How Often Should I Take my Cat to the Veterinarian?

cat on back

Your cat’s age and overall health will help determine the answer to this question but we’ve listed some general guidelines below to follow.

Kittens (birth – 1 year)

Kittens should be seen by their veterinarian once every 3-4 weeks for the first 16 weeks of life. At these visits, your kitten will get a series of vaccinations to help protect them against a number of infectious and life-threatening diseases. Your veterinarian will help you determine the best vaccine schedule and selection for your kitten based on their lifestyle.

Stool samples will be checked at each visit to make sure your kitten is free of gastrointestinal parasites.  So, don’t forget to bring a quarter-sized fresh stool sample at each visit. Given the high prevalence of parasites in young kittens, we may empirically deworm them at least twice in a period of 2-3 weeks.

We recommend Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus blood testing at 8 to 12 weeks of age or older. These are two life-threatening viruses that may be transmitted by blood or saliva to your kitten. This exposure and acquisition of either virus may occur prior, during and after birth.

During each visit your veterinarian will do a complete head to tail physical examination: listen to your kitten’s heart and lungs, look at their eyes, ears, mouth and skin, palpate the abdomen and look for any congenital abnormalities or signs of ill health. In addition, we will discuss the importance of
For most kittens, litter box training is usually easy, but training them not to scratch your favorite sofa is not. Please ask us for guidance on minimizing this destructive behavior and a
demonstration on how to trim their nails.

Prior to each visit, we find it helpful to make a list of any health or behavior questions you may have for your veterinarian so you don’t forget to ask it. Bring or take smart phone photograph of any
prescription or over-the-counter
medication your pet may be taking for us to see and evaluate. Don’t forget to write down the name of your pet’s food, so we can assess its quality and caloric content. Feeding the right food and quantity is essential for healthy growth and weight gain.

These initial examinations may seem a bit overwhelming (emotionally, financially and timewise), but
they set the stage for your cat’s long-term good health and well-being. In addition to the examinations and vaccines, routine veterinary visit help establish a bond between your cat and their veterinarian and will help to reduce fear, anxiety and stress during future veterinary visits.

After 16 weeks of age, your kitten may return to AMCOC for free “happy visits”. During these “happy
visits”, we usually give your kitten lots of treats, hugs and time to explore the cat-only examination
room. Our goal is to reduce their fear and anxiety of coming to a veterinary clinic.

Spaying or neutering is generally recommended between 6- 12months of age. Your veterinarian will
help you determine the best age for this this surgical procedure.

Of course, if any health concerns arise during the first year outside of routine visits, be sure to make an appointment with us to be seen as soon as possible.

Adult Cats (1 year – 10 years)

Adult cats should be seen once a year for their comprehensive physical examination, stool sample
check for parasites, and update their vaccinations. Your veterinarian will help you determine which
vaccines are recommended for your pet based on their lifestyle.

Please be sure to bring a list of questions you may have for your veterinarian, and the names and
dosages of medications or nutritional supplements that you are giving your cat. Also, don’t forget to
write down the name of your cat’s food. This information will help the veterinarian better navigate
your pet’s health and formulate a treatment plan.

We highly recommend yearly Wellness bloodwork to be performed on all adult cats at their annual
health visit. This provides us with a wealth of information on the well-being of your pet’s health. Early
detection of a disease will allow us to address, resolve or/and control health issues before they become serious.

At this annual visit, we will weight your cat and evaluate their body condition. If your cat is overweight, we will make dietary and exercise recommendations. Being overweight will affect your pet’s mobility and quality of life as they age.

We will also assess your pet’s oral health – looking for signs of plaque, tarter, gingivitis and crown
pathology. 85% of cats over 6 years of age have periodontal disease! A future professional dental
cleaning and assessment under anesthesia may be recommended by your veterinarian based on their discovery.

If your cat goes outside, we recommend year-round heartworm, flea and tick prevention.

If your cat is on a long-term medication, more frequent visits and bloodwork might be recommended by your veterinarian.

If health issues arise between yearly visits, please call us at 773-525-3353 to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. The earlier we see your pet for an illness, the faster we can resolve the illness, and return your pet to its healthy and happy state.

Senior Cats (10 years +)

Once your cat reaches 10 years of age, we recommend twice a year (every 6 month) comprehensive physical examinations due to the higher probability of detecting a medical problem in this age category. Cats are very secretive about their pain and discomfort, so don’t be misled by their apparent well-being and forgo scheduling this very important visit. This would be a mistake!

In senior pets, we perform yearly CBC, Chemistry and Thyroid bloodwork and a urinalysis regardless of their outward healthy appearance. Early detection is key to your pet’s longevity and good quality of life.

Before coming to this biannual visit, carefully observe your pet’s movement while walking, after rising from a nap, jumping or climbing in and out of litterbox. Discuss these observations with your
veterinarian. If your pet is showing signs of stiffness or reluctance to jump, we strongly advocate the use of nutraceuticals and/or pharmaceutical products to decrease your pet’s pain and increase their quality of life. Additionally, ask us about therapeutic laser and massage to help your pet’s achy joints.

Vaccinations should continue as recommended by your veterinarian.

Dental cleanings and evaluations under anesthesia will likely be recommended as long as your pet is a good candidate for anesthesia. After our examination and interpretation of your pet’s bloodwork, we will advise you what’s best for your pet. Dental disease is painful and harmful to your pet’s general health. At AMCOC, we can skillfully address your pet’s dental problems and make them smile again!

When to see your veterinarian outside of yearly examination appointments

In general, if your pet doesn’t feel well or something just doesn’t look right to you, always schedule an examination with veterinarian right away. It’s always best to be safe, rather than sorry.

Bleeding, vomiting, uncontrollable diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargic, depression, dietary
indiscretion (eating something they shouldn’t have), limping, increased water intake and weight loss – 
are some examples of reasons to schedule examination appointments outside of your pet’s annual visit.

If you’re unsure if you should schedule a veterinary visit, just call us at 773-525-3353 and ask to talk to one of our certified veterinary technicians. During our office hours, we are always available to answer any questions or address your concerns about your pet’s health!

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