As a rule of thumb you should schedule in a yearly visit to the vet for a check-up. Ask the local cat rescue or owners of other cats for a recommended vet if you don’t have one, and try to stay with that vet. Having a vet with a lifelong health history of your cat is very useful.
At a yearly check-up, expect your vet to check things like vaccination records, weight, eyes, teeth, circulatory, skeletal and muscular systems. Your vet will ask for any changes in behaviour, eating patterns, activity levels, if your cat is more concerned with a certain part of their body, suddenly is irritable if touched or picked up etc.
Don’t forget your cat can’t talk and you need to be their voice.
Outside of this regular schedule, you should take your cat to the vet if the exhibit symptoms of illness for more than 24 hrs. General malaise, coughing and sneezing, vomiting and or diarrhoea etc., Of course if your cats condition is clearly worsening quickly, then you should rush off to the vet, day or not. Poisoning or snake bites need to be addressed urgently. Cats are far less likely to get bitten by a snake than a dog as they are so much faster and more cautious hunters… but it still happens.
Vet Fees & Insurance
Almost all common medications are subsidised by the government, and most medical treatment is at least in part but often in full covered by Medicare or private health insurance. It can come as a shock to realise when seeing a Vet… its full price. In some case, animal medications contain the same active ingredients as human medications (eg antibiotics) yet they cost more even before subsidisation.
Blood test, x-rays, nurses care etc. are all expensive services to provide.
You might get lucky and get a cat that never gets sick, poisoned or injured but you might end up with a multi thousand dollar bill as well. Consider getting Pet insurance if you are worried about the shock of such bills, but bear in mind vet insurance will only cover serious illness of misadventure, not general check-up bills, vaccinations, neutering etc.
They happen, and not always at the most opportune of times. Have the emergency number of your vet close at hand and don’t be too concerned about waking them in the middle of the night. If it needs to happen, then do it.
Some vets especially those that specialise in larger animals do house calls, but they are expensive so best you have a cat transport container at the ready at all times so if need be you can quickly, safely and with a minimum of stress transport your cat to the vet’s surgery.
The cat below had its hind legs mangled in a farming accident… their loving family spent over $50,000 rebuilding him!