What is considered preventative care for my cat?

Preventative care for your cat is about being preemptive about general health for your pet, and that ranges from their diet to enrichment and toys, bedding, and housing, and that spans here into the vet clinic for vaccines, and getting general checkups on your pet to make sure that everything looks okay. So dental care and even stuff like flea, tick preventatives, intestinal parasite deworming, all of that good stuff.

Dr. Cara Hill
Advanced Animal Care - Berea

How can preventative care extend the life and improve the health of my cat?

The most proactive owners and the owners that seem to be the biggest on making sure that their cat is well cared for in their veterinary health and their home life have pets that tend to live the longest. And so you want to ensure you're on top of everything—the cat’s vaccines, their preventions, their diets, what we're providing for them at home in terms of enrichment. All of this makes a general impact on their overall health and lifespan.

What types of preventative care do you recommend?

So when they're little, like Dwight here, this is our newest little clinic cat here. He's a little kitten. We like to see guys this age about every three weeks, starting at about six weeks old. We do general checks on them. We test them for things like the feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus to ensure they don't have those. And we get them started on their vaccine series that we do about every three weeks until they are about four months of age.

And what we're trying to do is establish a healthy immune system with those vaccines so that they live long, healthy lives. And we usually get them started on some preventions. I've got one here that we love for our younger cats and kittens. It's called Revolution Plus. It kind of does all of the things—prevents the fleas, the ticks, the intestinal parasites, the ear mites, all of that good stuff.

When they get a little bit bigger, then they're old enough for Bravecto. They have to be six months old for Bravecto, just because of weight, because these guys like to grow like little weeds when they're this size. But once they kind of get through that four-month stage, we don't see them back until about six to eight months for their spay and neuter.

And the reason why we like to recommend that, especially for cats, is if your cat's going outside, it helps with population control. We've all seen our fair share of outdoor kitties here in the central Kentucky area. And it helps with population control on that front. But then it also helps prevent cancer development in those reproductive organs later on in life, whether it be mammary cancer, ovarian cancer, or testicular cancer. If we could go ahead and spay or neuter these guys at a younger age, we significantly reduce the chances of developing those cancers later on in life.

And then from there, I like to see them every year back and do an annual wellness checkup, get their vaccines up to date, make sure that everything looks good, that their bellies feel good, that their teeth and gums look healthy. And usually starting around age three, we generally begin running some general lab or blood work to ensure that everything internally looks okay. Because as we know, as any pet ages, they can develop some things like kidney disease or liver disease, or maybe some things are going on with their thyroid, and we want to make sure that we're keeping them happy and healthy for as long as possible.

What are some other possible conditions that can be avoided with cat preventative care?

We see some of the things that we can vaccinate for, like feline leukemia, that can be developed if the cat's not vaccinated before being exposed to that. And that can have a negative impact on life. Sometimes cats with feline leukemia get sick, and they don't always make it. If they go outside, we need to keep them up on their intestinal parasite deworming because we can see if they have worms in there, then they're giving up some of those nutrients, and it can cause some severe GI symptoms, weight loss, or things like that.

Why is it important to avoid self-diagnosing my cat?

Cats are unique little creatures. They're also incredibly stoic. As veterinarians, we kind of learn this art of reading cats and interpreting what they're telling us. Cats aren't just little dogs. There's a whole slew of things that are significant and special to cats. Many things can be misdiagnosed or may be misleading. And I think there are some things that we think, oh, well, my dog did this, and we did this for my dog, so that would be okay for my cat. And many times, it doesn't work like that.

What are the risks of failing to provide preventative care for my cat?

So it's just the possibility of disease contraction—picking up parasites, both internal and external. And then, we can run the risk of maybe a cat developing diabetes later in life, and it goes undiagnosed, and that can be detrimental to any pet.

Preventative care and preventative healthcare can make a difference in ensuring a long life for cats.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 985-5678, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Cat Preventive Care - FAQs

Dr. Cara Hill
Advanced Animal Care - Berea

What does cat preventative care mean?

It means that everything that you're dealing with provides your cat with a long, healthy life, and that ranges from the food that you feed your cat to housing and enrichment. Preventative care also means bringing the cat to the vet every year when they're older or this size, every couple of weeks to get their kitten boosters series. It also covers those annual checkups and following the recommendations of your veterinarian, and keeping them up to date on preventatives against fleas and ticks, ear mites, and intestinal parasites. There's a whole lot that goes into cat preventive care.

What will my veterinarian do during a cat preventative care appointment?

A lot of times we like to start with exams. On Mr. Dwight here, I want to look at their eyes. I look to look at their ears. I like to open up and look in their mouths, make sure that their teeth look healthy and their gums look healthy, and we do not see any concerns. And then we work our way through the body from the tip of their nose, all the way to the tip of their tail, and just look at every single little body part—their legs, belly, all of that good stuff. And then, as cats get older, we'll recommend some wellness blood work just to make sure that we do not see things like kidney disease or liver disease, or perhaps something like an overactive thyroid or diabetes. We want to rule out those kinds of common older cat diseases.

What can I do at home for cat preventative care?

The biggest thing you can do at home is to make sure that your cat has a good diet. Your veterinarian will be the best one to give you advice on that for your cat, but good nutrition is essential, as well as good enrichment, so making sure that they have areas to play with and toys to play with. You probably want to have a cat tree or a place where they can kind of perch or look outside and watch birds out through the window. And that they've got a good cozy place to sleep and that they have plenty of litter boxes with a type of litter that they like to use where they can feel comfortable to go to the bathroom. And then the other thing that we can do at home is keeping them up on things like flea and tick prevention. And a lot of those also prevent ear mites, and we want to do some intestinal parasite prevention.

As some cats get older, I like to be proactive about their dental health. And so we carry these little dental treats here that work great for cats to work on that dental tartar and help with their fresh breath. And those are some things that you guys can do at home to help cats out.

Would you say cat preventative care is optional?

No, I would say it's not optional. It's something that we need to do for every pet that we have, whether it be a dog or a cat, or maybe you have some pocket pets or a ferret. But the wonderful thing for these guys is that I know cost is a big thing with many owners. Sometimes finances are a little tight, but everybody loves having a snuggly little kitten like this. And we love those who carry pet insurance, or we work with this pet insurance provider called Pumpkin. And the thing that I love about Pumpkin is that they have preventative care packages. So they have insurance programs that help with those annual wellness visits and that wellness blood work. And they have a lot of options that can help owners out with all of this preventative care management when it comes to the vet.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 985-5678, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.