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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
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How Often Do Cats Need To See A Vet?

Has your cat had a wellness exam in the past twelve months? According to the AVMA, less than 50% of cat owners take their cat to the vet annually. Meanwhile, over 80% of dogs in the United States see their vet at least once a year. Though we see our cats as more independent, they deserve the same quality of care as our canine companions.
If you’re wondering if taking your cat to the vet is worth the time, the cost, and the struggle of wrangling a stressed kitty, read on.

How Often Do Cats Need To See The Vet?
The average adult cat that seems to be in good health can see their vet annually for a wellness visit and to renew their heartworm preventative prescription.
Senior cats over 11 years old can benefit from twice-yearly exams. As chronic issues like kidney disease tend to creep on quickly and without obvious symptoms, regular vet visits can catch health issues early while they’re still fairly easy to treat.
Kittens and newly adopted cats should see their new vet within the first few days of their arrival at their new home. A kitten should have three rounds of core vaccines at around 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age. Your veterinarian may recommend boosters and non-core vaccines that may be beneficial for your cat depending on their age, their lifestyle, and which diseases are most prevalent in your geographical region.

What Happens At A Wellness Exam
If it’s been a while since your cat’s last wellness exam, you might need a refresher on what to expect. First, your vet will check your cat’s weight. Then, they will take your cat’s temperature, listen to their heart, and assess their breathing.
Your vet will take a small blood sample to assess their organ function, electrolyte levels, hormone levels, and whether they are fighting any infections. Your vet may also request that you collect a urine and/or fecal sample. A urine sample can detect kidney issues, hydration, and diabetes. A fecal sample picks up parasites, gastrointestinal issues, and certain infections.
Your veterinarian will also administer any necessary vaccines to get your cat up-to-date. While vaccines can have side effects, they also prevent life-threatening illnesses. If you have questions about vaccines or if you’re considering a relaxed vaccine schedule, the right integrative veterinarian can address your concerns and make recommendations based on your pet’s individual needs and health status.

How To Make Vet Visits Easier
The car ride in the carrier can be the hardest part of the trip for your cat. You can help your cat feel safe in their carrier by leaving it out in your home so they see it as a bed. Try taking your cat for more car rides, even if it’s just to gas up your car or go through a drive-thru, to help them become accustomed to it.
Always bring your cat’s favorite treats when you go to the vet. They may be too stressed or too particular to try the ones offered by your friendly vet tech.
Feliway Spray can also be a big help. Spray it on your cat’s carrier to take the edge off their anxiety. You can also try Composure Chews. If your cat’s anxiety is severe, your vet can prescribe an anxiety medication that you can administer before vet visits.
Some vets offer home visits for stressed pets. A mobile vet is another option for cats that have trouble with vet trips.

Saving Money On Veterinary Costs
While regular vet visits will come at a cost, they will help you save money in the long run by helping your cat stay healthy. Health issues that go untreated for a long time tend to escalate to expensive emergencies that can be avoided with routine care and maintenance.
Many vets offer wellness plans that include discounts on routine services. You can also look into pet insurance plans that help cover wellness exams.
To save money on all of your cat’s essentials, including prescription medications, shop PetMeds.com. With savings on AutoShip subscriptions, sales, and exclusive deals, keeping your cat healthy is easier and more affordable than ever.