Cat Health Must-Knows

Why Does My Cat Need a Yearly Checkup?

Having cats of all ages seen for yearly exams is important. Even if they appear to be happy and healthy, it is still recommended as the veterinarian may be able to pick up on small behaviour changes and possibly know why they are happening. It would also be a good time to double check the vaccine history and keep the vaccines up to date yearly to help prevent contracting any diseases from neighbourhood cats, or new cats in the household. Routine deworming is also recommended to be done, and a yearly exam is necessary for the medication to be prescribed for the year. If the cat is a hunter and is eating mice or other rodents, they should have deworming done once every month or so, as this would be a very common way to contract worms. Indoor cats should also have periodic deworming done, the risk is not as great as the outdoor hunting cat, but it is still possible for them to get worms. If they get a mouse in the house or eat house flies, they can contract worms. Fleas are also a carrier of worms, and if the cat eats the flea, they can receive worms from them. Fleas are able to be carried into the house on your clothes, shoes, or other pets in the household and so it is still possible for the indoor cats to get fleas too.

Does My Indoor Cat Need Vaccines?

Ultimately, it is the decision of the owner, but yes vaccines should be done. By law, it is required that all domesticated cats, dogs and ferrets have their rabies vaccines up to date, regardless of if they are indoor-only or going outside. There are several other vaccines, however, that would be recommended for outdoor cats, that indoor cats wouldn’t necessarily need. So even though the indoor cat should be vaccinated, they don’t require as many vaccines, as long as they are not coming in contact with other cats on the property they could be fighting with. Something to keep in mind is that the cat should be considered partial outdoor if they go out on the deck, front lawn, or on a leash, as they can still come in contact with other cats this way, even though they aren’t leaving the vicinity of the house. There is also the risk of contracting diseases through open screen windows. An animal on the other side of the window can pass diseases on by simply hissing at your cat through the screen.

Does My Cat Need to Be Dewormed?

Parasites are a common issue seen in cats. Common parasites seen on our pets would be fleas, mites, ticks and worms. We recommend that outdoor cats be on a monthly flea and tick preventative, and have a deworming medication once every month as well. Indoor cats can get by with a few deworming treatments per year, as well as flea-only medication. Worms can easily be contracted from hunting mice or other rodents, eating earthworms or fleas, and usually have the worms passed to them at birth from their mothers. Some worms can be passed on to humans, and so deworming your cats protects not only them but also you and your family! Tick preventative is also recommended even though Lyme disease isn’t a problem in cats. The reason it is still recommended is that without the preventative on, the tick wouldn’t die on the cat and they can be carried into your house and have the potential of latching onto someone in the household who is susceptible to getting Lyme disease, such as humans and dogs. By provincial veterinary standards, all pets needing parasite treatment must be examined a minimum of once per year to obtain prescription parasite treatments.

Written by Mayfield Veterinary Clinic