We all know to take our cats to the vet if they’re sick or injured. But do you also take your cat in for annual vet visits? Today, I’ll go over why taking your cat to the vet yearly is important, even if they’re not showing signs of illness. And I will also share our personal experience with annual checkups over the years.
This post is sponsored by Sleepypod because they believe annual vet visits and checkups are important.
Disclosure: We are being compensated for this educational post. All opinions stated here are our own. Three Chatty Cats only shares information we feel would be relevant to our readers.
The Benefits of Annual Vet Visits for Your Cat
1. Catching Illness Early
Cats can hide pain well. And as much as we’d like to think we’re perfectly in tune with our cats, there is a chance we might miss something. So if you take your cat for an annual checkup, you might catch an illness or disease you hadn’t known existed, allowing for earlier treatment.
Our experience: When we adopted Harley, he was already a senior cat. We discovered he had chronic kidney disease during one of his annual exams. And although he’s since passed, we know that treating his kidney disease as early as we did gave us more time with him – all thanks to catching it at that annual checkup.
2. Establishing a Baseline
Let’s say your cat is healthy when you take him to the vet. Great! This will help establish a baseline for them. Labwork values may creep up or down over time, and establishing that baseline could be an important tool in identifying any health changes later.
Our experience: Dexter had his first senior exam at his recent annual checkup, which was a more in-depth exam with labwork included. Everything came back within normal ranges, which means we’ll easily be able to see if there are any changes in values as he ages.
3. Addressing Dental Needs
Did you know that dental diseases are common in cats? According to Cornell Feline Health Center: “Studies report that between 50 and 90% of cats older than four years of age suffer from some form of dental disease.” But they also advise that most of these issues are “largely preventable or treatable with appropriate preventive dental care and monitoring.” An annual vet for your cat visit will allow for routine dental checks to catch these issues early.
Our experience: When we adopted our senior cat Harley, we didn’t know his full background. We took him to our vet for a complete checkup within the first month. We were told he needed a dental cleaning. He ended up having 10 teeth extracted during the cleaning! Harley’s periodontal disease might not have been so bad had his previous owners kept up with yearly checkups.
4. Keeping Weight In Check
Being overweight is another common issue with cats. And if your cat’s weight creeps up slowly over time, it may be harder to recognize when they cross the line and become overweight. On the flip side, if your cat is losing weight gradually, you’ll also be able to catch that and check for reasons why. At your vet visit, you can discuss any nutritional or feeding needs if you’re concerned about your cat’s weight.
Our experience: Woodrow is our biggest cat. And by biggest, I mean tallest. But he is also our heaviest cat, weighing over 14 pounds. And while our vet has not yet called him overweight, she has mentioned he shouldn’t gain any more weight.
5. Addressing General Concerns
Not only is going to the vet good for your cat, but it may also be good for you. Being at the office might inspire you to ask a question. It could be a spur-of-the-moment litter box or behavioral question – something you might not think to ask unless you’re with your vet already talking about your cat.
Our experience: During our recent trip to the vet, we brought up that we adopted a new puppy into our household. We were able to discuss how the cats were doing with the new addition. The conversation would not warrant a trip to the vet by itself, but it was nice to discuss the change with the vet since we were already there.
6. Helping the Pocketbook
You might wonder how annual vet visits for your cat could help save money. But being proactive may save you money in the long run if you catch something early or before it becomes an emergency situation.
Our experience: At Dexter’s annual exam, the vet noted some dental tartar. It was mild enough that a quick hand-scaling right then was enough. But if we hadn’t gone in for his annual vet visit, that tartar could’ve required a more costly and extensive deep cleaning under anesthesia later.
The Cats Go to the Vet
Three of our cats were recently due for their annual exams. Our oldest cat Dexter had his senior exam, and Olive and Woodrow tagged along for their regular annual checkups.
The good news is that there is nothing significant to report. All labwork came back in normal ranges. But all three did have some dental issues. Dexter had a hand-scaling done in the office the same day (as noted above). Olive and Woodrow won’t tolerate that, so we’ll schedule deeper cleanings with them later.
Traveling to the Vet In Style (and Safely!)
A reader recently commented that taking three cats to the vet at one time would be stressful – and even wrangling them into their carriers might be a feat in itself! But we’re happy to be a Sleepypod household, which helps reduce the cats’ stress and is a safe way to transport the cats to their vet visits.
Check out our previous review of the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed to learn about all its features.
We keep our Sleepypods out around the house 24/7 because the cats love sleeping in them, and taking the cats to the vet in their comfy bed helps reduce their stress.
What’s also great is that the Sleepypod is a crash-tested carrier that straps safely into the car. A comfy bed and a safe carrier – it’s perfect! And stylish! At almost every vet visit, someone asks me about the carrier.
Do you take your cat to the vet annually? What’s your experience been like?