There's no doubt that we all want our feline companions to live a long and healthy life, but if they aren't sick, how often should you take your cat to the vet?
The truth is, it depends. The ideal frequency of your vet visits will depend on your cat's life stage and any existing health concerns. Even if your cat isn't sick, a regular head-to-tail examination is the best way to catch any early signs of illness. Plus, they're an opportunity to discuss any wellness-related questions you may have about caring for your cat.
Here is some guidance on how often to take a cat to the vet during each life stage.
Young kittens need to see the vet more often than adult cats, as they are developing quickly. They also have delicate immune systems and are more prone to illness than healthy adult cats.
During their first 4 months, kittens will likely need to see the vet every 3 to 4 weeks. These frequent checkups are to ensure they are gaining weight at healthy rates. After 4 months, they may need to see the vet every 6 to 8 weeks to receive vaccine boosters. The exact schedule will depend on which vaccine your kitten receives.
Once your cat is a year old, vet visits will decrease dramatically.
Healthy adult cats should see the vet approximately once per year for a wellness exam and to have their vaccines updated as needed.
During a physical examination, your vet will check your cat's teeth, body weight, ears, eyes, and general appearance for signs of any underlying conditions.
These annual vet visits are a good way to get a sense of your cat's overall health. That way, if anything changes, you'll have a benchmark to compare your cat's condition.
As your cat ages, they may begin to experience age-related issues, which could require more frequent trips to the vet's office. Stick with your annual wellness visits unless your veterinarian advises differently or you begin to notice changes in your cat's condition.
Senior cats may begin to need more extensive physical exams, diagnostic tests, or bloodwork to get a sense of their condition and overall health.
The Bottom Line
While there's no hard and fast rule regarding how often you should take your cat to the vet, regular checkups will help your vet catch potential health problems early and ensure your cat's health.
While vet visits can be costly, annual wellness exams and preventative care will probably save you money in the long run by helping your cat avoid common health issues such as tooth decay, which can be painful and costly to address as they worsen.
Set a reminder to take your cat to the vet yearly for a routine exam.