How Often Should I Take My Cat to the Vet?

Veterinarian Vet with Kitten

Did you know that taking your cat to the vet is just as important as taking your dog to the vet?  I would even go so far as to say it could be considered just as important as taking your child to the pediatrician.  

Unfortunately, cats receive far less routine medical treatment than dogs.  

Dr. Becker mentions a few likely contributors.  Some of which include perceptions held about cats by veterinarians and lay people alike.  There is, after all, an overarching conversation going on about cats and it goes something like this: “Cats are self-sufficient.” Misconceptions are fueled by a cat’s adaptation that he has carried over from his time in the wild.  

Cats are masters at hiding signs of pain, illness or any other sign that may make them susceptible to predators. Now, house cats don’t generally need to worry about predators, do they? Regardless, the adaptation still exists, which can make it difficult to ascertain when he may need medical attention.

In light of all of this, it’s extremely important to take your cat to the vet regularly.

Medical professionals may recommend one or two well – visits for your cat each calendar year.  However, this rule is not hard and fast. There are some other things to consider when deciding if you should take your cat to the vet.


As a cat grows and matures, each stage of life will present its own unique set of needs, requirements and things to consider.  A kitten will need multiple vet visits within the first year of life for vaccinations, spay/neuter and a checkup as he reaches the first year of his life.  Adult cats are at a stage where health is optimum and on the average an adult cat will only need one to two visits a year. However, during this phase of life you should still be on the lookout for any signs of change that could mean your cat needs some medical attention. Additional vaccines or regular dental procedures will also take place during adulthood and beyond for all cats. Older cats and cats reaching the geriatric stage will need to monitor more closely.  It is advised to bring your cat to the vet between two and four times a year. That seems like a lot, but change happens quickly. It is at this stage of life that cats begin to deal with illnesses associated with old age, as well as obesity and related illnesses such as liver and/or kidney disease.

Signs of Illness

In addition to taking your cat to the vet for his regularly scheduled visits, you should also take your cat to the vet at the onset of any signs or symptoms that indicate an illness is present.  Some possible signs of illness may include, but are not limited to: vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding (from anywhere) coughing, sneezing, presence of lumps or bumps, changes in skin/coat, signs of pain or discomfort, behavioral changes such as withdrawing or favoring limbs, change in diet, lethargy, and/or scratching.

While not all inclusive, we hope this gives you a general guide as to when and how often you should take your cat to the vet.  Remember, nothing substitutes the recommendations of a solid veterinary health professional. Finally, a delay in diagnosis at any stage of life can mean the difference between a good and not so good prognosis and affordability versus non-affordability of veterinary care.

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