When To Visit The Veterinarian

The #1 way to keep your cat healthy is by going to your veterinarian for regularly scheduled check-ups! Here are eight important reasons you need to bring your cat to the veterinarian:

1. It’s Been Over 12 Months Since Your Cat Saw the Veterinarian

  • In the United States, cats visit veterinarians less often than dogs.
  • Preventive care check-ups for all cats should occur at least once per year. Senior cats and those with chronic conditions need to visit more frequently.
  • During the check-up, your veterinarian assesses your cat’s current health. They can often detect medical issues or conditions early before they become big issues. When health issues are caught early, they can be managed or cured before they cause your cat pain.
  • Cats need regular check-ups to lead longer, happier, and healthier lives.

2. You Use Google instead of Visiting a Veterinarian

  • Google can be helpful, but please don’t rely on it for answers regarding your cat’s health. Contact your veterinarian for accurate answers about YOUR cat.
  • Whenever you notice a change with your cat, don’t assume there is a behavior problem. There may be a medical reason your cat is acting differently.

3. You’ve Noticed Weight Gain or Weight Loss

  • Almost 60% of indoor cats are overweight or obese. Just like in humans, extra weight has effects on your cat’s quality of life.
  • Just a few pounds can cause health issues and risks for your cat. If you notice that your cat has lost weight or is eating less, call your veterinarian.
  • Your veterinarian will weigh your cat, compare the weight to your cat’s last visit, and determine if your cat’s current weight is appropriate for your individual cat.

4. You Have Questions

  • Addressing your cat’s physical, emotional, and environmental needs enhances their health and quality of life.
  • Your cat needs to have specific resources available to them in your home. These resources (litter box, scratching post, comfy bed, etc. ) let them act like a cat. Cats need to be able to perform natural behaviors (scratching, hiding, having their own space, etc.) and have control over their interactions with humans and other animals.
  • As your cat’s caregiver, you can enhance your cat’s health and well-being by ensuring all her needs are met in your home.

5. Litter Box Changes or Questions

  • When you scoop your cat’s litter box, take a moment to observe the amount, consistency, and color.
  • If you notice any changes in your cat’s behavior or in their elimination, be sure to call your veterinarian.
  • If your cat is vocalizes, misses the litter box, jumps in/out fast, or does not dig at the litter, there may be a medical issue or your cat does not like the litter.
  • Set your cat up for litter box success and ask your veterinarian for advice.

6. Changes in Eating

  • There are a number of reasons that may cause a change in your cat’s eating habits. As a responsible caregiver, you need to discuss these changes with your veterinarian to keep your cat healthy.
  • Some cats are particular, but many times there may be a medical explanation for any new erratic eating behaviors (unless your cat has always been this way).
  • Your cat may be have a gastrointestinal problem, diabetes, or any number of other problems – don’t wait, contact your veterinarian.
  • If your cat has gone without food for 24 hours or more, contact your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY (a fatty liver disease could result, and hepatic lepadosis can be fatal).

7. Bad Breath

  • Did you know that periodontal disease is considered the most prevalent disease in cats 3 years of age and older?
  • If your cat has painful teeth or gums, tartar, gingivitis, or if you’ve noticed a foul odor coming from her mouth, call your veterinarian. Cats’ teeth should be professionally cleaned before you begin a home-care routine.

8. Changes in Sleeping Habits

  • If you notice a change in your cat schedule for when she “talks” or vocalizes, and/or sleeps there may be a medical issue.
  • Changes in behavior such as: pacing and “talking” overnight, or sleeping more during the day, means you need to call your veterinarian.
  • If your cat seems confused or has a change in personality (previously outgoing cat becomes a “wallflower”), call your veterinarian. This could be a sign of a medical issue such as feline cognitive dysfunction syndrome (“Kitty Alzheimer’s”) in an older cat.
  • Whenever you notice something different, even small or subtle changes, about your cat’s behavior or habits, or when something is just not right, call your veterinarian.