Why cats DON’T visit the veterinarian

Cats and kittens are loving pets and are considered to be part of the family. So why is it that they are less likely to come to the vet for their annual examination and vaccines when we compare them to dogs? It’s certainly not because they aren’t loved! Here are some of the most common myths surrounding why cats don’t visit the vet.


“My cat was vaccinated as a kitten, so doesn’t need any more vaccines.”

  • Kitten vaccines are a great way to initially protect them from life-threatening illness; however, without additional vaccines throughout life, your cat’s immune system may not be strong enough. As cats get older, their immune system often cannot handle fighting infectious diseases alone.
  • Appropriate vaccinations for your cat are tailored based on his/her lifestyle and prevalence of illness. In general, it is recommended to have one examination at the veterinarian yearly and vaccines can be recommended based on risk level.


“My cat never looks sick.”

  • Cats take cues from their wild ancestors – they are masters at disguising illness and pain to protect themselves.  This makes it difficult to recognize early disease or pain in your cat.
  • Common symptoms to look for: limping, excessive sleeping, drinking more water and urinating more than usual, decrease in appetite, hiding, vomiting and diarrhea, excessive vocalization, and changes in behaviour.

“Veterinary visits and vaccines are expensive.”

  • Preventative healthcare improves the quality of life for our feline friends and extends their life.
  • You will save on expensive veterinary visits through ongoing annual wellness examinations by early detection of illness.
  • There are many pet health insurance plans available – here are a few to check out!

PetPlan     PC Insurance     Trupanion     PetSecure


“My cat is indoors, so they don’t need vaccines.”

  • Indoor cats can sneak out of the house. Or maybe it’s a contractor that leaves the door open. Either way, if your cat escapes and is not protected, it could be devastating.
  • Rabies is a deadly virus that can also be transmitted to people. Every year, wild animals test positive for this virus and they are often near cities and urban areas. Bats can be carriers of rabies, and they are often found in people’s homes (even in the city).


“My cat hates going to the veterinarian.”

  • Travel to and from the vet is a common stressor for cats and their owners. Some tips include: getting your cat used to his/her carrier, using feline pheromones, placing a towel over the carrier, place a piece of your clothing in the carrier, and a carrier that has a removable top.
  • If your cat stresses with travel, but is quite happy to stay home, try a house-call next time for his/her annual visit.

The biggest take home message is that the annual visit is not always about getting vaccinations. The focus is really on the annual preventive examination. Since cats like to hide illness, catching things early and initiating preventive care can help extend the life of your cat! Isn’t that what we all want? More quality years with our kitty companions.

Check out this awesome video about the importance of veterinary visits by Jackson Galaxy aka ‘The cat whisperer’.