Thursday, Aug 22 is National “Take Your Cat to the Vet” day. This year, veterinarians have more to offer you and your cat than ever before. In addition to caring for your cat's physical health, there is a movement in veterinary medicine addressing the unique emotional needs of cats.
We take our dogs to the vet, not our cats. In the United States, eight out of 10 dogs see the vet annually, but only five out of 10 cats get annual vet visits. So, why are we ignoring the health needs of our cats?
Many cat parents believe their cat is self-sufficient and does not need routine medical care. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your cat needs annual veterinary visits for both routine exams and to address latent health issues.
You see, cats are masters at hiding their physical and behavioral needs. We, humans, make the mistake of interpreting this as a sign that everything is ok and that they don’t need veterinary care. Quite the opposite is true. Cats need the trained eyes, ears, and hands of a veterinarian to detect pain and illness, so that we can provide care and relief for conditions like dental disease, arthritis, kidney disease, and heart disease long before our stoic cats are showing obvious signs of disease.
Additionally, cat parents find visiting the vet stressful for both them and their cat.
We hear you. Now, veterinarians are learning more about your cat’s behavioral needs. We now know that how we set up the waiting room and the exam room along with the techniques that we use to examine your cat can make a huge difference in your cat’s veterinary experience. Many veterinarians are going above and beyond these steps to get special training and certifications through programs such as Cat Friendly Practice and Fear Free to understand and meet these needs.
Here are the top 5 reasons to make your cat’s vet appointment today.
- There is no way to tell if your cat is healthy and free of pain just by looking at it and loving it. At least once a year, a vet should examine your cat’s heart and lungs, its dental health, and feel its belly to catch health issues before they become a big problem. Cats don’t show pain and discomfort until it is extreme. Your vet will perform a physical exam which might find sources of pain and discomfort. Once identified, the vet can help resolve it.
- Your cat might be overweight and at increased risk. Sixty percent of cats in America are now overweight or obese. And only one in ten cat parents are aware that their cat is fat? Excess weight has been shown to shorten a cat’s life and cause expensive health problems, like diabetes. Your vet may recommend a special diet like Royal Canin Satiety Support. https://www.chewy.com/royal-canin-veterinary-diet-satiety/dp/43757
- Learn about your cat’s behavioral health needs. Is your cat having problems like urinating outside of the litter box? Are they aggressive or destructive? These can be a sign of stress. Your veterinarian can talk with you about enriching your cat’s environment to reduce stress. Cats need more than a litter box and a bowl. In fact, cats are less stressed when they hunt for their food with feeders like Doc & Phoebe’s Indoor Hunting Feeder https://www.chewy.com/doc-phoebes-cat-co-indoor-hunting-cat/dp/179102
- Vaccines. Even if your cat lives indoors only, it needs some vaccines to be healthy and protected under the law. All cats are required to be up to date on rabies vaccines. Crazy stuff happens – your cat comes in contact with another cat that is infected, or bats and raccoons get into your house and put your cat at risk!!!
- Avoid creepy crawly things. There are lots of creepy crawly things that can affect cats, like fleas, ticks, and heartworms. Your vet can help you assess the parasites your cat is at risk of carrying and how to prevent them.