Written by GreaterGood.org’s Foster Programs Manager, Sarah Aguilar
Well it happened. You adopted a cat. Maybe you foster failed, maybe you found the perfect cat online at a local shelter or rescue, or maybe your new furry family member found you. What do you do now?
Go. To. The. Vet.
In my years of leadership in animal welfare, both in private rescue and in government animal services, I have seen over and over again, the benefits of regular vet care. This includes establishing a relationship with a vet BEFORE something goes wrong.
“But my new kitty came from an organization where it received shots and a microchip and was spayed/neutered.”
This is wonderful! You still need to schedule an appointment to establish care with your vet and their new patient. Use this opportunity to record benchmarks for your cat’s health, such as running a blood panel, documenting weight and fitness, and measuring mobility and coat thickness. It can be difficult to identify changes in behavior or general health without a starting point to compare to.
“But the shelter/rescue said he was fully vetted.”
Fantastic! Make sure you got a copy of all the medical records related to your new family member and bring them to your first vet appointment so your doctor can review them. It’s very easy for little but important details to be missed during the excitement of bringing home your new cat.
“But my cat is young and healthy!”
Great, let’s keep her that way! Your first vet visit is the perfect opportunity to discuss common kitty ailments, how to avoid them, and what signs to watch for as your cat grows older.
“But really, my cat is healthy.”
Some of the most important actions you can take now to keep him healthy, are focused around regular checkups and ongoing care such as flea and tick preventative, good nutrition, and appropriate exercise.
“But it costs money.”
Most animal shelters offer a complimentary vet visit at a local clinic during the first week after adoption, USE IT. This is a free exam! There is no reason NOT to go! If the organization you adopted from didn’t happen to offer this benefit, it’s ok! Cat adopters can get a free exam at a Banfield Pet Hospital using this coupon!
More and more animal welfare organizations are offering pet insurance either for a free trial period or at a discounted rate. This is another way that adopters are supported and encouraged to establish routine vet care for your new family member.
“But I don’t NEED a vet right now.”
Many emergency medical issues can be avoided with regular vet visits. Your vet will be able to identify early signs of illness and offer ways to keep your new feline friend around for a long time.