Due to their stoic nature, cats are often impassive, even if they’re not well. So it’s a challenge for owners to gauge their pets’ health. That’s why one of the few ways to ensure that a cat is in top shape is to check at the vet. But how often do you take a cat to the vet?

The main recommendation is to take the cat to the vet at least once a year. Generally, that depends on the breed, age, diet, and lifestyle. Still, you should be familiar with your cat’s usual demeanor and health so you know precisely when to take action and proactively manage the risk and medical conditions.

Let’s educate ourselves and learn how to take the best care of our pets. We’ll go through everything you need, including:

Keep reading to know more.

How Often Should Indoor Cats Go to the Vet?

There’s a popular myth that cats are fully self-sufficient and that indoor cats don’t get sick. Consequently, many owners assume they don’t require regular veterinary care until they show signs of illness. It’s vital to overlook these misconceptions and check your cat’s health regularly.


So when to take a kitten to the vet?  As soon as possible after their birth and every month until they’re at least five months old. During the initial kitten vet visits, the physician will monitor its growth and discuss care and diet plans. For instance, some breeds require low-carb cat food, while others are allergic to raw meat or fish. 

Adult Cats

Healthy adult cats usually don’t require more than two checkups a year. Routine vet visits typically involve dental cleanings to prevent plaque and tartar buildup, vaccinations, grooming, and bloodwork. It’s to check their immunity levels and ensure everything’s good. Your vet can also recommend the best dental treats for cats and other products, like toothbrushes, toothpaste, and treats. 

Senior Cats

Like humans, feline health declines with age. Once your cat is around six or seven years old, your vet will recommend more frequent visits, like 2–4 times a year, to develop new care and diet plans. It’s because most senior cats develop health problems like arthritis, obesity, and leukemia, so they require additional visits to manage that. 

Taking Your Cat to Vet for the First Time

Even the friendliest and calmest cats can turn into wild beasts on a trip to the vet. There are several reasons for this, including:

  • Feeling trapped in a carrier
  • Unfamiliar smells
  • Other cats
  • Loud noises

These factors can increase their stress levels and even alter the cat behavior after a vet visit. Fortunately, you can do a few things to prevent temper tantrums or a tiring chase around the clinic. Whether you’re a first-time cat owner, married to one, or helping out a friend, here are some tips on taking a cat to the vet for the first time:

Get Your Paperwork Ready

Every purchased or adopted cat should have a blue slip or registration paperwork. The vet can use that to access its health records, like vaccinations, the breed’s spay and neuter statistics, or diet plan. 

If you don’t have one, you need to review your state’s cat ownership law and get the required paperwork, so the cat is legally yours.

woman holding a cat on her shoulder

Train Your Cat for Handling

How often do you take a cat to the vet if it hates being handled? No matter what your cat’s level of tolerance towards humans is, your pet needs regular vet care.

Unfortunately, any physical exam involves a fair amount of handling the cat. If your pet isn’t used to that, it probably won’t tolerate it, which might force the physician to sedate your pet until they finish the checkup. 

Get Your Cat Used to the Carrier

No animal likes being in a cage. Cats are no different, and forcing them into a carrier could be stressful. That’s why you need to ease the transition by proactively leaving the carrier in your living space until your cat gets comfortable around it. Cats naturally like tight or concealed areas, so you could temporarily replace their bed with the carrier a few days before the trip.

Simulate the Trip

How often do you take a cat to the vet in a car? Is your cat used to these trips? If it’s not, that could be a terrifying experience. But you don’t have to go far. 

Just cruise around the neighborhood and return home. Repeating this a few times could make your pet feel better about getting in and out of a carrier. Plus, it can help the animal get used to strangers, loud noises, and traffic.

How Often Should Cats Be Vaccinated?

Vaccinations for cats usually involve only one injection for common diseases after a specified period. In the past, most vets recommended getting a shot every year. But with advancements in medicine, modern vaccines can offer up to three years of immunity. Still, your cat’s physician should specify the vaccination interval based on the feline’s health, breed, diet, and overall lifestyle.

Common Health Issues in Cats

Even though cats are excellent at self-maintenance, they can get sick. In most cases, it’ll be something easily treatable with OTC medicine and home remedies, like a tummy ache, a minor ear infection, or diarrhea. 

But sometimes, cats can develop severe health complications that require immediate and long-term kitten vet visits. Fortunately, we can treat most conditions, especially if they get diagnosed as early as possible. Here are the seven most common health issues in cats and their symptoms:

  • Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases — Your cat might be drinking more, having bloody urine, depression, and constantly licking around the urinary area.
  • Fleas — They come with tiny black skin dots, frequent licking, hair loss, red or irritated skin, and scratching.
  • Tapeworms — You might notice weight loss, white worms around the cat’s anus, and increased hunger. 
  • Cancer — The cat can have visible lumps around the body, changes in bowel or bladder habits, difficulty swallowing, and lethargy. 
  • Diabetes — It comes with more urination, excessive thirst, increased appetite, and rapid weight loss. That’s when to take your cat to a vet.
  • Rabies —  Owners might notice severe behavioral changes, constant irritation, hyperexcitement, and sudden loss of appetite. 
  • Respiratory Infections — Your cat might be sneezing and have a fever, runny nose, and congestion.

Preventive care has taken the spotlight recently, as diet and lifestyle changes can help with many conditions.

When to Take a Cat to Vet Immediately

Just because cats are generally impassive doesn’t mean they don’t show signs of diseases. Experienced cat owners can easily notice behavioral changes and take proactive measures. Here are some signs of discomfort or distress that call for an immediate vet visit:

  • Changes in urine or stool color
  • Lethargy
  • Hiding or increased avoidance
  • Limping
  • Bodily injuries (open wounds)
  • Unusual sleeping patterns
  • Sudden activity changes
  • Sudden loss or increase in appetite
  • Excessive licking and/or scratching
  • Shivering or running a high cat temperature (above 102°F)

Cat Vet Check-Up Cost

Vet visits for routine and emergency checkups are among the most common pet care expenses, alongside food, grooming, supplies, and toys. Depending on your cat’s health, these additional costs could be negligible or result in a financial strain. 

But how much does it cost to take a cat to the vet? Unfortunately, there isn’t a fixed answer. Depending on the treatment and procedures, it can easily range from $100 or less to thousands of dollars. Here’s a breakdown of the most common procedures and their costs, according to Pawlicy Advisor:

Minor Tests and Procedures:

  • Routine checkup: $50–$300
  • Dental cleaning: $75–$500
  • Vaccines (per shot): $20–$40
  • Physical exams: $50–$70
  • Fecal exam: $25–$45
  • Spay/neuter: $150–$250

Major Tests and Procedures:

  • Injury treatment: $500–$2,500
  • Short/long hospitalizations: $500–$3,500
  • X-rays: $150–$250
  • Bloodwork: $80–$200
  • Surgery: $1,500–$7,500

These costs are just examples to give you an idea of what you could pay for a cat check up or treatment. We recommend contacting your vet’s office and asking for all the costs upfront before setting the cat or kitten vet schedule.


How often do you take a cat to the vet? As soon as you notice strange behavior. And you can only do this if you pay attention to your cat’s habits, diet, and routine. Even if your pet shows no signs of distress, you should schedule a routine checkup once or twice a year just to be safe. Cats won’t always display that something’s wrong.

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