Dr. Franck, I’m wondering how often I should take my cat to the vet.
Can you please help me?
Of course, I can!
If I could answer this question in two words, I would say ‘it depends’!
I know that’s not what you wanted to hear, but I like to be spicy sometimes 😉.
So to make it up to you, let me explain in more detail what I mean.
So since ‘it depends’ on each situation, let’s still try to cover some of these situations to help you when you ask the question next time…
Let’s start with the simplest situation.
Your cat should see a veterinarian for an annual exam once a year. How simple is that?
Remember that your cat ages (in his body) several years each year. Each year that passes represents about 5-7 years for him.
In short, you might as well ensure he’s in good health so you don’t miss out on preventable problems.
Your cat is getting a little old and is still doing well or has some problems that are under control.
Then a frequency of once a year is still adequate, although some old cat problems may require more frequent visits.
For example, some blood or urine tests may need to be done 2-3 times a year. Your veterinarian will be able to give you more information on this subject.
Your cat has concerns that have not been properly investigated or treated, so don’t wait for the annual exam and go now!
Being patient is rarely a good idea when it comes to our pets’ health concerns.
It is highly preferable to call and make an appointment before the problems become much worse.
Things are not going well, my cat seems to be losing weight and eating less.
Also, he is breathing heavily and doesn’t look well. I don’t need to draw you a picture: this is urgent and you shouldn’t wait another day.
Some of the local clinics have reserved appointments for emergencies. Otherwise, there are larger veterinary centers that have teams dedicated to this task.
As you’ve figured out by now, you can use your common sense to know when to take your cat to the vet. If you are worried, you probably have good reason to be.
If you’re not sure whether you should be concerned or not, there’s probably a veterinary team that can answer your questions.
It can also be handy to have a neighbor who is a veterinarian, although that’s more of a coincidence…
In any case, it’s often better to go see a veterinarian sooner than later.
I hope that this has enlightened you a bit.
Tell me, I’m curious: how often do you take your cat to the vet, and do you think that’s enough in general?
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Francis Lagacé has been a member of the Ordre des médecins vétérinaires du Québec since 2004. He practiced for 16 years in several veterinary clinics across Canada. He treated animals of all types, mainly cats, dogs and exotic animals (rabbits, rodents, ferrets, birds, reptiles). Since 2020 he has been working in the field of veterinary pharmacovigilance. You can find him on LinkedIn.