Does a cat need to visit the vet as often as a dog? If you’re a cat-lover, I would guess that part of what you love is your cat’s tendency to be lower-maintenance than their canine counterparts. Many cats don’t require as much attention, nor do they need to be let outside to relieve themselves. So the natural conclusion is that they also are lower-maintenance when it comes to vet visits, right?
Not so fast. Those vet visits are just as important as a cat as they are for a dog. Let’s explore why!
Why Does a Cat Need to Visit the Vet as Often as a Dog?
- “Miss Independent.” Your feline’s independent nature is exactly the reason she does need to visit the veterinarian regularly, at least once a year. Well visits for cats allow the vet to give her an overall check-up to provide early detection of health issues. Cats are notorious for masking pain, and even though you know your pet well, a vet may detect an issue that you overlooked.
- Cat fights. If you have an intact male cat (meaning he’s not been neutered), chances are good he’ll slip out and get himself into some fights with other cats in the neighborhood. He’s a master of defending his territory, and if he comes home with any injuries, he needs to be seen by a vet to ensure he doesn’t get an infection.
- Everything’s a toy. I have a friend whose cat ingested a nipple from a baby bottle, and the only way to remove it was a very costly surgery. Cats seem to enjoy playing with items that are truly dangerous for them – strings and rubber bands, for example – and because they are so agile, they can access items you think are out of their reach. Many of these would-be toys can only be removed surgically or you risk damage to internal organs. If you are concerned that your cat ingested a foreign object, it’s important to get her to the vet right away.
- Tooth decay. Tooth decay, or feline odontoclastic tooth destruction, is very common in cats over 5 years old, and it can cause serious issues. If your cat is having difficulty eating, is drooling excessively, or is bleeding from the mouth, visit the vet right away.
- Behavior changes (including spraying). If your once-loving cat starts avoiding you or your never-misses-the-litter cat suddenly starts spraying or marking, it’s time to head to the vet. Often, behavior changes are one of the first indicators of a health issue, and seeing the vet right away may allow you to get ahead of a larger problem.
Cats and dogs both have wonderful attributes that make them great pets, but one thing they share is the need to see the veterinarian regularly. It’s a small thing to do to repay your furry friend for the job she brings to your life!