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The Importance Of Annual Health Checks For Your Cat

Cats are known to be pretty independent creatures by nature and they do have a tendency to go off hunting and exploring their territory if they are allowed to go outside. Sometimes they can disappear for hours or even days which can leave their owners worried and stressed out. However, cats like having a cuddle and love it when they can sit on your lap when they are at home.

Whether you share your home with an indoor cat or a pet that's allowed to explore the great outdoors, it's really important they get checked over by a vet on an annual basis to make sure they're in good health. A lot of cats object to having their teeth cleaned and taking them along for a regular check-up every twelve months or so, allows the vet to give your cat's teeth a good once over and a clean. If they find any broken or damaged teeth or if they find there's a big build-up of tartar, they would be able to sort things out before a condition turns nasty and painful which often results in a cat not wanting to eat.

As an owner, you are the best person when it comes to recognising when something is wrong with your cat. However, often there are very subtle signs that may go unnoticed and which only a vet might pick up on when they are giving your cat a thorough annual examination. The thing to bear in mind is that cats tend to be really good at hiding the fact they are feeling unwell. It's in their nature because to show weakness makes a cat feel vulnerable which is why they often choose to hide away when they're injured or ill.

Getting Your Cat Used to Going to the Vet

It's also important to get your cat used to going to the vet because many of our feline friends get quite stressed out when they are taken out of their usual environment. Some cats take it in their strides whereas others tend to panic and can become quite aggressive albeit because they are stressed out and scared. It goes without saying that when a cat is ill or injured a trip to the vet is inevitable, but the focus of their treatment would be on their injury or a specific condition and not on their overall health.

Regular check-ups are a more proactive approach to your cat's health and well-being and it's when a vet is able to recognise symptoms of there being something wrong with your pet that might need further investigation. It's very much a question of "prevention being that much better than cure" which is especially true of breeds that are known to suffer from hereditary health issues.

The vet would literally carry out a full examination on your cat and as they get older, you may find that more visits would be required. This would be particularly true if the vet has diagnosed them suffering from a progressive or chronic health disorder which would require careful monitoring. You may find the vet recommends taking a urine sample to see if your cat's kidney are functioning properly and that they have not developed diabetes. Catching this sort of health issue early is important because your cat would be made to feel more comfortable and conditions are easier to treat and manage when they are nipped in the bud.

To Vaccinate or Not?

There has been a lot of talk about adverse reactions to vaccinations in cats, but it has to be noted that very serious reactions are very rare and as such many vets believe the benefits of vaccinating a cat against the more serious diseases far outweigh any of the risks involved in having cats vaccinated. With this said, if you share your home with a cat known to suffer from adverse reactions to vaccines, it would be better to err on the side of caution and discuss things with the vet before your cat is given annual boosters.

If you are hoping to go abroad on holiday and need to put your cat in a cattery for the time you are away, they would need to be fully vaccinated against the following to be accepted in the cattery:

  • Cat flu
  • Feline enteritis
  • Feline leukaemia
  • Feline chlamydophila - this is the bacteria that causes conjunctivitis in cats

If you plan to take your cat abroad with you, they would need to have their "pet passport" and they would also need to have been given a rabies vaccination before they leave the country.


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Parasites

You may never see a flea on your cat, but if they are allowed in the great outdoors the chances are they will pick them up from time to time. They would also have been hunting rodents and no doubt devouring the ones they catch which as a result means your cat has more than likely got intestinal worms too. You can ask the vet to do some blood tests to see if your cat has got worms and they would be able to recommend a cat specific treatment to get rid of them if the tests come back positive.

A Vet Would Check Your Cat's Weight

Obesity is one of the biggest health issues found in cats today and taking your pet along for an annual check-up helps establish whether they are carrying too much weight. The vet would also check your cat's body condition to make sure they have developed any worrying lumps and bumps that might need further investigation.

Conclusion

Setting up annual check-ups with the vet for your cat gives you peace of mind that if a health issue is flaring up a vet would be able to diagnose the problem and treat your pet sooner rather than later. It's a very proactive approach to your cat's health and well-being that allows vets to keep records of your cat's overall condition which is particularly useful if you share your home with a breed that's known to suffer from any hereditary health issues.


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