Maintaining your Cat's Health
When cats are sick or in pain, they’re notorious for masking their illness and hiding their symptoms, and it’s not because they’re just too proud or independent to show it. One theory is that this behavior has deep biological roots - in the wild cats would be ‘prey’ animals, and showing any sign of weakness would make them more vulnerable. That’s why even an injured cat will likely keep moving as if nothing was wrong.
Knowing this, it’s up to us to keep a watchful eye on our beloved feline friends. Particularly because animals mature faster than we do - biologically they evolved that way, making them better able to survive disease and predators in the wild. Cats are considered senior after about 12 years, so we always have to remind ourselves that with “accelerated” health, they may develop disease earlier so we need to check for red flags.
A wellness examination is a routine medical examination of a cat that is apparently healthy as opposed to an examination performed when a cat is ill. A wellness examination is often called a “check-up” or a “physical examination” and the focus of this exam is the maintenance of your cat’s health. These exams allow your veterinarian to detect and treat health issues earlier which usually means less expense to you and often a better outcome for your cat.
Cats are masters at hiding disease so even if your cat seems healthy, all cats—both indoor and outdoor—should go to the vet at least once each year for this thorough check-up.
Most adult cats should have at least one wellness examination every year. If you have a kitten, wellness examinations may be scheduled every three to four weeks to ensure your new pet gets appropriate care and vaccinations. Middle-aged and geriatric cats benefit from wellness examination twice yearly in order to detect abnormalities early—when treatment will be less expensive and most effective.
During a routine wellness examination, your veterinarian will ask you specific questions about your cat’s diet, exercise, behavior, elimination patterns and general health. Your veterinarian will also perform a thorough physical examination and make any recommendations for preventive treatments such as vaccination, parasite control, nutrition and dental care. Depending on the age of your cat, your veterinarian is likely to recommend wellness screening blood and fecal tests and possibly radiographs (xrays). These screening tests are intended to detect any problems with your cat’s health before they show outward signs of disease.
More on Health & Wellness
- How to Care for Your Senior Cat
- Check Your Cat's Vital Signs at Home
- Why Does My Cat … Mask That He's in Pain?
- Pet Care Should Focus More on Wellness, Less on Shots
- How to Give Your Cat a Pill
- How To Tell If Your Cat is Ill
- Cat Exercise: Keeping Your Kitty in Good Shape
- Summer Hazards and Your Cat
- Feline Arthritis — A Condition That's More Common Than You Think