Five Reasons You Should Take Your Indoor Cat to the Vet

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Those of us with indoor cats sometimes make the very common mistake of assuming that we need not take our animals to the vet all that often since they’re not exposed to anything. This is just not true. Just because your cat is an indoor cat does not mean that he does not need the kind of care and attention that an outdoor cat requires, and we would do well to remember this. According to veterinary specialists, the average lifespan of a cat that lives in the house is about 14 years, whereas it’s only 4 years for a cat that lives outside. However, many cats live much longer than this when their owners are vigilant about taking them to the vet, caring for their health and making the cat a priority. Those who do not bother with regular visits to the vet are not necessarily going to lose their cats to a shorter lifespan, but many health issues go undetected when a cat is not seen by a professional on a regular basis.

For that reason, taking your cat to his or her regularly scheduled veterinary appointments is mandatory. I realize, as a cat owner myself, that life sometimes gets in the way and appointments have to be moved, rescheduled or cancelled at the last minute. But that does not mean you can simply skip the vet. Go; your cat needs it. There are many reasons to take your cat to the vet even though he or she is an indoor cat, and we have just a few of the most common cats here.

Cats require vaccinations

Even though your cat might live in the great indoors, he or she still needs a number of vaccinations. For one, your cat will need a rabies vaccination. Many people assume that indoor animals do not require this, but you never know what could happen. Perhaps your cat lives indoors but is allowed on an enclosed patio. If someone leaves that door open just once and your cat goes outside and is attacked by another animal, you don’t want him or her to contract rabies. Anything can happen, and it’s your responsibility to ensure that your cat has the proper vaccinations so that he or she is safe and healthy.

Your cat is exhibiting behavioral issues

Sometimes we like to excuse poor behavior and behavioral issues as a phase. “Oh, it’s just a phase,” or “Oh, he’s just upset because of the new baby/furniture/house/our recent vacation and he’s taking it out on us.” We make excuses for poor behavior, especially when it comes to our cats. After all, they can’t tell us that there is something wrong with them, so how are we to know that there is something wrong with them? We, as pet owners, have to be very careful to ensure that our cats are as healthy as possible, and behavioral changes are a major indicator that they are not.

Your cat is not breathing correctly

It’s not common for cats to breathe abnormally, but it can happen. When this happens, it’s a good idea to get your cat to the vet as soon as possible. I’ll tell you what it can mean; anything – and it’s never good. When our cat was attacked by the dog we adopted for all of two hours two days before Christmas last year, he did not have any physical damage to his body. However, he was breathing with his mouth wide open and his saliva falling out at a rapid pace. It was scary, and I did not love it. But that doesn’t change the fact that it happened. I was worried, so off to the vet we went. His kidneys were failing and his lungs were collapsed. He was in shock and that is why he was having such a difficult time breathing. I can assure you that your cat is probably not ‘out of breath’ from a recent activity; he’s likely in need of medical attention.

Your cat seems to have lost or gained weight very quickly

Cats that gain weight slowly as they eat too much are common, though unhealthy. But if your cat is gaining or losing weight without any change in diet and at a very rapid pace, it’s not a good sign. It could indicate that your cat is suffering from diabetes or a number of other health issues, and you need to get that checked out right away. The worst thing you can do is ignore something this serious, which means that a trip to the vet needs to happen right away. Rest assured, however, that just because you notice something off about your cat’s weight does not mean that whatever the issue is, is terrible. It could be something very minor and easily treated. But you never know, which is why it’s so important to just go.

Your cat is unable to use the bathroom

Sometimes a cat gets to a point where he or she is unable to use the bathroom out of nowhere. I remember when my childhood cat was getting pretty old, he was suddenly miserable and could not use the bathroom. We noticed that he never used it once all day long, and decided to take him to the vet. When we arrived at the vet, she came out to tell us a while later that the cat’s internal organs were failing and that she was dying. She asked if we’d like some time with the cat before she was gone. She was suffering pretty badly, so the vet asked if we’d like her to put the cat to sleep to end her suffering. It seemed like the right thing to do, but it was not easy.

The vet later told us that one of the biggest signs a cat is very sick is the inability to go to the bathroom. While there was little they could have done for mine, which was just dying because of old age and organ failure, many cats have a slight infection that – if treated immediately – is just fine. Wait too long, however, and the little infection turns into a big one and the situation is that much worse.

Photo by Getty Images

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