Should I take my cat for annual vet visits?

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.

tabby cat and white cat at vet visit in Sleepypod
Dexter and Sophie at the vet while in the comfort of a Sleepypod.

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.

siamese mix cat at vet visit
Our angel cat Harley at the vet.

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.

tabby cat at vet's office for exam
“How’s my chart looking? All good?” ~Dexter

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.

siamese mix cat yawning
“Look, Ma! No teef!” ~Harley

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.

white cat on scale at vet's office
“Mama, you’re not supposed to show a lady’s weight!” ~Sophie

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.

tabby cat at vet exam
Woodrow appreciates the pets from his cat dad.

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.

tabby cat at vet visit in white Sleepypod
“Closer ‘er on up! I’m ready to go!” ~Dexter

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.

tortie cat at vet's office in Sleepypod
Olive waits her turn in her Sleepypod (Blossom Pink).

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.

tabby cat at vet's office in Sleepypod
Woodrow wonders how he went to sleep in his Sleepypod (Robin Egg Blue) and woke up at the vet!

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.

tabby cat sitting in Sleepypod yawning while tortie cat look at him
“We love our Sleepypods!” ~Woodrow

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.

You can learn more about Sleepypod at their website. Or, you can connect with them on Facebook and Instagram.


Do you take your cat to the vet annually? What’s your experience been like?

white cat climbing into Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed
“Wait, don’t forget about me!” ~Sophie

13 thoughts on “Should I take my cat for annual vet visits?

  1. Thank you for this. As a veterinarian with a feline passion, I am disheartened to see that many dog owners know to bring their dogs in yearly, but very few cat owners do. Cats are experts at hiding illnesses, including heart disease, renal disease, cancer, and arthritis. Also, I have never seen the sleepypod carriers. I’m gonna have to check them out for my own babies!

  2. Teddy and his many predecessors have always had to “endure” (haha) a yearly checkup and of course other visits for shots and problems as they arise. I like to think I treat my cats like I would my children if I had some – tuning in to pay attention to signs of problems, and taking them in to be checked if something is just not right.

    Hugs, Pam

  3. Y’all look great in your fancy sleeping pods, we have one and Seal loves it. We might have won it here, I don’t remember. We don’t go to the Vet every 12 months, we all go every 6 months, rain or shine or purr or whine!

  4. I have to admit I never took the cats for an annual check up in our earlier years. When I adopted my MILs cats after she had died I took them all for check ups which they would never have had before. It was quite an adventure getting 11 cats including my own and three semi ferals there! I took them four at a time. Eric and Flynn always had annual check ups.

  5. At Global, I fell all over the Founder and CEO of SleepyPod telling him how much I love the mobile pet pet and how much I’ve told our vets about them. He seemed … amused. Then again, I was going over all the benefits of his own product, so …
    All the pictures of Woodrow are our favorites.

  6. Rachel, I love this post. It’s so informative and important. I agree–I’ve always taken my cats for their annual visit. Samantha just had hers. And now I must look into a SleepyPod carrier. She does fine in a typical plastic carrier, but it’s gotten so heavy for me to carry.

    And, Harley… what a sweet picture.

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