Some cat owners seem to think that as long as their cats seem healthy, they don’t need to go to the vet.  This idea is flawed in many ways.

The first problem is that if your cat only travels in the car when it is sick, it will come to associate the car/ carrier with bad things.  Then when you really need to take the cat somewhere, the trip is more stressful for you both.

The second issue is that cats hide disease because in nature, only the strongest survive and illness can target an animal for predators.  Your cat is going to disguise his weakness as long as he can. Once it is so bad that he can’t hide it anymore, it might be too late for anything to be done.

The third issue is that a veterinarian needs to see your cat when things are normal to establish a baseline for your cat as it grows older and becomes more likely to have health problems.  A veterinarian will see your cat with new and trained eyes. He or she will examine parts of your cat you would not think to check.  Clients tell me all the time that they “never noticed that”. 

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Because of Federal Prescription law, your cat has to be examined by a vet at least annually to be able to refill your important parasite coverage.  All cats should be on a Feline Heartworm prevention, intestinal parasite protection and flea/tick protection.  If you bought a product for your cat that did not require a prescription, be aware that it cannot BY LAW contain the heartworm prevention, so your cat must be seen at least yearly. 

Kittens especially need their “baby shots” and in our state, Rabies vaccination is required by law and must be administered by a licensed veterinarian.  When we examine your cat, we can tell you which vaccines are and are not appropriate for your cat based on our Risk Assessment. 

Remember, prevention and early detection are critical for good health and long life for everyone. Train your cat to not fear her carrier and get her to the vet!

Dr. Kathryn Primm is a veterinarian and author. Her first book is Tennessee Tails: Pets and Their People, and you can visit her author site at