Ask the Vet, with Dr. Nicole Breda of the Catmobile

Q. Why does my indoor-only cat need to see the vet every year? Isn’t that only necessary if your cat goes outside?
 
A. The truth is, all cats should have an annual “wellness” exam, and senior cats should be examined every six months to safeguard their health.
 
The most obvious reason to visit your veterinarian on a yearly basis is to ensure your cat’s vaccines are up to date. Rabies, distemper, and FELV vaccines are all vaccines you can discuss with your veterinarian—but it is the law to have a valid rabies vaccine for your cat. Even indoor-only cats can come in contact with rabid animals, like bats, that can enter your house. Vaccines also protect your cat if he/she escapes the house and comes in contact with a rabid animal, not to mention preventing complicated rabies quarantine protocols if your cat comes home with a wound after an adventure outside.
 
A yearly visit to your veterinarian not only ensures that your kitty is vaccinated against deadly diseases, but also that they are not developing any underlying diseases. An indoor cat is still susceptible to diseases like diabetes, renal failure, hyperthyroidism, heart disease, and painful dental disease, to name just a few. These diseases are all manageable if caught early in the process. Therefore, having a veterinarian examine your cat once yearly—and your senior (8+) cat examined every six months—may catch issues before they become serious or even life threatening.
 
Remember, cats live much shorter life spans than humans—so a lot of things can change with their health in just one year!
 
Have a question you’d like to ask our vet? Email your suggestions to info@mrfrs.org and you just might see it in our next issue of Cat Currents!