How Often Do You Take Your Pets to the Vet?

A few weeks ago I started getting incessant reminders from my vet to bring in Walter (one of my two cats) for a checkup. While I often go too long between visits to my human doctor, my cats depend on me, so I try to stick with my veterinarian’s recommendations. So I scheduled a time last Thursday to bring in Walter.

However, after Thursday, I’m starting to wonder if it’s really a good idea for me to take my cats to the vet every year. I’m not saying that I should never give them a checkup; rather, I’m wondering if the stressed caused by the checkup is worth it.

Basically, Walter had the cat equivalent of a panic attack on the way to the vet and in the waiting room. He was hyperventilating and panting heavily, something I’ve only seen him do when going to the vet. He finally calmed down (see photo), but the stress caused by the trip seemed significant.

Walter is perfectly healthy, and he had a few shots and tests. I believe in the power of preventative health care–it’s better to catch something now and fix it instead of waiting until it gets really bad–but he’s an indoor cat with an easy life. Is it really worth the stress to take him to the vet every year? I’m leaning towards switching to an 18-month schedule instead.

What do you think? What’s your approach with your pets?