wellness visits for cats how often?

wellness visits for cats how often

A wellness examination is a regular medical check-up for a healthy cat, rather than one that is sick. It may also be referred to as a "check-up" or a "physical examination". The main goal of a wellness examination is to ensure that your cat is in good health.

How often should my cat have a wellness examination?

The frequency of wellness exams for your cat will vary based on their age and health condition. Kittens should have monthly check-ups, adult cats typically have annual exams, and middle-aged, senior, and geriatric cats should be seen by a veterinarian twice a year.

Many people mistakenly believe that a cat's age can be equated to seven human years in one calendar year.

Pets age more rapidly than humans. Many people believe that one year for a cat is equivalent to seven years for a human, but in reality, cats can age anywhere from four to sixteen years in one human year. This is because kittens grow up very quickly and are essentially young adults by the time they reach one year old, making them the equivalent of a 15 or 16-year-old human.

In the second year, aging in cats slows down slightly, so that by their second birthday they are equivalent to a 24- or 25-year-old. From then on, cats age at a rate of about 4 cat years per calendar year. They reach middle age around 6 years old, become seniors between 11 and 14, and are considered geriatric at 15 years old and older.

Your vet is the most qualified to advise on the frequency of wellness checks for your cat, taking into account her age, health, and lifestyle.

In a regular check-up, your vet will inquire about your cat's eating habits, activity level, water intake, breathing, behavior, routines, litter box behavior, living situation, and overall well-being.

Your vet will examine your cat physically and review its medical history to recommend specific preventive medicine treatments, such as vaccinations, parasite control, nutrition, skin and coat care, joint health, weight management, and dental care.

Moreover, your vet will evaluate your cat's unique situation and determine if any other suggestions relating to their current life stage or habits are necessary.

What does my veterinarian check during a physical examination?

During a physical examination, your cat's overall appearance is assessed, their chest is listened to with a stethoscope, and specific areas of their body are felt.

Your veterinarian will examine or observe:

  • The overall attentiveness and curiosity of your cat towards its environment.
  • The overall physical condition of your cat, including its weight and body composition being neither overweight nor underweight.
  • Check your cat's muscles for any signs of muscle atrophy.
  • Examining the hair for signs of extreme dryness, excessive oiliness, presence of dandruff, too much shedding, or unusual hair loss.
  • The skin is examined for signs of oiliness, dryness, dandruff, lumps or bumps, abnormal thickening, and similar conditions.
  • The eyes will be examined for redness, discharge, signs of excessive tearing, unusual lumps or bumps on the eyelids, the closure of the eyelids, cloudiness, or any other irregularities.
  • Inspect the ears for any signs of debris, wax build-up, thickening, hair loss, or other issues.
  • The nose and face are examined to check for symmetry, discharge, breathing ability, skin fold issues, or any other visible problems in your cat.
  • Looking at the mouth and teeth for signs of tartar accumulation, gum disease, retained baby teeth, fractured teeth, excess drooling, discoloration around the lips, and mouth ulcers.
The heart is monitored for any irregularities such as abnormal heart rate, heart rhythm (such as skipped or extra beats), or heart murmurs.
  • The lungs are being examined for changes in breath sounds, whether they have increased or decreased.

Your vet will check for:

  • If your veterinarian detects anything unusual in the pulse, they may also check the chest and feel the pulse in the hind legs at the same time.
  • Examining the lymph nodes in the head, neck, and hind legs to check for any signs of swelling or discomfort.
  • The throat is being examined for signs of any irregularities in the thyroid glands.
  • The legs will be examined to detect any signs of lameness, muscle issues, nerve issues, paw or toenail problems, and so forth.
  • The abdominal region is examined to determine the condition of internal organs such as the bladder, kidneys, liver, intestines, spleen, and stomach. It is checked for any signs of normal or abnormal functioning, as well as any indications of discomfort.

In certain situations, you may not realize that your vet is performing certain aspects of a standard physical exam, especially if no abnormalities are found.

What else might be checked during a wellness examination?

Your vet will suggest collecting a new sample of your cat's poop before the check-up to check for parasite eggs. It's especially important to do this regularly for kittens, as they are prone to intestinal parasites. If you live in an area where heartworm is common, your vet may also recommend testing for this disease.

will perform a thorough physical examination of your pet, including checking their eyes, ears, teeth, and overall body condition. They may also recommend routine blood work and other diagnostic tests to assess your pet's overall health and wellness."
typically suggests undergoing wellness screening tests.

During a comprehensive wellness check-up, your vet will often suggest wellness screening tests for your cat. These tests typically include a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and thyroid hormone testing. Your vet will provide guidance on the extent of testing needed within each category.

For young cats without any apparent health issues, basic testing should suffice. However, older cats may require more thorough testing, such as X-rays to check the condition of internal organs or bones, as well as blood pressure monitoring.

Cats are unable to communicate their feelings, so diseases can go unnoticed until they are in advanced stages. Additionally, cats often hide signs of illness as a survival instinct, making it difficult to detect early warning signs. It is important for a veterinarian to conduct a physical examination to uncover any subtle changes that could indicate underlying health problems, leading to further testing if needed.

If a disease or condition can be identified in your cat before they exhibit clear signs of sickness, it is possible to take actions to address the issue before permanent harm is done. This can lead to a better chance of a successful recovery. Moreover, identifying and treating the problem early on is typically more cost-effective than waiting until the illness or issue becomes severe enough to impact your cat's overall well-being.

Wellness checkups and tests are very important for older cats, as they are more prone to having hidden illnesses. That's why it is suggested to have semi-annual exams for senior cats.

Is there anything I need to do to prepare my cat for a wellness examination?

Before scheduling your appointment with the veterinarian, inquire about whether you need to withhold food from your cat beforehand. Additionally, ask if you need to collect and bring in recent urine or fecal samples.

Get ready by gathering some essential details, like the brand and variety of food your cat consumes, if your family gives any human food as treats, if your cat is given any additional supplements, and if there have been any health issues noticed by anyone in the family. This is also the perfect opportunity to address any worries you may have and learn more about the best ways to keep your furry companion healthy.

Importance of check-ups

Regular check-ups are an essential part of maintaining your cat's overall health and well-being. While it may seem unnecessary to take a seemingly healthy cat to the vet, wellness visits play a crucial role in prevention, early detection, and timely treatment of potential health issues. In this article, we will discuss the importance of routine vet visits for cats, how often they should occur, and the health recommendations to keep your feline friend in optimal condition.

Cat health recommendations

Cat owners often wonder how frequently their feline companions should have wellness visits. While it can vary depending on the cat's age, overall health, and any underlying conditions, generally, annual visits to the vet are recommended. However, certain factors may require more frequent visits.

1. Kittens and young cats

Kittens require more frequent visits as they go through rapid growth and development. During their first year, it is advisable to schedule wellness visits approximately every three to four weeks. These visits are essential for vaccinations, deworming, and monitoring their growth.

2. Adult cats

Once cats reach adulthood, usually around 1 to 7 years old, annual wellness visits are typically sufficient. These visits allow the veterinarian to conduct a thorough examination, update vaccinations, assess overall health, and address any concerns or questions you may have as a cat owner.

3. Senior cats

As cats age, their health needs change, and they become more prone to certain conditions such as arthritis, dental issues, and kidney disease. For senior cats (7 years old and above), bi-annual wellness visits are recommended to monitor their health closely. These visits provide an opportunity to catch age-related illnesses early and intervene with appropriate treatments.

wellness visits for cats how often

Routine vet visits

Wellness visits are not only for administering vaccinations or addressing health concerns. These visits are also a valuable opportunity for you to consult and collaborate with your veterinarian on your cat's overall well-being. Here are some essential aspects of routine vet visits:

Comprehensive physical examination

During a wellness visit, your veterinarian will perform a thorough examination to evaluate your cat's overall health. They will check your cat's weight, body condition, coat, eyes, ears, teeth, and listen to their heart and lungs. This examination helps in identifying any potential health issues, even if your cat appears to be healthy.

Vaccinations and preventive care

Regular vaccinations are crucial in protecting your cat from various diseases. Vaccination schedules may vary, but common vaccines for cats include those for feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia, and rabies. Your veterinarian will advise you on the appropriate vaccinations and preventive care measures based on your cat's lifestyle and potential exposure risks.

Parasite prevention

Routine vet visits also allow for the discussion and implementation of parasite prevention strategies. Fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites can cause significant health issues in cats. Your veterinarian will recommend appropriate preventive measures, such as topical treatments or oral medications, to help keep your cat free from parasites.

Nutrition and weight management

Diet plays a crucial role in maintaining a cat's overall health and weight. During wellness visits, your veterinarian can provide guidance on appropriate nutrition, portion sizes, and weight management strategies. They can also address any concerns regarding your cat's dietary habits, ensuring they receive a balanced and appropriate diet for their age and health needs.

Dental health

Dental issues are common in cats, and they can lead to discomfort, pain, and even systemic health problems if left untreated. Veterinary wellness visits provide an opportunity to assess your cat's dental health, perform dental cleanings if necessary, and provide guidance on dental care at home.

Behavior and environmental enrichment

Wellness visits are an ideal time to discuss any behavioral issues or concerns you may have about your cat. Your veterinarian can provide advice on tackling behavioral problems, such as litter box issues, aggression, or anxiety. They can also recommend environmental enrichment strategies to enhance your cat's mental stimulation and overall well-being.

Early disease detection

One of the primary benefits of routine vet visits is early disease detection. Cats are masters at hiding signs of illness, and by the time symptoms become evident, the disease may have progressed significantly. Through regular check-ups, veterinarians can identify potential health issues early on, allowing for prompt treatment and a better prognosis.

Client-veterinarian relationship

Regular visits to the vet help establish a strong partnership between you and your veterinarian. Building a rapport with your vet allows for better communication and a deeper understanding of your cat's specific needs. This relationship enables your veterinarian to provide personalized care and tailor recommendations based on your cat's individual circumstances.


Routine wellness visits are vital for cats of all ages. They provide an opportunity to catch any potential health issues early, ensure your cat's vaccinations are up to date, and maintain their overall well-being. By following the recommended guidelines for wellness visits, you can ensure that your feline companion leads a long, healthy, and happy life. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, and regular check-ups are the key to achieving this goal. So, make that appointment with your veterinarian today and give your furry friend the gift of good health!