International Cat Care has been raising the standard of feline healthcare for over 50 years. They provide vets with many useful guidelines, based on the research and experience of feline veterinary experts. One such set of guidelines is that which recommends the frequency and nature of preventative healthcare checks in cats as they get older.
It is recommended that all pet cats are examined by a vet once a year. This will include the vet taking a history from the owner about the cat’s habits and the vet checking their weight and body condition. Your cat will also receive any booster vaccinations due at the same time.
Once your cat reaches 7 it is recommended to start yearly screening of blood pressure and urine. This is to detect high blood pressure and kidney problems, as well as diabetes, before your cat is showing any signs. Early treatment can make a huge difference to your cat’s quality and quantity of life. Even if the results are normal, which they hopefully will be, the results allow the vets to detect any trends and to get a baseline for future comparison.
For cats aged 11 or over an annual blood test is recommended in addition to the blood pressure and urine tests. This allows further evaluation of kidney function and also allows other problems such as some liver problems or anaemia to be detected. The blood test should include thyroid hormone as an overactive thyroid gland is a common cause of illness in older cats, and can be successfully treated.
The vet may recommend checks and screening tests more often e.g. every 6 months, especially as your cat becomes ‘geriatric’ (over 15 years old).
Blood pressure checks – new benefit for Complete Care Club members
As part of our dedication to older cat care, we are now including an annual blood pressure check for all cats who are members of our Complete Care Club at no extra cost. This can be done at the same time as the 6 month nurse check for silver members, or at the time of the booster if you let us know when booking.
Blood pressure checking is a non-invasive procedure, and is usually tolerated very well by cats.
Our older pet screening clinic
We also offer older pet nurse clinics, which provide a cost effective way of health checking your mature cat.
The nurse clinic is a 45 minute appointment, to allow plenty of time to discuss your cat and let them relax/explore in the consulting room. The nurse can do the blood pressure check and any blood tests in the clinic. They can also test a urine sample, or advise you on how to get one that can then be dropped into us for analysis another day. Usually the first question we get is ‘how do you get a urine sample from a cat!?’. This is a valid question, but it is actually quite easy for most cats using a special type of cat litter – check out this video. Any results are passed to a vet for interpretation.
The nurse clinics are £31.50 to include blood pressure and checking a urine sample (dipstick to check for sugar, protein and blood; and concentration level, which is a way of checking kidney function), and £75 to include bloods (PCV to check for anaemia, basic biochemistry to check kidneys and liver, and thyroid hormone level).
Many owners are worried about causing their cat stress by bringing them to the vets. As a Cat Friendly Clinic, we are always striving to minimise stress in our feline patients. We are generally a quiet practice and have special waiting pods so if there is a wait then cats can avoid seeing dogs. We also take our time, have staff trained in gentle cat handling and make use of Feliway. For advice about the journey in to see us check out this useful guide. The nurse clinic can also be booked alongside your annual vet check to minimise visit frequency.