(Family Features) Just like humans need to see the doctor, cats need to see the veterinarian at least yearly, though some need to be seen more frequently. Even so, more than 50% of cats don’t receive veterinary care on a regular basis, according to the American Association of Feline Practitioners.
Cats are stoic animals, so it can be difficult to tell when they’re not feeling well, which is why Royal Canin created the “Take Your Cat to the Vet” campaign to spread awareness about the importance of preventative feline veterinary care.
While each annual appointment may look similar, your veterinarian is monitoring for different health concerns, such as kidney disease, depending on your cat’s life stage. During a typical physical examination, your vet assesses vital signs, including temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate, as well as your cat’s teeth and mouth, as tartar builds up and periodontal disease is common as cats age. Other areas your vet will check include ears and eyes, lymph nodes, skin and coat, weight, muscles, bones and joints.
As your cat ages, your vet will focus on specific developmental and health considerations.
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Kittens (3 months-1 year): This is a highly active stage of life and you can expect curiosity and playfulness. It’s the time to socialize and bond with your cat, as well as get him or her accustomed to regular health practices like trimming nails and getting in the carrier. Your vet will monitor growth and development, offer advice to ensure your kitten is getting adequate nutrition and educate you about breed-specific conditions or genetic concerns along with disease prevention and options for spaying and neutering.
Young Adults (1-6 years): At this stage, you should be familiar with your cat’s normal behaviors and able to spot changes. Let your veterinarian know about any unusual signs like vomiting, excessive hairballs or other behavior or grooming changes. Nutrition and weight management are increasingly important during this stage since preventing or managing obesity can help keep your cat healthier in its later years. Your vet will give extra attention to vital organs like the heart and lungs, as well as the skin and teeth.
Mature Adults (7-10 years): Many cats, even at the age of seven, still appear to be young and energetic. However, age-related illnesses such as diabetes, renal disease, hyperthyroidism, and cancer are more likely. Poor coat condition, lethargy, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, change in appetite, or diminished activity are all common indicators of disease in senior cats. During your yearly exam, your veterinarian will likely pay special attention to your cat's tummy, thyroid, and kidneys, as well as muscular tone, bone structure, and signs of arthritis or other problems.
Seniors (10 years and older): As cats get older, they require extra care since a variety of health issues might arise at the same time. If you detect any signs or changes, don't put them down to growing older; instead, see your veterinarian.
Chronic kidney disease, which affects 30-40% of cats over the age of ten, is a major problem for senior cats, according to study published in the Compendium on Continuing Education for the Practicing Veterinarian. Kidneys maintain a healthy balance of fluids and minerals in your pet's body and filter waste from the blood. Increased thirst and urination, poor appetite, weight loss, vomiting, and poor hair or coat quality are all indicators of renal illness.
Find more advice to keep your cat’s health on track at RoyalCanin.com and join the conversation on social media using #Cat2Vet.