Indoor cats live longer than their outdoor cousins, but that doesn’t mean they can skip their annual wellness visit to the vet. Indoor cats are just as prone to developing illness as outdoor cats, and catching diseases early in their progression makes treatment a little easier on you, your cat and your wallet.
pins and needles
Many parents of indoor-only feline friends ask, “Why should I vaccinate my pet for a disease that she’ll never be exposed to?” It’s true that vaccinations help protect cats from many bacterial and viral conditions they’ll only catch from other cats, but if your unprotected cat slips outdoors, she’s got no help fighting communicable illness. Perhaps the most important vaccine for indoor cats is the rabies vaccine. There are several documented cases of infected animals making their way into residences and, for an indoor cat, a bat can make a compelling squeaky toy. Most feline rabies vaccines are annual, so it’s an excellent reason to remember your cat’s yearly appointment.
The most important part of your pet’s visit is actually the physical exam. Here, your vet checks your cat’s body (as thoroughly as possible, given your cat’s temperament!) to look for signs of dental disease, joint disease and other abnormalities that may be causing pain or discomfort.
Indoor cats tend to be a little less active than their outdoor counterparts, so it stands to reason that obesity is more common in them too. Obesity in cats often leads to diabetes and it exacerbates joint pain in older cats. A yearly weight check is key to staying on top of your cat’s overall health.
As cats get older, be they indoor or outdoor, they can start to show signs of some typical diseases associated with age. A simple blood test can check for chronic kidney disease, overactive thyroid and diabetes, which commonly affect older cats. Establishing a baseline and keeping an eye on these markers can allow treatment to start early in the game.
To fleas, ticks and heartworms, even your indoor cat is fair game. Fleas and ticks can hitch a ride on housemates who do venture outdoors, and even one stray mosquito in your house is capable of transmitting potentially lethal heartworms to your cat. Luckily prevention is easy, and it’s just one of the many things your vet will talk to you about at your indoor cat’s annual wellness visit!