How Often Do You Take a Cat to The Vet

There are a few factors to consider when determining how often you should take your cat to the vet:

  • your cat’s age
  • pre-existing health conditions
  • indoor vs. outdoor living 
  • breed-specific health concerns

Kittens require more vet attention than adult cats. During their first few months of life, kittens require multiple vaccinations and check-ups to ensure they grow into healthy adults. 

If your cat has pre-existing health conditions, such as diabetes or arthritis, it may require more frequent vet visits. 

Indoor cats tend to lead more sedentary lives which can lead to weight gain and obesity. Outdoor cats, on the other hand, are exposed to more hazards, including parasites, infectious diseases, and injuries. 

Siamese cats are prone to teeth and gum problems, while Maine Coon cats are prone to heart disease.

Add the fact that cats are great at hiding pain, it is not surprising that each cat parent asks about the vet visit schedule each time they visit the vet. 

I decided to gather my team and answer all your questions regarding cat vet visits.

Let’s start.

How Often Do You Take a Cat to The Vet: Chart

Cat ageVet Visit ScheduleTargeted checkups and procedures 
Kittens (up to 1 yo)Every 3 – 4 weeks starting with 8 weeks oldFeline Leukemia vaccine
FVRCP vaccine
Rabies vaccines
Optional: kitten spayed ( approx: 6 mo)Nutritional requirements
Deworming and Parasite protection
Adult (1-10 yo)Healthy cat 1/yearYearly Physical Checkup
Required vaccines or booster shots
Nutritional requirements
Parasite protection
Teeth cleanings
Senior (11 – 14 yo)Healthy senior cat 2/yearBlood tests and urinalysis
Required vaccines or booster shots
Nutritional requirements
Parasite protection
Geriatric (15-25 yo)Healthy geriatric cat 2/yearBlood tests and urinalysis
Required vaccines or booster shots
Nutritional requirements
Parasite protection
recommended vet visit schedule for healthy cats

This schedule refers to healthy cats.
Below I will include specific issues and situations when you should take your cat to the vet ASAP, and some age-specific health concerns you should keep an eye out for. 

How Often Do Kittens Need to Go to the Vet?

cats sitting in front of vet scheduling calendar

The initial visit usually takes place when the kitten is around 6-8 weeks old. During this visit, the vet will conduct a thorough physical examination, check for any underlying health issues, and administer the first set of vaccinations.

Following the first visit, kittens typically require additional visits every 3-4 weeks for booster vaccinations until they are around 16-20 weeks old. 

Booster vaccinations strengthen the kitten’s immune system and provide long-term protection against diseases. These vaccinations may include core vaccines: feline panleukopenia (distemper), feline calicivirus, and feline herpesvirus, among others.

The frequency of vet visits may vary depending on the individual kitten’s health and the vaccination schedule recommended by the veterinarian. 

During these visits, the vet will also monitor the kitten’s growth, and behavior, and address any concerns you may have as a new kitten owner. Additionally, they will discuss preventative measures, nutrition, parasite control, and spaying/neutering options.

After completing the initial vaccination series, kittens usually transition to annual veterinary visits for routine check-ups, vaccinations, and overall health maintenance. 

Common Health Issues in Kittens

Infectious Diseases: Kittens are susceptible to diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites. These diseases can include respiratory infections, such as cat flu (an upper respiratory tract infection), and gastrointestinal infections like viral enteritis

Parasites: Kittens can be affected by external parasites like fleas, ticks, and mites, as well as internal parasites such as worms (e.g., roundworms, hookworms). 

Feline Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper): This highly contagious viral disease affects kittens and can cause symptoms like fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and a weakened immune system. 

Upper Respiratory Infections: Kittens are prone to respiratory infections, commonly caused by viral agents like feline herpesvirus and calicivirus. Symptoms may include sneezing, nasal discharge, coughing, and conjunctivitis.

Diarrhea: Gastrointestinal disturbances leading to diarrhea can occur in kittens due to infections, dietary changes, parasites, or dietary intolerances. 

Skin Disorders: Kittens can develop allergies, dermatitis, and fungal or bacterial infections. Common symptoms include itching, hair loss, redness, or lesions.

Congenital Conditions: Some kittens may be born with congenital conditions, such as flat-chested kitten syndrome (FCKS), which causes a compression of the thorax due to lung collapse. This condition can result in respiratory distress and requires immediate veterinary attention.

Nutritional Issues: Improper nutrition can lead to developmental problems, growth abnormalities, or malnutrition in kittens. 

If you notice any of the symptoms schedule a vet visit ASAP. 

How Often Do Adult Cats Need to Go to the Vet?

The frequency of veterinary visits for adult cats depends on their age and overall health status. 

Once your cat reaches adulthood, they require annual wellness exams. These exams involve a comprehensive physical exam, including a check of the heart, lungs, teeth, and gums. Your vet may also recommend blood work or other diagnostic tests to detect any hidden health concerns.

This routine check-up allows the veterinarian to assess your cat’s overall health, conduct a physical examination, update vaccinations if necessary, and address any concerns or preventive care measures.

Common Health Issues in Adult Cats

Cancer: Cats can develop various types of cancer, including tumors that may be localized or spread throughout the body. 

Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD): FLUTD, also known as feline urological syndrome (FUS), is a common and potentially fatal condition in which sediment or stones form in the urinary tract. Male cats are more prone to urinary obstruction. Symptoms may include frequent urination, blood in the urine, and straining in the litter box.

Dental Disease: Adult cats are prone to dental problems such as periodontal disease, tooth decay, and gingivitis. Poor dental hygiene can lead to pain, infection, and difficulty eating. 

Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism is a hormonal disorder commonly seen in older cats but can occur in adult cats as well. It is characterized by an overactive thyroid gland, resulting in increased metabolism. Symptoms may include weight loss, increased appetite, restlessness, and hyperactivity.

Diabetes: Adult cats can develop diabetes mellitus, a condition characterized by high blood sugar levels. Common signs include increased thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, and changes in appetite. 

Skin Allergies: Cats can develop allergies to environmental allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, or certain foods. Skin allergies often manifest as itching, excessive grooming, hair loss, and skin irritation. 

Eye Infections: Adult cats are susceptible to eye infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Common signs include redness, discharge, squinting, and pawing at the eyes. 

How Often Do Senior Cats Need to Go to the Vet?

Senior cats should have Bi-annual (every 6 months) veterinary check-ups. 

These routine visits allow the veterinarian to assess your cat’s overall health, perform a physical examination, update vaccinations if necessary, and discuss any concerns or changes you may have noticed.

This increased frequency allows for closer monitoring of age-related conditions and early detection of any health issues that may arise.

Common Health Issues in Senior Cats

Senirocat become more suspectable to age-related health issues.

Arthritis: Older cats may develop arthritis, a degenerative joint disease that causes pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Signs include difficulty jumping, reluctance to climb stairs, and decreased activity levels.

Chronic renal (kidney) disease: Kidney disease is prevalent in older cats. Symptoms include increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss, loss of appetite, and vomiting.

Hyperthyroidism: This condition involves an overactive thyroid gland, leading to symptoms such as weight loss, increased appetite, restlessness, vomiting, and increased thirst and urination.

Dental disease: Older cats are prone to dental problems like periodontal disease, tooth decay, and oral infections. Signs include bad breath, difficulty eating, drooling, and inflamed gums.

Heart disease: Senior cats can develop hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or congestive heart failure. Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, lethargy, and decreased appetite.

Cancer: Older cats have an increased risk of developing cancer, including lymphoma, mammary tumors, and squamous cell carcinoma. Symptoms vary depending on the type and location of the cancer.

Cognitive dysfunction: Just like humans, cats may experience cognitive decline with age, known as feline cognitive dysfunction (FCD). Signs include disorientation, changes in sleep patterns, reduced activity, decreased appetite, and altered behavior.

How Often Do Geriatric Cats Need to Go to the Vet?

Geriatric cats should see a vet twice a year if there are no previously established health issues and if the cat doesn’t show any signs of illness or new behavioral changes. 

Common Health Issues in Geriatric Cats

Health issues that affect senior cats also refer to geriatric cats.

I would add that symptoms can be misread as age-related changes, so close veterinary monitoring is important. 

The Importance of Regular Vet Visits

When it comes to veterinary care, prevention is always better than cure. 

Regular vet visits not only enable early detection of potential health issues but also aid in disease prevention. 

Some health issues may not show any symptoms until they have progressed to a more severe stage. This is why regular vet visits are crucial for your cat’s health. Your vet can perform blood tests and other diagnostic procedures to detect any potential health concerns before they become more severe

Your vet will develop an individual healthcare program for your cat, which includes vaccinations, preventative medicines, and advice on nutrition and exercise. This tailored approach ensures your cat remains healthy and happy.

Recognizing Signs of Illness in Cats

Cats are masters at hiding pain and illness. However, sometimes health issues manifest in subtle ways. 

Keep an eye out for any behavioral changes, such as a change in appetite, litter box habits, or grooming routine. 

Other signs of illness may include lethargy, vomiting, or unusual discharge. If you notice any of these symptoms, make sure to contact your vet immediately.

Signs Your Cat Needs Imidate Veterinary Attention

Signs of Illness or Injury

If your cat exhibits any signs of illness or injury such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or changes in appetite.

Behavioral Changes

If your cat exhibits any sudden changes in behavior, such as hiding more or becoming aggressive.

Fever
If your cat has a fever for more than 1 day.

Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing: If your cat is struggling to breathe or breathing excessively fast, it could be a sign of a serious respiratory problem or heart issue.

Severe or prolonged vomiting or diarrhea: Occasional episodes of vomiting or diarrhea may not be alarming, but if your cat vomits or has diarrhea frequently, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms like lethargy or loss of appetite, it could indicate a gastrointestinal issue or toxin ingestion.

Inability to urinate or producing little to no urine: If your cat is straining to urinate, going to the litter box frequently but only producing small amounts of urine, or not urinating at all, it could be a sign of a urinary blockage, which is a life-threatening condition in cats.

Prolonged or excessive lethargy: Cats can be naturally sleepy, but if your cat appears excessively lethargic, weak, or unresponsive, it may indicate a serious underlying health problem.

Trauma or injury: Any significant trauma, such as being hit by a car or falling from a height, should be considered an emergency. Even if there are no visible external injuries, internal damage may have occurred.

Profuse bleeding: If your cat is bleeding excessively from a wound or body orifice, it requires immediate veterinary attention to control the bleeding and assess the underlying cause.

Collapse or loss of consciousness: If your cat suddenly collapses, becomes unresponsive, or loses consciousness, it is a severe emergency that requires immediate veterinary intervention.

Persistent seizures: If your cat experiences prolonged or repeated seizures

Difficulty giving birth: If your pregnant cat is having prolonged, intense contractions without delivering any kittens, or if she has been in active labor for more than an hour without progress

Severe pain or distress: If your cat shows signs of extreme pain, such as vocalizing, restlessness, aggression, or hiding.