cat to the vet

by Sara Barnhart, DVM

Cats are generally very healthy and self-sufficient animals, right? They can be, but they also are masters of disguise and can hide illness and injury. Taking your cat to the vet can reveal things about your kitty’s health that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

As a member of your family, at least once-yearly veterinary visits are extremely important. At this visit a full physical exam can be done, any health concerns can be discussed, and your veterinarian can go over nutrition, environmental enrichment, and any behavioral issues if they are present. Even minor changes in routine or behavior may be significant as they could indicate an underlying medical problem with your cat.

Young Adult and Adult Cats

Wellness exams on younger, apparently healthy cats may not seem necessary, but this time in life sets the stage for health for the years to come.

Early in life dental disease, for example, can become a health issue that goes unnoticed without a veterinary exam. Cats often do not show signs of dental pain, and early intervention and consistent home care can prevent issues from worsening.

Obesity is also an issue that may begin during the early years of life. Over 50% of cats are overweight or obese and early intervention is critical. Your veterinarian can discuss nutrition and exercise, and weight can be monitored at least yearly.

Yearly vaccinations are also strongly recommended (even for those cats who do not go outside) along with fecal parasite screening.

cat to the vet

Senior Cats

Preventive care is better than reactive care. As your cat ages they are more prone to additional health issues that may not be detected at home.

Exams are recommended for senior cats at least once to twice yearly in order to identify these issues before they become a medical emergency, which can be costly for you and painful—and potentially deadly—for your cat. Examples of this include kidney disease, cardiac disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and dental disease. Very often, symptoms of these life-threatening diseases are noticed at home only when they are advanced in nature. Other significant health issues that arise in seniors are hyperthyroidism, arthritis, cognitive dysfunction, and dental disease.

Taking your cat to the vet should be routine

Routine, consistent medical care is essential for our beloved cats to have healthy, long lives. Our cats age faster than we do and skipping an annual exam is equivalent to a person not visiting the doctor for more than 5 years!

Ann Arbor Animal Hospital is always here to help. Please contact us if you have any questions about your cat’s next visit!