Your relationship with your cat’s veterinarian is one of the most important relationships in yours and your cat’s life. This relationship should be based on trust. Honest and open communication is important not only to ensure that your cat gets the best possible care, but that you understand every aspect of her care. Your vet will keep a detailed medical record for your cat.

What should be included in your cat’s record?

Your cat’s medical record should include detailed information about your cat, including

  • a thorough medical history
  • detailed account of each physical exam, including treatment recommendations and outcome
  • a detailed description of any surgeries your cat may have had
  • test results of all diagnostic tests, including bloodwork, urinalysis, radiographs and ultrasound
  • a history of all prescription medications, including dosage and length of treatment
  • a detailed account of any hospital stays, which should include daily progress reports

Why you should have a current copy of your cat’s record

If your cat has a chronic health condition or is a senior cat, having a copy of your cat’s record can save valuable time in an emergency. Emergency vet visits tend to happen at the most inconvenient times, and your regular vet may be closed. Having a complete current record may save your cat’s life, especially if she is on multiple medications.

Since many vets are keeping digital records now, you may be able to access your cat’s records online through a confidential portal. There are apps available for this purpose as well. I encourage you to explore this option for easy access at any time.

Veterinary records are confidential, and laws about releasing records vary from state to state. Most states require the client’s authorization before a veterinary practice can release records.

This post was first published in 2015 and has been updated.

9 Comments on Why Your Cat’s Vet Records Are So Important

  1. Thanks for the information. I know I am guilty of not keeping records and just depending on my vet for them. They were a couple incidents when Pono had to go to an emergency vet and they wouldn’t just listen to me as to what his health problems were. They wanted to run more expensive tests to come to their own conclusion.

  2. The older I get, the harder it is for me to remember whether we had the vaccinations one year ago or two. What I have been doing is to write down the notes and send myself an email with anything important. Then I save it to a file called Sadie so I can always find the info I need quickly and easily.

  3. It is so important to have the information and make sure it’s up to date. Thanks for taking the time to go over that in this post.

  4. Excellent idea to have a copy of the medical records. We’ve kept every detailed receipt from every visit of every single cat we’ve ever had in our care for the past twenty-five years (as our dedicated cat file cabinet will prove) but there’s always something missing, we’ve found. Easier to grab a paper file than an entire filing cabinet!

  5. Ingrid, I’m in the process of changing my veterinarian, because over the years I’ve lost trust. I want someone who is passionate, not just good enough. I know, a tall order indeed! I’ve asked if I can have copies of Angel and Chuck’s records, but when I was there the last time, I forgot to make the attendant get them for me. Should I have my ‘new’ vet call for the records, or should I do it? I have no problem explaining why I’m leaving…actually, convincing the hubby is going to be harder than changing vets! He doesn’t like change any more than the cats do…lol! But they are seniors now, and we’ve never quite figured out Chuck’s constant constipation problem, and I’d like a new set of eyes and knowledge now.

    • Hi! I’m a vet nurse who works in an ER. I would do both, honestly. You should ask for copies for yourself to have for your records, but also have your new vet (when you find one) call and ask for the records to be faxed/emailed over. That way, they can request the records a few days before your appointment to review before you come in. The American Association if Feline Practitioners ( has a function that allows you to search for recommend cat friendly vets in your area. Good luck!

  6. This sound like a great idea for a lot of time when an ER situation happens to one of kitties, it usually when the regular vet is closed. I have receipts of what they have charged me but that’s about it. Need to check into it.

  7. Ingrid, my cat, Carmine is a special need cat (has about 3 chronic conditions) and is a senior. My other cat, Milita, is a senior as well.

    I have copies of all of their blood test results and vaccinations, but beyond that, I don’t have the rest of the information in their file. Should I get the vet’s progrss notes on each? It’s been a few years, but we have had to take Carmine to the ER vet before.

    Thanks for any advice!

    • It sounds like it might be useful to also have a copy of the progress notes for Carmine. At the very least, I would make sure you have a copy of all the medications, including any injections he may have received at the clinic, in addition to the test results you already have.

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