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How Often Do Cats Need to Visit the Veterinarian?

For cat owners to know how often a cat needs to visit a veterinarian. What symptoms require urgent veterinarian attention for cats? When should a cat or kitten be taken to the veterinarian? How often do cats need vaccinations? When should I take my new kitten to the veterinarian? How often do cats go to the vet?

Cat owners wonder how often their pet cat needs to visit the veterinarian. How often are vaccinations needed? When is a health problem an emergency? If you are a cat owner, or are considering getting a cat you need to keep in mind about ongoing veterinarian expenses and care needs for your pet cat.

General Reasons to Take a Cat to the Veterinarian

A kitten should visit the veterinarian, for worming, vaccination, and check up, a few days before going to its new home.  This is normally done around 6-8 weeks of age. Sadly many people give away kittens who are not vaccinated (or sell them unvaccinated), if you are a new owner and do not have proof of vaccination, your new kitten should see the veterinarian immediately for vaccination, worming, and a general health check.

The kitten will require booster shots, usually 30 days after the first shots are given, and may even need an other booster for rabies. After that cats usually visit the veterinarian yearly for a check up and vaccinations. Some people who keep their cats as indoor only pets may choose to only booster their cat every two years.

Female cats who are not going to be used for showing and breeding should be spayed at 6 months, male cats should be neutered when there testicles have descended, around 8 – 10 months.

If a cat is pregnant she should visit the veterinarian for an examination to determine her health and how many kittens she is carrying.

two cats

above - authors cats, both formerly feral

Emergency Situations - Urgent Veterinarian Attention

If your cat is showing any of the following symptoms please contact your veterinarian right away. Most veterinarians do have a 24 hour service and failing to call could greatly reduce your cat's chances for survival.  When in doubt if a problem is urgent a person can always call their vet and ask.

  • If the cat's temperature is more than one or two degrees above the normal range it should be checked by a veterinarian. The normal temperature for a cat is 100.5-102F, 38-39.2C.
  • If the cat has lost consciousness.
  • Cats who are panting like dogs should see a vet immediately.
  • If the cat is vomiting blood, is forcefully vomiting, or has vomited more than twice in one day.
  • If the cat has experienced a sudden weight loss.
  • If the cat is experiencing seizures or convulsions.
  • If the cat has been hit by a car, even if there are no obvious injuries.
  • If the cat has swallowed something, or ingested poison, such as antifreeze.
  • Behaving oddly after being treated for fleas or ticks.
  • If the cat appears to be experiencing a loss of vision.
  • If the cat is refusing to drink for more than one day, or if the cat is refusing to eat for more than two days.
  • If the cat is stumbling when it walks.
  • If the cat is extremely lethargic.
  • If the cat is experiencing any unexplained pains or discomforts.
  • Signs of obvious injury.
  • Suspect poisoning.
  • If a normally friendly cat is suddenly showing signs of aggression.
  • A pregnant cat who is experiencing problems, or is more than 2 days overdue should see a veterinarian.

Note: There is no excuse not to take a sick, or ailing, cat to the veterinarian. If you cannot afford care, there are options. If you cannot afford veterinary care for a kitten, or cat, you should not get a pet.

Other health conditions, such as problems with cats urinating around the house instead of in litter box, are important to follow up on, but may not be "emergencies" as such that would require an urgent trip to the veterinarian regardless of time of day or night.  *Note if a cat has not used its litter box for days, and has not been "messing" elsewhere in the house - a visit to the veterinarian is important.

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Comments (6)
Ranked #25 in Cats

I love your picture! Are those your cats? We once had an issue where a cat of ours couldn't urinate for a couple of days, but we didn't realize it. We have multiple cats. If the cat hasn't urinated-especially if it is a male-in a couple of days or so when he usually does (or a marked change in litterbox habits), a vet should be called. I say 'especially if it is a male' because Slater had crystals in his urinary tract, and males have a much more narrow one than females and are thus more susceptible. At least, that's what the vet said, anyway. Nice article!

Thank you for the excellent information.

I trust your wisdom and appreciate you information the ease at which I can follow your smart help. Voted up.

This is very handy Brenda. Very informative post, thank you.

Very well explained symptoms. I had experienced much of these with my cats, but i never knew when to tell an overdue pregnant cat, thanks Brenda. I've learned so much here.

Excellent advice, as always.