I cannot count the number of times pet owners have told me, “My cat is indoors only – she doesn’t need to go to the vet.” While your indoor cat is certainly safer from infectious diseases than outdoor cats, it does not mean than she doesn't need to be seen regularly by her veterinarian.
The first reason to keep up with annual vet visits is to keep your feline friend up-to-date on her vaccines. Vaccines are meant to protect our pets from viral and bacterial diseases. Although your cat may not be as easily exposed to these while lounging around the house, if she happens to escape to the outdoors, she’ll be at risk if she’s not vaccinated. Some diseases, like rabies, are fatal to both pets and humans, so there’s even more reason to protect her. In most areas, rabies vaccines are mandated by law.
But because many core vaccines are now given every three years instead of yearly, you may be tempted to skip yearly exams. Don’t be! Regular veterinary exams help detect brewing problems, which cats are particularly adept at hiding. Just because your cat is indoors doesn't mean that she is exempt from common kitty health conditions, including:
1. Obesity: Nearly half of all cats are overweight, yet many owners don’t even realize that their cat has a weight problem. Being chunky can actually put your cat at risk for many the other illnesses, including diabetes, so your veterinarian will guide if your cat needs to shed a few pounds.
2. Dental disease: Cats are prone to a special kind of dental problem called feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions. These painful lesions occur at the gum line of about 50% of cats. Your veterinarian will perform an oral exam and assess your cat’s dental health
3. Chronic kidney failure: Older cats are often affected by kidneys that can’t keep up. Regular blood work in older cats can catch this condition early and cat insurance from Petplan can help manage the costs of caring for your kitty's kidney problems.
4. Hyperthyroidism: Overactive thyroids are often to blame in older cats who are losing weight despite a ravenous appetite. This condition is easily detected through routine blood work.
5. Diabetes: Sometimes, the only sign that a cat has developed diabetes mellitus is excessive water drinking and urination. Routine blood work can detect elevated blood sugar levels, which indicate diabetes is present.
Just because your feline friend spends her days indoors doesn’t mean that she can skip her annual doctor’s exam. And if she’s over seven years old, she’s considered a senior, and should be seen twice a year to stay ahead of any health concerns.