Because cats age more quickly than humans, it is absolutely essential that your cat receive regular physical examinations. The exact schedule depends on your cat’s age and state of health, but is generally once per year for healthy adult cats, and more frequently for kittens, older cats, and those with chronic illnesses. Your vet will recommend a schedule based on your individual cat’s needs.
What Is Involved in a Cat Physical Examination?
The goal for any physical is to fully assess your cat’s current state of health in order to discover and treat any problems. You will also get recommendations for lifestyle changes, preventive medications, and nutritional factors that could improve your cat’s health.
Specifically, the vet will examine:
- Overall Condition: Is your cat of normal weight? Is she alert and reacting normally to the situation? Does her overall appearance look healthy?
- Skin and Coat: Is the cat’s fur shiny and thick? Is there evidence of hair loss? Is the coat too dry or oily? Are there any sores or skin irritations?
- Eyes and Ears: Are the eyes clear, with no signs of clouding? Is there redness or discharge? Can the cat see and hear normally? Are there any symptoms of infection?
- Nose and Face: Is the nose clear, with no signs of discharge or trouble breathing? Is the facial skin even and healthy, with no lumps or bumps?
- Mouth and Teeth: Are the teeth healthy, with no signs of trauma or decay? Is there excessive drooling? Are there any sores in the mouth?
- Heart and Lungs: Is the pulse rate normal? Is the cat breathing freely with no signs of lung congestion? Are there any symptoms of arrhythmias, murmurs, or other heart abnormalities? Is breathing labored?
- Lymph Nodes: Are the lymph nodes of normal size? Is there any swelling that could indicate infection?
- Throat: Is the throat clear and healthy, with no redness or swelling?
- Abdomen: Do the internal organs feel normal when the abdomen is palpitated? Does the cat show any signs of pain when parts of the abdomen are gently pressed?
- Legs: Does the cat walk normally? Is she favoring one leg? Are the paws and toenails healthy?
Medical Tests and Vaccines
In addition to the manual exam, your vet may also recommend certain medical tests. A complete blood count (CBC), thyroid check, urinalysis, and complete biochemistry profile are among the most common for healthy adult cats. X-rays and other tests might also be indicated, depending on the cat’s age and the results of the physical exam.
If your cat is due for vaccines, these will also be performed as part of the visit. Your vet will obtain your permission before administering any vaccines.
Why Choose The Cat Hospital?
Established in 1994, The Cat Hospital focuses solely on the health and well-being of cats. Our veterinarian, Dr. Maureen Ricksgers, graduated from the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1986. Since 1988, she has worked exclusively with cats.
Our entire team consists of cat lovers who work hard to create a calm, quiet, feline-friendly hospital setting. We understand that even routine wellness visits can be extremely hard on both cats and their human families, but with our extensive knowledge of feline behavior and the latest in cat handling techniques, we believe that we can bring the stress levels down to a minimum.
In our experience, pet owners whose cats experience a health crisis can often look back and realize that worrisome symptoms were present before the situation became an emergency. If you notice any unusual symptoms, we encourage you to bring your cat in for a diagnosis and treatment right away. Untreated health problems can quickly escalate.
If you are in our local area and your cat has an after-hours emergency, we encourage you to seek walk-in care at one of the following locations. Both are staffed 24 hours per day, 7 days per week:
- Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital in Deerfield, MA. 413-665-4911
- Boston Road Animal Hospital in Springfield, MA. 413-783-1203
Like humans, cats can develop medical conditions at any time. Regular wellness exams are the best way to keep your cat healthy and quickly treat any emerging issues before they become serious. Your vet will develop an exam schedule based on your cat’s individual needs. Should your cat show signs of illness between visits, err on the side of caution and bring her in right away. Health problems are best treated as soon as they arise.