I recommend that all pets have a health check every six months.
And this is especially vital for cats.
Cats evolved as solitary hunters. In the wild they would have no pack to rely on to support
them through minor illnesses.
When a cat feels unwell, or is suffering, it has no effective way to communicate this to its
owner. They are experts at concealing how unwell they feel.
So I find that the safest way is to examine them carefully every six months. Once at vaccine
time, where I believe that the physical examination and weight check are as vital as the
actual needle. And again six months later.
Some years ago, I met Gina for the first time.
She had not been having any health checks, and had not seen a vet since she was young, but
she was a much loved member of her family.
They brought her in because she had become ever so boney. She had lost weight, and they
also realized that her coat was not nearly as shiny as it used to be. They thought her changes
were very recent.
I hoped it would be something simple and easily mended like a parasite burden, or a bad
tooth. So I was really sad when I examined her belly with my finger tips and identified a
There was only one disease that could cause what I was feeling – cancer.
Her family quickly realized that cancer takes time to develop, and that it must have been
growing for at least some weeks. They started to blame themselves for not getting her
There was nothing that could be done for Gina. Her cancer was at a very advanced stage. I
guided her family to be prepared for the worst, and to focus on making her last few weeks
as comfortable as possible.
There’s no knowing if a timely health check would have changed the outcome for Gina and
relieved her family of their sense of guilt, but if you notice even small changes in your cat’s
health, do book them in.