by JaneA Kelley, Cat expert and animal communicator, Paws and Effect

Shots and spaying/neutering are not the only reasons to take your cat to the vet.

An annual “well cat” exam is a crucial part of your cat’s life. Although your cat may not need to be vaccinated every year, there are two very important reasons to take him to the vet on a regular basis.

Annual well-cat exams help to establish “normal” for your cat. If your vet has an ongoing record of your cat’s weight, for example, she will notice early changes that could spell trouble for your kitty.

By the time your cat is one year old, he’s 16 in human years!

After that, he ages at a rate of about four human years for every cat year. Major issues can develop quickly in a cat that grows and ages at this rate, which makes the yearly check-up even more important.

Some vets recommend that senior cats (those over 10 years of age) get twice-yearly exams.

The annual exam also gives you a chance to establish a relationship with your vet. If your cat gets sick or is seriously injured, you’ll be glad you know your vet well enough to trust her with your cat’s care in a crisis.

Your vet will be glad to know you and your cat well, too, so she can communicate with you as clearly as possible during a difficult time.

Cat expert and animal communicator JaneA Kelley is the webmaster and chief cat slave for Paws and Effect, a weekly cat advice column by cats, for cats and their people.