Veterinary Care for Your New Cat
A great introduction to cat care compliments of Animal Health SmartBrief, 12/17/2012, Dr.Lorie Huston and Dr.Scott Luckow
If you have questions after reading this article, please feel free to contact any of my staff at Broadway Animal Hospital of Riverdale. Enjoy Dr.L
If you’ve just adopted a new cat, you probably have questions about what kind of care your new friend needs. I’d like to focus specifically on the type of veterinary care that will be necessary.
Your first order of business should be getting your cat examined by your veterinarian. Cats need regular veterinary care. You should plan on making examinations part of your cat’s regular routine. Most veterinarians recommend examinations at least once to twice a year, depending on your cat’s age and physical condition. If your cat has medical issues, more frequent examinations may be necessary. We will help you determine what schedule works best for your cat. When you bring your new cat to the animal hospital for that initial physical examination, be sure to bring any medical records, too.
Vaccinations are essential for all cats. However, vaccination schedules should be tailored to your cat’s individual lifestyle. Part of the initial consultation will help you decide which vaccinations your cat should receive and how often. Outdoor cats require more than indoor cats. Remember if you plan on taking your cat outside for a walk to visit a family member or a friend , or if you let your furry friend wander around your apartment hallways, it is considered an outside cat. Any contact with a stray or friend’s cat will require extra attention.
A microchip may be necessary for your cat . It may be a lifesaver in the event your cat wanders away from your home and winds up in a shelter. If a stranger finds your cat , it may be the only way for both of you to be reunited.
You will also want to make sure your new feline friend is free of parasites and remains free of them. Kittens are usually checked for common intestinal parasites like roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms and coccidia. Bringing a fecal for analysis should always be part of your office visit for kittens and adult cats. Remember the parasites cats carry are zoonotic, which means people can get these parasites from their cats.
Parasites also include pests like fleas, ticks and heartworms. There are safe and effective products to help keep your cat free of these parasites. Many of these products need only be used once a month and are easy to apply or administer to your cat. We will discuss them with you in detail at your initial visit.
Knowing your cat’s feline leukemia and feline AIDS status is important. A simple blood test is all that is necessary to test your cat. Hopefully, your new cat will test negative. However, if either test is positive, we will make recommendations that can help keep your cat healthy. A positive test for either disease does not need to be a death sentence but does warrant that precautions are taken for your cat.
Besides a feline leukemia and feline AIDS blood test, in some instances we may recommend doing a blood screen that is more extensive but still routine. A blood screen allows us to test for subtle changes in your cat’s major organ systems that may not be detectable otherwise. Often, this is done for the first time around the time your cat is spayed or neutered. After that, we may recommend doing blood tests on a regular basis, perhaps once or twice a year depending on your individual cat.
Lastly, if your new cat has not already been spayed or neutered, you should consider having it done. Spaying a female cat reduces the risk of mammary cancer when done at a young age and eliminates the risk of a severe, potentially life-threatening uterine infection known as pyometra. Intact male cats often develop undesirable traits that make indoor life with them difficult. Also, allowing an intact male or female cat outdoors where they can breed is simply irresponsible pet ownership.
These are some of the most important aspects of veterinary care for your cat. However, each cat is different and care should be based on what is best for your particular cat. For instance, older cats may require more specialized testing, special diets, medications, or other types of care, and cats with weight issues may require a weight control program. As your veterinarian I will always be your primary source of information about what type of care your cat needs. Functioning as a team with me and my staff will ensure the very best care for your new furry friend.