Cats and The Vet


This article was written for Pet Guardian Angels of America by Kari Oakley


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Cat Health: When To Take Your Cat To The Vet

Whether your pet is a kitten or senior cat, it’s important to provide your animal with veterinary care. Annual wellness exams detect health problems that require medical treatment. Pets might need antibiotics to recover from respiratory infections. Unusual behavior such as lethargy and loss of appetite is an indication of a serious medical problem. Consider making a veterinary appointment if your cat is experiencing health problems or is due for an annual wellness exam.

Annual Wellness Exams

Pet owners are encouraged to schedule a wellness exam after adopting or purchasing a new cat. Most city ordinances require cat owners to vaccinate their pet. The three required vaccinations are rabies, FeLV and FVRCP. A blood and urine test are included in wellness exams. These tests can detect infections and organ disease. Veterinarians recommend a wellness exam at least once a year for cats.

Respiratory Infections

It’s common for cats to develop a respiratory infection a few times a year. The symptoms of a respiratory infection include sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion and runny eyes. There is no cure for a respiratory infection, but the symptoms can be managed with medication. A bacterial infection requires treatment with an antibiotic. Recurrent respiratory infections might be an indication of a more serious health problem such as feline viral rhinotracheitis.

Dental Problems

Veterinarians recommend dental cleanings at least once a year. The most common symptom of a dental problem is bad breath. Dental problems will only get worse if left untreated for an extended period of time. Cats might need tooth extractions for severe infections. Hiding pain is a survival instinct in cats, which is why it’s important to take care of the problem at your earliest convenience.

Litter Box Accidents

Most cats require little training to use a litter box. An occasional accident is normal, but frequent accidents might indicate a serious problem. Cats will not use a litter box that is dirty, so it’s important to clean the box several time a week. Consider changing your cat litter brand if the odor is not appealing to your pet. Cats will also urinate outside the litter box if they are mad at you. A medical problem is most likely the cause of litter box accidents if there is no logical reason for the occurrences. Common medical reasons for litter box accidents include urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and diabetes.


Lethargy in cats can be an indication of a serious illness. The symptoms of lethargy include loss of appetite, fatigue, breathing difficulty and fever. Your cat might experience vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss. It’s also common for cats to avoid interacting with family members and other pets in the house when they are lethargic. Medical condition associated with lethargy include anemia, liver disease, cancer and depression. It’s important to contact your veterinarian immediately. Some veterinarians provide chatbots for customer service if you need to speak with someone outside normal business hours.

Excessive Grooming and Hair Loss

Excessive grooming and hair loss might seem like a minor problem, but it could be a symptom of a serious medical condition. It’s important to check your cat for fleas if you notice excessive scratching and grooming. Prolonged exposure to fleas could lead to hair loss or an allergic reaction. Other medical conditions associated with hair loss include hyperthyroidism, ringworm and ulcers.

Veterinary care is one of the best ways to prolong the life of your cat. Annual wellness exams detect chronic health conditions such as diabetes and kidney failure. Veterinary care is needed if your cat develops a respiratory infection, dental problems or lethargy. Pet owners should also contact a veterinarian if they notice a change in their cat’s litter box habits, energy level or eating habits.

Kari Oakley gained a love for fitness and animals as a young girl in Wisconsin. She spent each summer on some type of adventure, either a day at the lake with her family or just hiking with her friends. She took her love for fitness with her through college to get her degree in Kinesiology (Exercise Science). She has been working as a personal trainer/life coach in the Chicago area for the past 3 years. She has recently decided to share her passions with lower income schools in Chicago to help children develop a knowledge and love for fitness. When Kari started working with the kids in Chicago, she decided she wanted to share her knowledge and passion with as many people as possible. She has been freelance writing alongside ever since.