How Often Should an Indoor Cat Go to the Vet?

Cats that live indoors on average live longer, healthier lives as they are sheltered from many dangers. However, medical problems can still crop up no matter how well looked after your cat is. Indoor cats should go to the vet once a year. If you want to stay on top of their health better, you could consider going every six months instead.

This obviously doesn’t include any situations where your cat may be displaying worrying symptoms or sudden changes in behavior. In these circumstances, you should always bring your cat to a vet, no matter how recent their last check-up was.

Booking an appointment at the vet may seem like a waste of time an money for your cat if there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with them. However, annual check-ups are an important part of making sure your indoor cat lives their best life.

Why do indoor cats need to go to the vet once a year?

Yearly check ups give your vet an opportunity to identify any health problems that could be creeping in for your cat. Even though indoor cats are protected from lots of parasites and illnesses by being indoors, there is still a small chance that they catch something that has been brought into the house. Cats will naturally hide injuries and illnesses, getting a professional to evauluate your indoor cat’s health is a necessity.

Indoor cats are at an increased risk of becoming overweight, especially if they are given constant access to food and get little play. Overweight cats are at a greater risk of getting longer-term health problems like diabetes and heart failure. A vet will be able to tell if changes need to be made to your cat’s diet and lifestyle by assessing your cat’s health.

Regular check-ups are particularly important for older cats. As cats get older, past 11 years of age, they are more likely to suffer from a wider range of health problems. Senior cats that have lived their entire life indoors can still develop problems like thyroid diseases, cancer, and arthritis. These problems can also affect younger cats.

Yearly check-ups are also often a good opportunity to renew any vaccines that your cat has. Its always a good idea to give your indoor cat the same vaccines that an outdoor cat would have. In some states in the United States, this is even a law.  

If you have never taken your cat to the vet, this is all the more reason to take them in for a check-up. At least one visit to the vet is an opportunity to assess your cat’s health and identify any problems that may have gone unnoticed.

What do vets do for cats at a yearly check-up?

Yearly check ups are normally quite simple for your indoor cat. Regular procedures will include checking your cat’s body temperature and weight. Abnormal body temperatures will be a sign of health problems that will need further testing to identify. Logging your cat’s weight gives your vet an idea of their overall health. They will probably also listen to their heart and breathing to look for any abnormal signs.

Your cat will also probably have their teeth and gums checked. This is a part of your indoor cat’s body that can often get injured early on and lead to serious medical problems if they aren’t treated early. Cats are often good at hiding pain so getting a professional to evaluate your cat’s health is a great idea.

A good vet will also ask how your cat has been behaving. Some cat behaviors like limping are signs of physical injuries that will need a little further inspection.  

As your cat is already at the vet, your vet may also take this as an opportunity to update your cat on their relevant vaccines. This will probably cost a little extra money, but some vet care plans will cover it in their service.

I can’t afford to take my cat to the vet

Expenses for your cat can quickly ramp up and many people struggle with paying for a professional to check on their cat’s health. This is a very difficult situation to be in and you can feel a lot of guilt for putting your needs above your cat’s health.

Fortunately, there are charities that can provide financial aid if you are struggling to look after your cat. There are organisations available in most countries, but their current situation and your circumstances will affect how much they can help. Search around and call in to find what will suit your needs. Some vets will also offer you to pay in instalments.

You should also consider if you could benefit from pet insurance or pet care plans. These may seem like a lot of money up front, but they can save you a lot more money in the long run if your cat does develop a problem. If you aren’t sure if you can afford pet care, its likely that you can’t afford not to have it.


Indoor cats should be given yearly check-ups on top of any trips they take to the vets through the year. If your cat is older or has pre-existing health conditions, you can consider taking them in every six months.

Taking a seemingly healthy indoor cat to the vet may seem like a waste, but it’ a crucial opportunity for a professional to check on health problems that could have gone unnoticed.