How often should my cat visit the veterinarian?
Cats should visit the vet at least once a year for a thorough exam and appropriate vaccines, and also when there are any signs of illness.
Do Indoor and Outdoor cats need to visit the veterinarian?
Yes, whether your cat is an indoor or outdoor or a combination of both, all cats need to be examined by the vet at least once a year. The veterinarian’s physical exam is important to detect any changes that may have occurred to your pet over the past year. Cats age much faster than humans increasing the risk of disease and illness which if detected early many times is treatable or reversible. Outdoor cats have a greater risk for certain problems/conditions including FIV – a highly contagious preventable disease. Indoor cats are also at risk of disease due to lower activity levels. Indoor cats are exposed to disease and parasites as easily as outdoor cats by other pets and family members that come and go out of the house.
What are signs of illness in cats?
- Change in food & water consumption: An increase in appetite can be a sign of diabetes, hyperthyroidism or other health concerns. A decrease in appetite can range in concern from poor dental health to cancer. Cats are not typically ‘picky’ eaters.
- Change in weight: An unexplained loss in weight can be hyperthyroidism, diabetes, kidney disease or other health concerns. A sudden increase in weight can increase risk of diabetes, joint problems and other health concerns.
- Change in grooming: If your cat has patches of hair loss, greasy coat, or matted hair; they may have an underlying health concern. Cats that have difficulty in grooming can suffer from fear, anxiety, obesity or skin problems.
- Inappropriate elimination: If your cat is starting to urinate inappropriately, there can be many causes such as lower urinary tract disease, kidney disease, urinary tract infection, and diabetes. If your cat is having a hard time getting into the litter box it may be a sign of arthritis. If there is a change in environment such as: a new pets, people visiting the house, or even new things in the house; could cause a change in urination.
- Change in activity: A decrease in activity like not wanting to move around, jumping or climbing the stairs could be a sign of arthritis or systemic illness. An increase in activity could be a cause by hyperthyroidism.
- Changes in vocalization: If you see or hear your cat vocalizing more than normal, the cat could be in pain or have an underlying condition.
- Changes in sleeping habits: Cats normally sleep 16 to 18 hours a day. If you notice that your cat is sleeping more than those hours, then there could be an underlying problem.
- Signs of stress: When it comes to stress in your cat, we need to rule out if it is a medical condition or physical ailment that is causing the stress behavior. Signs of stress include: depression, hiding more, or spending more time awake and scanning the room.
- Change in interaction: If you start noticing that your cat does not want to be social with humans/pets in the house, it could be indication that your cat may have a disease, be painful, have anxiety or fear.
- Bad Breath: Bad breath can be an indicator of an oral problem. Cats may develop gum disease as early as the age of 3.