Despite being the most popular pet in the United States cats visit their veterinarian a lot less often than dogs. All pets should get a physical exam at least once a year, appropriate vaccines and routine treatments such as deworming and preventative medications. Some of the reasons people give for not bringing their cat(s) are:
My cat doesn’t act sick.
My cat isn’t due for any vaccines.
My cat doesn’t go outside.
Cats are very stoic animals. They will often hide their illnesses until they are quite advanced and are more of a challenge to treat. Weight loss is one of the subtle signs that your cat may have a problem. A one to two pound loss of weight may not seem like much but in a 10- 12 pound cat it is significant. A yearly trip to the vet which will include a physical exam and weight check keeps track of these changes in your cat’s health.
Vaccines are an important part of your cat’s wellness protocol. They protect against diseases such as rabies and feline distemper. Your cat still needs to visit their doctor for exams, and routine medications like dewormer and flea control. Other tests such as blood counts, blood chemistries and urinalysis should be performed before your cat gets ill to get a baseline of your cat’s health so you will know if something changes when there is a health concern.
Inside cats are not immune from disease. Cats that are inside only often will live longer than cats that go outside because of predators, cars etc. Cats that live to an older age can get common “elderly” cat illnesses including but not limited to kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes. These conditions are usually chronic which means they develop over time. Early detection is the key to avoiding secondary complications from these diseases and therefore making treatment as successful as possible.
Cats are well loved members of the family and can live long and happy lives when they receive regular veterinary care!