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Check Up or Check Out?

Annual wellness exams--minus vaccines-- are so important for monitoring your cat's health.


When it comes to your cat’s health, are you checked out?

The Postcard

Chances are pretty good that your veterinarian’s office mails you a friendly reminder every year that it’s either time for Tiger’s annual check up or annual vaccinations.  How nice of them, right?  How many of us just toss that nice piece of mail in the trash and forget about it?  Wait!  Don’t be so quick to blow off your cat’s health.


My friend, Martin, recently got such a reminder postcard and asked me if I thought it was truly necessary to take BBC in for his annual senior blood work.  This always poses the question in our minds as pet owners:  why go?  My cat seems fine.   And then we rationalize further:  besides, Tiger just hates car rides and going to the vet.  It’s just too stressful!  Yes, I must confess…I have avoided the annual check ups.  But it’s more than just the stress to my cats, the inconvenience, and the expense (it’s always expensive).  I don’t want to get bullied by the veterinarian.

True Story

Cat health is best monitored with annual wellness exams.

Has this ever happened to you?  I’ll never forget one time I took several of my cats to a certain vet in Houston whose name I’ll not mention.  I just wanted to get their teeth cleaned.  However, before I was allowed to take them home I was asked if they were up to date on their vaccinations.  My reply was simple:  my cats live indoors and never go outside so I don’t want them vaccinated anymore.  At first I got the “GASP” and scowl and then the lecture started.  I was made to feel like a bad pet parent, that I was putting my cats’ health at risk for diseases.  When it was clear that I wasn’t falling for her guilt trip, she insisted that I must at least get the rabies vaccinations.  After all, a bat could fly into my house and bite my cats!  (Yes, she really said that.)  I politely declined, and then she literally sneered at me:  “IT’S THE LAW!!”   Did she just say that??  She virtually backed me into a corner and wasn’t going to put her license on the line, and when I say she forced me to give them the rabies vaccination, I literally mean it.


Wow.  I couldn’t wait to leave…and NEVER, EVER COME BACK!  This doctor clearly cared more about her license than my pets’ health and safety or my rights as a pet parent.  I have never felt so helpless and disrespected by any veterinarian in my life!  I know there are some great vets out there who use common sense and show respect for clients’ values and beliefs, and I certainly can’t lump them all in the “bad” basket.  There are some that are GOLD, and you must hold on to them!  With others…take your money and your pet and RUN!

Back to the dilemma

I understand that ideally you should get a check up annually minus the vaccinations and the toxic pest (flea and tic) control.  (Do you realize that the flea prevention is actually poison?  Pets are dying from this!  See what Dr. Will Falconer has to say about this.)  If your cat is over eight years old (which is considered a senior) it’s highly beneficial to get that annual blood panel done.  This will help give you a baseline of comparison as your kitty gets older, and it’s the only way to know for sure if her organs and systems are functioning optimally.  There’s so much to be said for prevention and catching things early rather than finding out later there are serious issues or disease present.  By then you’re in full-blown panic mode, searching for solutions, and spending lots of money.  If your cat is already dealing with a health issue or disease, getting blood panels twice a year is your best way to stay on top of things.

Don’t check out

So here’s what I recommend:

  • Get your kitty a wellness check up annually, and based on that outcome it may or may not be recommended to get a blood panel done, too.
  • Know that your kitty’s health and safety is in your hands, and you have the last say so as a pet parent.
  • Question everything.
  • Do NOT be intimidated by the nice embroidered doctor’s name and letters on the white lab coat.
  • Defend your rights not to give your cat toxic flea control or annual vaccinations that can severely damage or weaken their immune system.  You can sign a waiver to waive the rabies vaccination here in Texas and in many other states!
  • Keep in mind the vet’s clinic is a business, and many clinics depend on the revenues from “annual vaccinations” to keep their coffers full.  There is more and more evidence coming out that your cat’s immunity lasts for years, if not a lifetime.
  • If your cat has any pre-existing condition, disease, or illness, the vaccine label itself states that it is contraindicated!  Most of the time you will not be told this, if ever.  You can read more about vaccination truth in this post.
  • Don’t forget the Bach’s Flower Rescue Remedy!  Put a few drops in your hands rub them together and then pet your cat, paying special attention to rub his cheeks and the inside of his ears.  This helps calm your kitty for the trip ahead.  Feel free to use a few drops on yourself, too!

With that being said, it’s almost time for Hershey, Lili and Aylen, and Gunner to get their checkups. Ugh.  😾







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3 responses to “Check Up or Check Out?”

  1. Very good write-up. I definitely love this website. Keep it up!

  2. Debi Kaplan says:

    BBC’s blood panel came back with all tests in normal range. You know, he used to weigh 27.5 pounds. But now he continues to drop weight when we are no longer trying to get him to lose. He is currently 16 pounds and dropping. Martin has increased his food to 2 (5.5 oz) cans a day! What do you suggest? Treats?we have never given treats because he was so obese.
    Thanks, Pam

    • Pam Roussell says:

      Your concern is valid! I’m guessing the blood panel included thyroid levels, too? If the doctor says the blood work shows no sign for alarm at this point I’d guess that his weight is normalizing. Martin says he’s more active than ever, too! At this point I would think treats would be ok! Try something freeze-dried (usually a single protein ingredient) rather than something that has words you can’t pronounce or identify on the label. If the weight loss continues despite the increased calories my guess is it’s a thyroid issue. I would get another test run pretty soon to detect elevated levels of the hormones T3 and T4. According to one website I found “some cats with hyperthyroidism may show normal levels of these hormones in their blood test. If this is the case then a T3 suppression test may be performed. This involves taking a blood test to check the levels of T3 and T4, 7 oral doses of the thyroid hormone T3 and a blood test after the hormone was given. In a normal cat, the level of T4 will drop, in a cat with hyperthyroidism the T4 levels will stay the same or increase slightly.” Please keep me posted!

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