a cat owner and cat prepare for their annual cat wellness exam

Cat owners know just how playful, affectionate, and mischievous our feline friends can be! And, just like dogs, birds, and pocket pets, they need regular veterinary care to keep them in peak health. An annual cat wellness exam establishes a baseline for your cat’s health and helps us to detect changes in their well-being so we can work proactively to keep them happy and healthy. 

What is a cat wellness exam?

A wellness exam is an annual medical examination for healthy cats. This routine visit plays an important role in keeping your cat happy and healthy. During a cat wellness exam, the veterinarian will do a nose-to-tail physical exam and recommend preventative medical treatments to keep your cat happy and healthy. These treatments might include routine lab work, parasite prevention, weight management, and dental care. 

An annual cat wellness exam is also an excellent opportunity for you to discuss your cat’s behavior and care with our veterinary team! From play and enrichment to litter box habits and safe grooming, our team of cat lovers can work with you to create an even deeper bond with your furry friend. 

How to get ready for your cat wellness exam

Unlike dogs, most cats rarely leave the house or go on outings. Here are a few tips to keep your cat’s annual vet exam low-stress (for both you and kitty!). 

#1: Get them used to the travel carrier

Have you ever brought out your cat’s travel carrier the day of their exam only to discover they’re nowhere to be found? Cats are smart and they’re very good at forming associations! If they know that carrier means stressful car ride, they’re likely to avoid it at all costs. 

To help your cat get used to their carrier, we recommend bringing it out into a public space a few days ahead of their wellness exam. You can create a positive association with the carrier by offering your cat’s favorite treats or even feeding meals in the carrier. This desensitization process makes it less likely that your cat will run and hide on exam day. 

#2: Consider getting Feliway wipes or pheromone sprays

Feliway is a product that can help comfort your cat and reduce signs of stress. It works by mimicking the scent of a type of cat pheromone. This pheromone works on cats’ brains to calm them down and help relieve stress and anxiety. 

One effective way to use Feliway is to spray or wipe down the inside of your cat’s carrier the morning of their appointment. You can also spray Feliway on a towel and use that to cover your cat’s carrier. Remember, never spray Feliway onto your cat directly! Instead, spray it onto the carrier or towel at least 15 minutes before it’s time to load your cat. 

#3: Write down questions you have for the veterinarian

You have plenty to keep track of on the day of your cat’s wellness exam. In the moment, trying to remember questions can be difficult. That’s why we recommend writing things down ahead of time! You can even keep a notebook specifically for your cat and jot down questions that come up throughout the year between exams!

Your veterinary team will also ask you important questions about your cat’s diet, medications, behavior, and lifestyle. Having those answers handy can simplify the check-in process and keep your cat’s visit low-stress. 

#4: Collect a fecal sample

Parasite prevention is an important part of your cat’s wellness plan, even for indoor-only kitties. At Pine Point Animal Hospital, we recommend annual fecal testing and routine lab work to make sure your pet is parasite free. Try to retrieve a fecal sample from the litter box within 24 hours of your pet’s appointment and store it in the refrigerator until exam time! 

#5: Ask your veterinarian about anxiety relieving medications

Low-stress veterinary visits are better for both you and your cat! They can also allow your veterinary team to make more accurate health assessments and provide better medical care. That’s because stressed cats may show elevated blood pressure, heart rates, and tension in-clinic that they’re not experiencing when they’re comfortable at home. 

For anxious kitties, stress-relieving medications significantly reduce anxiety associated with their annual cat wellness exam. If you know your cat struggles with vet visits, get in touch before your appointment to discuss options. Your veterinary care team can assess whether or not your cat is a good candidate for pre-exam medications.  

We’re accepting new patients! 

With a little preparation and planning, your annual cat wellness exam can be stress-free and easy. Still have questions? Get in touch with the team at Pine Point Animal Hospital to schedule your appointment and discuss your options.

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