Cats are often thought of as independent, mysterious creatures, but these regal felines cannot accomplish some tasks on their own—namely, veterinary care. Masters of many things, cats are exceptionally skilled at concealing sickness and injury, which makes routine veterinary exams all the more important for their continued health and happiness. Although many cats are not fans of leaving their home turf, an annual or biannual visit with their Belmont Animal Hospital veterinarian is essential. Here are 10 ways regular wellness care keeps your feline friend in tip-top shape.

#1: Evaluating your cat with a thorough physical exam

One of the most important components of your cat’s annual wellness visit is a thorough physical exam performed by one of our veterinarians, who will carefully check your cat’s heart, lungs, abdomen, skin, eyes, ears, and mouth for any abnormalities. By spotting subtle signs of illness, disease, or injury, we can guide you toward the appropriate diagnostic testing to discover the root of your cat’s hidden problems.

#2: Screening your cat for infectious diseases

Cats can transmit a variety of diseases to each other, but we typically screen for two major illnesses—feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). If you recently took in a stray cat, your cat goes outside at all, or you foster felines, we recommend screening them for infectious diseases.

#3: Administering lifestyle-appropriate vaccinations

Vaccinating your cat appropriately is essential for protection against preventable diseases, such as rabies. Other vaccinations we administer to cats, as needed, include feline leukemia, feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. These diseases can cause significant and potentially life-threatening illness, but vaccination can eliminate or mitigate your pet’s risk.

#4: Providing diet and nutrition advice

More than half America’s feline population is overweight or obese, making proper diet and nutrition vital for your cat’s health. By sticking to a recommended diet plan rather than free-feeding your tubby tabby, you can help reduce your cat’s risk for weight-related diseases, such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, urinary problems, skin infections, and some cancers. 

#5: Recommending environmental enrichment to ease behavior issues

Cat owners commonly complain about inappropriate elimination and scratching, yet these issues can often be remedied through environmental enrichment. Cats frequently urinate outside their litter box because of stress, boredom, or lack of resources, while scratching is a natural behavior. We can make the appropriate recommendations to fulfill your pet’s needs, such as climbing towers, scratching posts, lookout perches, prey-like toys, puzzle feeders, assorted litter boxes, and eliminating inter-cat aggression or subtle bullying. 

#6: Offering grooming tips

Cats are considered fastidious creatures, but they occasionally need assistance with grooming tasks. Based on your cat’s coat type, we will provide recommendations for keeping your pet’s fur, skin, and ears healthy. Some cats need their ears cleaned regularly, and some require frequent brushing to avoid mats, while others require sanitary trims to prevent fecal and urinary accumulation in their long hair. 

#7: Obtaining baseline results with routine blood work

An excellent way to monitor your cat’s health is by performing annual routine blood work. By obtaining baseline results of your pet’s normal values, we can chart patterns, and detect subtle changes as your cat ages. Closely monitoring your cat’s organ function and internal health allows our team to catch disease in the earliest stages, and successfully manage or treat the condition.

#8: Evaluating dental health and developing an at-home oral health care program

Cats suffer from a variety of dental issues, such as stomatitis and feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions, yet they rarely complain. A thorough oral exam during a wellness visit allows for detection of gingivitis, tartar accumulation, enamel loss, and abnormal lumps. Based on our findings, we may recommend a comprehensive dental cleaning, paired with full-mouth dental X-rays. We will also create an at-home oral health care program that will help keep your kitty’s teeth in mint condition.

#9: Prescribing parasite prevention

In addition to screening your cat for infectious diseases, we will perform a fecal exam to check for intestinal parasites. Your feline friend may never venture outdoors, or live up to their predatory ancestors, but they can still be infected with intestinal parasites. Some worms can be passed to people, so regular fecal exams and proper parasite prevention are a must, to keep your cat and your family healthy. 

#10: Monitoring your cat for potential age-related health conditions

Age-related health conditions may sneak up on your cat as they grow older. However, with routine veterinary care, we can monitor your pet’s health, and watch for diseases that are more likely to pop up during certain periods of your cat’s life. Plus, early detection means we can provide a better prognosis and easier treatment. 

Your cat is a beloved family member, and you want to ensure they are around to enjoy life’s precious moments for a long time to come. Keep your feline pal happy, healthy, and thriving by investing in routine wellness care. 

Is your cat due for an annual or biannual veterinary visit? Don’t delay—give us a call at Belmont Animal Hospital to schedule their routine wellness care, and keep your companion healthy and happy.