How Often Should I Take My Cat to the Vet?

Four Minutes
Mar 02, 2023

“How often do you take a cat to the vet?” If you’re a new cat owner, you’ve likely asked yourself that question. Whether you have an indoor or outdoor cat, you may not know how often to bring them in for a regular check-up or what situations warrant a trip to the veterinarian. When looking at how much a cat costs, vet visits are a large portion of that expense.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended that cats go to the vet at least once a year.1 They may need to visit the vet more frequently if they’re very young, have health problems, require certain vaccinations, or if they’re a senior cat. Let’s take a look at when to bring your cat to the vet and the different types of vet visits to expect.

When Do You Take a Cat to the Vet?

You may need to take your cat to the vet for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Annual wellness exams
  • Vaccinations
  • Accidents
  • Illnesses

There’s no hard and fast rule about when to take your cat to the vet outside of their annual visit, but use your best judgment when it comes to any accidents or illnesses they may face. You may also experience more frequent vet visits if you have an outdoor cat as they’re exposed to more factors that could impact their health, such as other animals, parasites, and vehicles.2

Types of Cat Vet Visits Based on Age

There are a few different types of veterinary visits for cats based on their age. Although cats of any age may end up visiting their regular vet or an emergency clinic due to accidents or illnesses, there are some other distinctions for vet visits for cats at different ages.

Kitten vet visits

Kittens can expect to be in the vet’s office more often for check-ups and cat vaccines. Core vaccines can be administered for kittens as young as 6 or 8 weeks, but may be administered at the 12-week mark and beyond. For vaccines that require multiple doses, you’ll need to schedule multiple appointments every 3 – 4 weeks in order for your kitten to be fully vaccinated.1

At around 6 months to a year of age, your kitten may undergo a spay or neutering procedure. This may be performed at your vet’s office or another clinic, depending on where you live and what procedures your local office can administer. Overall, taking your kitten to the vet’s office at a young age can help them establish a healthy relationship with their kitty physician and could help them get less nervous about the examination experience over time.

Adult cat vet visits

Barring any illness or accidents, adult cats typically visit their vet once a year for a check-up. During your cat’s wellness exam, your vet will monitor your cat’s overall health and test for any parasitic infections or other issues your cat may be facing. They’ll also administer any necessary vaccines. Keep in mind that not all vaccines have the same schedule for boosters, so you may have to take your cat to an additional vet visit depending on their vaccination schedule.

Of course, there may be outstanding circumstances when your cat is feeling under the weather, which may warrant additional visits outside of their wellness exam. You can schedule these appointments with your local vet. They’ll likely run diagnostic tests, fecal exams, or other tests depending on the concern. However, if your cat’s health is dire, you may need to visit an emergency clinic.

Senior cat vet visits

Senior cats — or cats older than 11-years-old — may also visit the vet more often than the average healthy adult cat. Outside of their annual wellness exam, you may consider adding a second annual visit to monitor any health issues or identify any underlying issues early. If you have an established vet, they’ll be able to track changes to your cat’s health and identify if they develop hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, or other health concerns as a senior.

Although additional visits can be an added cost, it may give you extra time with your furry friend by potentially catching health issues in their early stages.

When To Take Your Cat to an Emergency Vet

As a pet owner, you know when something doesn’t seem quite right with your furry family member. If you’re unsure about whether your cat just needs a check-up from the vet or if you should take them to the emergency clinic, here are just a few things to look out for that warrant an emergency visit:3

  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Heat stroke
  • Abdominal pain
  • Inability to urinate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Crying when being touched
  • Multiple vomiting episodes in a short time frame

You should also take your pet to an emergency vet if they’ve experienced trauma, like getting hit by a car or suffering an attack of any kind. It’s also recommended to get your cat emergency medical attention if you know they’ve consumed something poisonous. If you’re unsure, you can always call your closest emergency clinic to determine what next steps to take.

How To Prepare for a Vet Visit

If you have an anxious cat, preparing for a vet visit can also be stressful to you as an owner. Cats are usually brought into the vet’s office in carriers and, while they may not like it, they’re typically more comfortable in a dark, confined space than in your arms when they’re in an unfamiliar place.

With your vet’s guidance, you may consider a calming collar that releases pheromones to relax your cat. Your vet may also prescribe medication that you can administer to your cat prior to visits to ensure they’re comfortable and your vet is able to perform the exam.

How Pet Insurance Can Help

When it comes to vet visits, costs can add up quickly. Whether it’s diagnostic testing, vaccinations, or care for an emergency stay, you likely don’t want to have to worry about finances in order to keep your cat healthy.

A cat insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance can help offset the cost of care by reimbursing you for covered expenses. Get a free quote today so you can focus on giving your cat the care they need into their golden years.

Protect your Cat

Enroll in 3 Easy Steps

1 ”How Often to Take Your Kitten or Cat to the Vet,” Daily Paws

2 “Indoor Cats vs. Outdoor Cats,” American Humane

3 “When To Take Your Cat To The Emergency Vet,” Veterinary Emergency Group

Coverage underwritten and issued by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85254 or Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations. Application is subject to underwriting review. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC for details. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator for this coverage. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

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