Health For Indoor Cats

Cats are like people, they need regular medical care to remain healthy. But  some people think their cats don’t need annual check- ups because the cats are strictly indoors and don’t act sick. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Cats can develop several health problems as they age.

Dental disease is very common. In my experience, almost all cats 5 years and older have some degree of dental disease. Since cats don’t pant, most people won’t notice bad breath as readily as they will in dogs. If ignored, the infection progresses causing pain and damaging the tooth crowns, roots and supportive structures.

Mauka 2 snip

Cats, both indoors and outdoors, also develop hyperthyroidism, kidney disease and gastrointestinal disease. Annual blood and urine tests will catch these problems early when treatment can make the most difference.  Orthopedic and arthritic conditions are also possible as cats age.

Many people are surprised to learn that indoor cats can become infected with parasites. Mice and rats may bring fleas and ticks into the house. If the family dog isn’t on a flea and tick preventative, it can also bring parasites from the yard into the home. Humans may carry parasite eggs inside the house on their shoes. Mosquitos carrying heartworms and flies carrying round worms may enter through open doors and windows. Cats may even get parasites though infected plants and potting soil.


That’s why all cats need annual examinations and preventative care. Although cats kept indoors are much safer than those allowed to go outdoors, they can still develop health problems. Cats are experts at hiding their health problems. To keep cats feeling their best, regular check-ups are needed.

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.