As veterinarians, we know a feline physical examination appointment may be a big event for you and your pet. It frequently begins well before you step into the exam room.
There’s often a game of hide and seek to find our feline friends, a game of trickery or wrestling to get them in the carrier, and oftentimes a car ride filled with choruses of plaintive meowing before you even walk through our front door. And then comes the exam! Which we know can be a big production in and of itself for some patients.
So, why do we put ourselves and our feline companions through all this? These days most of our kitties spend their entire lives sheltered in our comfortable homes away from contagious diseases.
Why then, do they need examinations and immunizations regularly? Well, although it may not be the most exciting event on your calendar, annual feline physical examination appointments are far more important than you realize. Annual exams are vital to preventing unnecessary suffering, illness and heartbreak down the line.
How frequently do indoor cats need a physical examination?
A comprehensive physical examination is an important measure of an animal’s health just as it is for our own health. Examinations not only allow us to evaluate countless parameters of health, such as weight changes, hydration status, heart health and dental health. They also open up conversation about habits at home that allow insight into abnormalities that may be red flags for declining health or a change in health status such as a change in appetite, urinary habits or water consumption.
Cats should have a physical examination at least once a year. Kittens require frequent exams and vaccinations during their first 4 months of development. We recommend more frequent physical examinations for senior cats and cats with chronic health problems. We make this recommendation on a case by case basis. For a healthy adult cat, an annual examination, which conveniently coincides with their annual rabies immunization requirement, is sufficient as long as the cat is doing well at home. (more…)