and to go in when you notice any of those?
Love to hear what you have to say, and Im sure other pet parents would appreciate learning from your experience, in the comments down below!
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Physical Checkups For Cats
Taking your cat to the vet for routine wellness exams is like bringing them to the doctor for a physical checkup. As with people, how often your cat should have a physical examination depends on their age, lifestyle, and overall health.
We usually recommend annual wellness exams for healthy adult cats, but kittens, senior cats, and kitties with underlying health issues should see their vet more frequently.
Do Cats Need To See A Vet Every Year
Your cat needs to see a vet at least once a year to make sure its not having any health issues. Moreover, your cat needs to take the annual vaccinations to be free from infectious and life-threatening diseases. Thats why your cat needs to see a vet every year, even if it looks healthy, active, and having no health-related issues.
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What Is A Cat Check Up Anyways
Here is the list of things your vet will check to make sure your cat is well:
- Vaccination status
- Weight and general body condition
- Good digestion
- Parasite control
- Behavior and personality
This checklist will be supplemented with your answers to the vets question. Be ready to answer the following:
- What other animals does your cat come in contact with?
- What type of food do you feed your cat?
- How often do you feed your cat?
- Have any of your cats habits changed recently?
Being aware of your companions life is a must as you can be more accurate in the way you will describe his habits to his doctor.
Age And When To Take Your Cat To The Vet
Even when your cat seems perfectly normal, its a good idea to head to the vet once per year. An annual checkup can catch minor problems before they become more serious, including everything from obesity to injuries to medical conditions. And if you have an outdoor cat, you might need additional core and non-core vaccinations to protect your feline from the elements. Take a look at when to take your car to the vet based on age:
- Kittens: From 6 weeks until 16 weeks, your kitten needs vet visits approximately every month to receive essential vaccinations. This is also a good time to talk to your vet about spaying, neutering, and microchip services.
- Adults: An annual checkup is generally all that you need for healthy adult cats between the ages of 1 to 7 years old. This will typically cover a head-to-tail physical, blood work, and other testing as needed.
- Seniors: Cats older than 7 years old can benefit from vet visits twice per year. Though cats have a long lifespan, its important to catch age-related conditions as early as possible to ensure proper treatment.
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Other Reasons For A Visit To The Vet
Aside from regular checkups and vaccinations, your cat may also visit the vet during times of illness. It is imperative that pet parents equip themselves with the knowledge about the different diseases that can affect cats. They should also try to learn the signs and symptoms of these diseases, so they know when to bring their cat to the vet.
Cats that have cardiomyopathy also need to visit the vet once every 6 months. This is to help monitor the functioning of the heart. The vet may order ECG and other cardiac function tests to help provide an ongoing assessment of the cats heart. Dental cleaning can also be a good reason to visit the vet once a year.
The frequency of bringing your cat to the vet depends on your cats age and prevailing health status. It can be as frequent as 5 to 7 times in the first year of life or as infrequently as once a year for adults.
Adult Cats Up To 10 Years Old
If you have a healthy adult cat between 1-10 years old, we recommend taking them in once a year for an exam. These examinations are yearly physical checkups that are completed when your cat seems to be perfectly healthy.
Throughout your adult cat’s routine exam your vet will implement a head-to-tail examination to look for early signs of diseases or other issues, such as parasites, joint pain, or tooth decay.
Your veterinarian will also provide your kitty with any required vaccines or booster shots, have a conversation with you about your cat’s diet and nutritional requirements, as well as recommend the appropriate parasite protection products.
If your vet detects any signs of an arising health issue they will explain their findings to you and recommend the next steps.
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If Youre Taking Your Cat To The Vet For The First Time
Your vet will be an important partner throughout your cats life, so take time to choose the right veterinarian by doing some online research and/or asking friends or family for referrals. Many vet clinics will let you visit and look around the facility in advance of your first appointment. Before you bring your cat to the vet for the first time, copy any of your cats previous medical or vaccination records to bring with you. Write down a list of any questions or concerns you may have, and bring something to write with during the appointment. Be prepared to answer your vets questions about your pets diet, behavior, litter box habits, and any medications your cat is taking. If possible, bring a fresh fecal sample from your cat so your vet can check for intestinal parasites. Before you leave the clinic, make sure you understand when your vet would like to next see your cat.
Extra Visits To The Vet: When You See Strange Behaviour & Symptoms Go Straight Away
Its ridiculously important to watch for odd behaviours, and if you spot them, giving context to your vet could really help in diagnosing any medical problems.
Like cat barbering or over-grooming to the point where your cat balds or scratching to the point of bleeding, for instance. Does this happen at a certain time of day? Was your cat doing something right before this happened eating, say? This tip could help your vet diagnose an underlying food allergy.
There are also odd behaviours that might crop up that you may feel are nothing, but actually are indicative of trouble. Take tooth grinding, for instance. Its usually a sign your cats in pain, and could mean your cat has dental issues.
All this to say, even if your cats behaviour change seems like its practically nothing, like a single accidental urination on the bed one evening, its still incredibly important to point out to your vet, as it could indicate an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed.
The sooner you catch things, the better chance your vet has of fixing it, and the sooner your cat can return to being the picture of perfect health. Dont take chances, its better to say too much than too little.
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Keeping Your Cat Healthy
The best way to make sure your kitty has a long and healthy life is to prevent serious illnesses or catch them early when they are more easily treated. This is the most basic answer to when to take a cat to the vet.
Taking your cat to the vet regularly allows your veterinarian to monitor your kitty’s overall health, look for early signs of disease, and make recommendations for the best preventive care products for your feline friend.
Our veterinarians at Animal General understand that the cost of routine checkups and preventive care can be prohibitively expensive, especially if your feline companion appears to be in perfect health.
Taking a proactive, preventive approach to your cat or kitten’s health, on the other hand, may save you money on more expensive treatments in the future.
Weight Management For Indoor Cats
A common health problem that many indoor cats share is weight management. Over a quarter of all cats are obese, and indoor cats are particularly susceptible. While some indoor cats may love to play, they tend to lead mostly sedentary lives, which can inevitably lead to some weight gain.
It can be difficult for owners to recognize that their pet is overweight. Because you see your cat on a daily basis, gradual changes in their weight can be hard to detect, but those gradual changes can add up over time.
Gaining even a pound can make a huge difference in the health of an animal as small as a cat and can significantly affect their long-term health. Being overweight makes cats a lot more susceptible to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis.
Veterinarians can help monitor your cats weight and provide nutritional advice and recommendations for keeping your cat at a healthy weight.
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Regular Vet Visit Schedule For Junior And Adult Cats
Once the cat reaches six months old, you shouldnt need to make as many regular visits to the vet. Every six months is around right this means you can keep up with any further vaccinations, have a weight check and keep on top of dental health. The vet will also look at preventing disease from any parasites and monitoring any behavioral issues, as well as ensuring they are enjoying healthy nutrition this is a good time to discuss the cat food youre feeding your animal and whether you need to tweak their diet.
After the cat turns 2 years old, its considered a full adult cat by a veterinarian and regular visits can be scaled down to once a year. During these visits the vet is again simply checking the cats health, and as it gets older theyll look at how to reduce the risk or, or manage, age-related diseases and health problems.
How Often Should I Take My Adult Cat To A Vet
Adult cats will need fewer regular visits than kittens. The general rule of thumb is that cats should see a vet at least once a year, even if they are in perfect health. But if your cat is showing any abnormal behavior, you can always ask for vet help online and get professional advice on the matter in no time. Petcube offers a 24/7 Online Vet for every pet parent to get round-the-clock vet consultations.
It isn’t always easy to see if your cat is unwell as they tend to hide it well, so regular visits can help pick up any hidden problems, or even those symptoms that seem normal to the untrained eye but may indicate something more worrying.
An annual wellness check is essential to catching any potential problems early, receive any vaccine boosters required, and provide an excellent opportunity for you to chat with the vet about any concerns you may have. These annual checkups will also ensure your cat’s teeth and gums are in good health.
If your cat is an outdoor cat, there are more concerns, including increased risks for parasites. That doesn’t mean that indoor cats can slack off on their vet visits obesity and weight gain are extremely common in indoor cats, particularly those that have been sterilized.
Keeping up with regular visits to the vet will also keep your cat in the routine, so it becomes less traumatic for them over time. There are many ways to help your cat through the anxiety of a vet visit.
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Veterinary Visits For The Adult Cat
As soon as your cat reaches the age of 1 until about 7 to 10 years, it is best to visit the vet at least once a year. The ideal vet visit frequency is every 6 months, however. The issue with diseases in cats is that they can be so benign that the signs and symptoms of disease may evade detection by pet parents. Only the clinical assessment skills of a vet can help determine if your cat has an illness or none.
Bringing your adult cat to the vet once or twice every year can also provide you with invaluable information about your pets behavior. Maybe you have seen some cat behaviors that you think are very peculiar, yet your vet may see them as normal. Semi-annual visits to the vet can also help identify weight fluctuations. These can also indicate a medical condition in cats.
Vets will perform a head-to-tail physical examination. This will help assess the normal anatomy and functioning of its body parts. Any deviation from the normal will need further evaluation. In such cases, a more focused assessment is necessary. In such assessments, the vet will further examine the problematic organ. For example, very fast heartbeat will require a more thorough assessment of its cardiovascular system. Vets may also need to examine other organ body systems that depend on the heart for optimum functioning.
Diagnostic tests and laboratory studies are also needed during this stage in your cats life. These can corroborate or refute the findings during the physical examination.
What Is Considered A Pet Emergency
Because cats have such stoic natures, they often dont show clinical signs of illness until its severe. And because cats hide their signs, even subtle signs warrant an emergency visit to the ER veterinarian.
Dr. Justine Lee provides these general guidelines on when you need to seek immediate veterinary attentioneven if its in the middle of the night.
- Hiding in unusual places
- Difficulty breathing, like panting, open-mouth breathing, or a respiratory rate over 50 breaths/minute
- Not moving and lying in one spot
- Crying out in pain
- Excessive drooling or foaming at the mouth
- Any seizure activity
- Making multiple trips to the litter box with no urine coming out
- Straining to urinate or defecate in front of you or in unusual places
- Excessive grooming of the hind end, with the penis sticking out
- Profuse vomiting
- Not eating for several days
- Lying near the water bowl and drinking excessively but still appearing dehydrated
- Any string hanging out of any orifice
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