It’s a common misconception that routine exams are just for vaccinations. While they’re important, these visits are about more than just vaccines. If your cat isn’t getting regular veterinary care, they’re missing out on many other benefits such as the ability to reveal hidden problems, prevent emergencies, save you money, and more! Cats age much faster than humans (just 1 year in an adult cat’s life is equal to about 4 “human” years), and a lot can change in that amount of time so both the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) recommend that cats have an exam once per year and more frequently for older cats or cats with medical conditions.
Here are our top reasons why it is necessary for all cats to receive routine veterinary care:
Routine exams create a good foundation.
These exams provide an opportunity to establish a relationship with your veterinarian and work together to achieve the best health outcomes for your cat. If your vet is familiar with your cat, it’s much easier to detect small changes as time goes by and decide on the best course of action when problems occur.
Your veterinarian can examine your cat in a way that’s impossible to do at home.
All from one exam, your vet can get a lot of information about your cat’s internal organ function, not to mention their mouth, inside of the ears, and anal sacs. It’s also important to be able to detect subtle weight changes, which can be a sign of an underlying illness. (Unfortunately, home scales usually aren’t accurate enough to show small increases or decreases in weight with animals like cats.) Lastly, depending on what’s appropriate for your cat, your vet may recommend additional tests since certain problems become more common as they age.
Routine exams often reveal hidden problems.
Did you know that cats naturally hide signs of illness? Because of this, you may not be aware that something is wrong. Regular exams help to catch problems early when they’re much easier (and much less expensive!) to treat. Some common issues found in routine exams are tooth problems, high blood pressure, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, and arthritis. When problems are caught early, they lead to more treatment options, lower costs, and better outcomes. Make sure to pay attention to any changes in your cat and always mention them to your vet, such as hiding, sudden aggression, changes in their eating or drinking habits, bad breath, vomiting, reluctance to jump or walk up stairs, changes in weight, increased urination, diarrhea or constipation, not using the litter box, etc. (Even many behavioral problems are actually due to a medical problem.)
Routine exams help prevent emergencies.
Because of their ability to reveal hidden problems, regular exams help prevent emergencies, which are very expensive, stressful, and typically quite painful (if not fatal) for your cat.
Routine exams provide a good opportunity for your cat to receive preventative care.
Vaccinations, parasite treatments, and flea prevention help to avoid many problems that could significantly impact your cat’s health and be much more expensive and time-consuming than the measures to prevent them. Even indoor cats need to be protected against things like parasites because they’re also at risk of being infested with fleas, intestinal parasites, ear mites, and heartworms. (Some of these parasites can cause diseases in humans too!)
Routine exams save you money.
Regular exams actually save you money over time by preventing problems before the occur, catching problems early, and helping to prevent emergencies. Treating a disease that could have been prevented with a vaccination or a condition that is advanced and requires more extensive therapies is much more expensive than the cost of routine care, not to mention the cost of even one trip to the emergency vet.
Routine exams give you peace of mind.
Making sure your feline companion stays up-to-date on their routine veterinary care gives you the peace of mind that they have a good quality of life and that problems will be caught early before they start to suffer from an underlying condition.
Note – If you have trouble getting your cat into their carrier, visit “I Can’t Get My Cat Into Their Carrier!” for our best tips on eliminating stress when it’s time to go to the vet.
If you’d like to schedule an appointment, we welcome you to call us at our clinic and boarding facility in Lake Oswego at (503) 968-6000, or to schedule an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!