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How Often Should You Take Your Cat to the Vet?

It’s important to take your cat to the vet for regular checkups. Cats have a mind of their own. They are loving and affectionate, and they can be aloof and independent. Sometimes their independence can lead to a false sense of security among cat owners. A yearly visit to a veterinarian for your cat can uncover a health concern because cats are very good at hiding an illness. It might be a bit uncomfortable to load your cat in a cat carrier or put them in your vehicle for the drive to the Vet office, but the rewards far outweigh the challenges in terms of what’s best for your Cat’s overall health and wellbeing. 

The Importance of Taking Your Cat to the Vet

Your cat can’t tell you when they hurt, but if you know what to look for the signs of pain can be easy to spot. Pets feel pain for many of the same reasons as humans: infections, dental problems, arthritis, bone disease, and cancer. They also feel discomfort following surgical procedures. A pet owner is in the best position to look for the subtle changes in behavior that may indicate a pet is suffering. It’s important to stay alert to these signs, because the sooner a pet’s pain is diagnosed and treated, the sooner he or she can heal and resume a normal, happy life. 

There are so many valid reasons on why it makes sense to take a healthy cat to the Vet. Veterinarians and veterinary technologists are trained to look for hidden issues with your cat and to look for symptoms of bad health. Often, a vet will be able to see certain things that cat owners didn’t notice.

February is National Cat Health Month

Every cat lover can look at the month of February to show your cat extra love. We encourage you to take the time during the month to focus on your cat’s physical and emotional well-being, and educate yourself on signs of unhealthy behavior or illness. At the ABVMA, National Cat Health Month reminds all of us to give extra love to our cats, as we celebrate their love, friendship and a future of good health. 

When it comes to managing the health of our feline companions, there are a few key areas that veterinarians can help you focus on to ensure your cat is living its best life:

Indoor vs. Outdoor Cats: Should You Let Your Cat Roam?

Is it safe for your cat to venture outdoors? Your Veterinary team can offer you the pros and cons of having an indoor versus outdoor cat, including how it affects their behavior and lifespan. In most urban environments, it is best to keep cats indoors and train them to harness and leash or build them a screened enclosure in the backyard.

Weight Control

Healthy weight is important for your cat - as little as two pounds above your cat’s ideal weight can put it at risk for developing some serious medical conditions. Unfortunately, when a cat is overweight or has obesity it is at great risk for developing a secondary condition. To find out what your cat’s healthy weight should be, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian or veterinary team.

Dental Care

Most cat owners likely pay a lot of attention to making sure they’re using the right food, the right litter, and offering their cats lots of perches and toys to keep cats entertained. But if you’re not focusing just as much on your cat’s teeth, vets say that is a big mistake. If you haven’t had your cat’s teeth examined recently, it’s important to book an appointment with your veterinarian.

Recognizing Pain

Assessing pain is a complicated challenge, especially in cats. Pain has two primary components: the sensory aspect (intensity, location and duration) and the affective aspect (emotional toll). Because pain assessment is somewhat subjective, veterinarians constantly try to create tools that make this process more objective. For validity, any pain measuring tool should take into consideration both characteristics: the sensory and the affective. More information on assessing pain in your cat can be found at your veterinarian’s office.

Behavioral Issues

Many “health” problems faced by cats are associated with behavior changes. Your veterinarian will first need to rule out any possible health problems that could be causing your cat's behavior to change. For example, a medical condition could be causing your cat to become aggressive or to urinate in the house. Stress can also have effects on behavior and can contribute to the development of certain diseases, for example feline idiopathic cystitis (also called feline interstitial cystitis, feline lower urinary tract disease).


Vaccines can lessen the severity of future diseases and certain vaccines can prevent infection altogether, and today, a variety of vaccines are available for use by veterinarians. Any treatment carries some risk, but these risks should be weighed against the benefits of protecting your pet from potentially fatal diseases. An uncommon but serious adverse reaction that can occur with injection sites, including those sites where vaccines are administered, is tumor growth (sarcomas), which can develop weeks, months, or even years after a vaccination.

How to Get Your Cat to the Vet Stress Free

Many of our beloved pets don’t go to the veterinarian for their recommended annual visit, forgoing the benefits of preventive medicine. The reason? Stress—from wrangling your cat into a carrier, to yowling cats in a packed waiting room,It’s no wonder so many pet owners skip their veterinary visits. Your veterinary team has some helpful solutions to help lessen the stress on your cat and on you when you’re planning your next veterinary visit.

Your Veterinarian is Your Best Resource for Keeping your Cat Healthy

For more information about caring for your cat, the ABVMA encourages you to contact your veterinarian and begin to build a health plan that is best for your cat, and you.