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Cats are healthy animals in general, aren't they? Now I just noticed "regular vet check-ups" mentioned twice (only twice - I searched) here in Pets. (link, link)

So far I've taken our cats to a vet only for their vaccination(s) and de-sexing ops, or if there is a health issue at hand. This means a visit to a vet once every two or three years, depending on the vaccination renewal period. That does not sound like what is meant with "regular check-ups", which sounds like twice a year at least, if you ask me.

Why should I take a cat to a vet for a check-up, if I don't notice anything amiss with the cat?

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3 Answers 3

The big things that are checked in regular checkups for cats are checking for parasites, checking the teeth, listening to the heart, your cat's eyes, and checking for bumps. Cats aren't necessarily healthier animals than others, even humans, and unfortunately, this myth is a very common one. The same reason YOU should go in for regular checkups with your doctor are the same reasons your cat should go into the veterinarian for regular check ups. Check ups allow issues with your cat to be potentially caught in earlier stages, where the symptoms may not be as obvious for a pet owner as for a veterinarian. With any disease or health issue, the sooner you can catch it, the easier, less expensive, and more able to treat it typically is. In addition, I would honestly be surprised if all of your cat's vaccinations lasted more than a year. And yes, you're correct, regular check ups should be done about twice a year.

A few links to look over regarding regular check ups for cats:

http://www.purina.co.uk/content/your-cat/your-new-cat/responsible-cat-ownership/the-importance-of-regular-vet-check-ups-for-cats

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2010/03/10/how-often-should-your-cat-visit-the-vet.aspx

http://www.catdoctor.com/dr.-mcfarland-s-information-center/why-indoor-cats-need-annual-checkups.html

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My cat's vaccinations have to be renewed every year, and this is also a requirement of all catteries in the UK so if you want to take your cat to one when you go away you have no choice. But the vet also does a thorough checkup when I take him for his shots and has spotted a few things that might've been serious (and very expensive) had they been allowed to develop. We end up going twice a year anyway though as he always ends up in a scrape or something between vaccination appointments and needs some attention. –  Matthew Walton Apr 11 at 10:58
    
That's good to hear! Unfortunately, a surprisingly large number of people seem to think similar to LLL, where their pet's health is fine unless they have obvious and noticeable issues, or that their pet isn't worth spending 50 dollars a year on for a checkup. –  Waterseas Apr 11 at 15:45

It may be a regional thing. Also, the answers and comments you linked to don't specifically mention a time period, so what is meant by "regular" is somewhat open to interpretation.

In my area, it's typical to take your cat for a "regular" check-up annually. At this appointment, vaccines will be renewed as appropriate. The cat will be weighed to ensure that an undue amount of weight has not been gained or lost (which could be an indication of an underlying health problem). Temperature and heartbeat will also be checked. The vet usually also looks inside the ears and mouth to make sure nothing seems amiss there. Again, what is typical at these appointments may vary by region (or even from one vet to the next).

Certainly, I would advise taking your cat to the vet if you think something is wrong. But sometimes a vet may catch something at a routine check-up that you might not otherwise have noticed. (It wasn't until the vet looked inside my cat's ears that we noticed that her skin had changed hue and she was actually jaundiced!) While it's true that many health issues will manifest in ways that are obvious to the owner or casual observer eventually, it's often beneficial if these things can be caught earlier rather than later.

Also, regular check-ups mean that the vet has a useful baseline for your cat should an issue arise. This means that they know not just what's typical for cats in general, but what's typical for this specific cat which can be very helpful.

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The only time I would take a cat to the vet are the following: Initial Shots, Neutering, and Serious injury/illness.

And that's it. Otherwise you're wasting your time or in my opinion, wasting money you could donate to help feed human children.

I'm a dog owner. I took my dog to get his shots... done. He was already neutered. Next time he goes to the vet he will have to be bleeding and even though I love my dog there is a price limit.

And to answer your question, the vet is running a business; they will work on your pet even if there is little chance.

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So no going to the vet unless it's an emergency? Isn't that the same as saying don't see a doctor unless you're going to the emergency room? That's a policy that's quickly regretted when a tumor shows up, I think. The point of checkups is to catch things early. –  Matt S. Apr 11 at 1:40
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@MattS. - there is one circumstance where I'd be willing to pass on regular checkups (and have done so): when the cat is so traumatized by being at the vets that they have to sedate the cat to perform an examination (this cat was an adopted stray who was mostly feral and did not take well to humans she didn't know). In that specific circumstance it was better to keep a close eye on the cat and only take her to the vet when there was something wrong. –  Kate Paulk Apr 11 at 11:25
    
I feel bad for your dog if this is the case. Checkups don't cost much money at all, and, as mentioned in my comment, catching issues early typically saves a lot of money in the long run than if it's caught late. In addition, from the sounds of it, your dog isn't getting his yearly vaccines, which is a huge issue. –  Waterseas Apr 11 at 15:43
    
Like I said, it is an animal. I donate a lot of money to charity every year since I spend an equal amount on entertainment as I do charity and do spend on vanity items like checking the white blood cell count of a cat. I live by these rules, and if others didn't waste money on pets and such the world would be a better place. My dog is happy, gets complements about its muscles, healthy coat, and most importantly its manners. –  LLL Apr 11 at 16:39
    
Btw, my dog is a stray street dog with the build of a well ran grey hound and I don't need to defend how I treat my property to others. You're welcomed to waste money and look like a fool buying your dog expensive medical treatments. –  LLL Apr 11 at 16:51

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