Preventive cat care is essential in ensuring they live a long, healthy life and avoid unnecessary discomfort. From taking preventive medicines to annual wellness checks, preventive care leads to the highest quality of life for your cat. It’s easy for cat owners to be tempted to skip critical preventive care by assuming it’s not necessary. At Animal Farm Pet Hospital , we’ve taken the most frequently asked questions about cat preventive care and answered them as thoroughly and accurately as possible to ensure you have the facts.
If you’re looking for a highly trained veterinarian in San Francisco, CA, we’d love to see your cat for a wellness exam, so please call us at (415) 333-0813.
What is considered preventive care for my cat?
Preventive care for your cat means being preemptive about their general health, from diet and vaccines to annual checkups and dental care. It also includes medications to prevent fleas, ticks, intestinal parasites, and more.
How can preventive care extend the life and improve the health of my cat?
The most proactive owners who maintain their cat’s veterinary health and instill a positive home life have cats that tend to live the longest. Ensuring you're on top of your cat’s preventive medications, diet, enrichment at home, and vaccines has a positive impact on their overall health and lifespan. The American Animal Hospital Association has outlined the core vaccines for cats, including the appropriate age for the vaccine and if revaccination is needed.
What types of preventive care do veterinarians recommend?
When it comes to kittens, your veterinarian will recommend a checkup every three weeks, starting at six weeks of age. They will test for feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia and get them started on their vaccine series. The vaccine series, which we complete around four months of age, establishes a healthy immune system, so they can live a long and healthy life. At this time, your veterinarian will also get your cat started on preventions for fleas, ticks, intestinal parasites, ear mites, and more.
Your veterinarian will see your cat again at about six to eight months of age to be spayed or neutered. We strongly recommend this for cats to help with population control, deter some problematic behavior such as roaming or spraying, and help prevent cancer in reproductive organs later in life, such as mammary, ovarian, and testicular cancers. After they are spayed or neutered, your veterinarian will recommend annual wellness checkups.
An annual cat wellness checkup includes:
- Getting their vaccines up-to-date
- Confirming a healthy weight and size
- Making sure their teeth and gums look healthy
- General lab or blood work to assess internal organ function
- Checking the eyes, mouth, and skin
- Performing an abdominal palpation
- Evaluating the cat’s joints
Annual wellness checkups ensure your cat’s best health and well-being and help identify any changes in their bodily function that you may not have noticed at home.
What are some common cat health problems that can be avoided with cat preventive care?
Veterinarians commonly see ailments in cats that they can vaccinate for, such as feline leukemia. Cats with feline leukemia can seldom survive without treatment. If your cat goes outside, they need to stay updated on their intestinal parasite deworming because worms deprive them of nutrients and can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms, weight loss, and discomfort.
Why is it important to avoid self-diagnosing my cat?
Cats are unique little creatures, and they're also incredibly stoic. Veterinarians learn how to read cats and interpret what they need, as there are many ailments and symptoms specific to cats that can be misdiagnosed or misleading. It can be tempting for cat owners to try to determine what's wrong with their cat, but the most important thing is to be aware of your cat's general behavior.
Behavioral changes in cats to be aware of include:
- Misuse of the litter box
- Inappropriate interactions with other cats
- Drinking too much water
- Going to the bathroom somewhere else in the house
These are all significant changes that should prompt you to schedule an exam with your veterinarian. Pet owners need to be careful with misidentifying or misdiagnosing something based on their own research. Many problems can be life-threatening in cats, especially if they go on too long before being diagnosed by a veterinarian.
What are the risks of failing to provide preventive cat care?
Failing to provide preventive care for your cat increases the likelihood of disease contraction such as internal and external parasites. You also run the risk of your cat developing diabetes later in life, and if undiagnosed, that can be detrimental to their health and lifespan.
If you have further questions about cat preventive care, reach out to your veterinarian. If you live in or near San Francisco, CA, we’d love to see your cat for an annual wellness exam, so please don’t hesitate to call us at (415) 333-0813.