Welcome to 2014! It is hard to believe that a new year is upon us. This is the time of year that we all consider resolutions, and most of us consider common ideas, such as eating healthier and exercising more. However, our veterinarians are looking for one particular resolution that we would love to see all cat owners embrace. What would that be? We would hope that all cats get the veterinary attention that they need.
Why this particular resolution? For whatever reason, cats don’t seem to get the same amount of veterinary attention as their canine counterparts. Despite the fact that there are many more cats than dogs that are kept as pets, people simply don’t take their cats to the veterinarian as often as they do their dogs. That is a troubling statistic, and it is not good news for our cats.
There has been a lot of speculation about why dog owners appear to seek veterinary care for their dogs more often than cat owners. Some veterinarians and other experts believe that it may be partially because cat owners don’t realize that their pets need regular veterinary checks just like dogs. Many people feel that their cats are safe from illness if living inside. To some level this is true. However, all cats are at equal risk of non-infectious illness, especially as they age. Heart disease, metabolic issues, dental disease and cancer are just as likely to happen whether your cat is indoors or not.
A regular veterinary examination is important for your cat for the same reason that you should visit your own doctor yearly. Many medical problems are more easily treated if they are diagnosed early; routine examinations and, if indicated, laboratory testing may spot subtle signs of disease before they become serious. Often, when found early, a simple treatment or even a small change in diet can delay progression of disease, and sometimes even cure it. We need to remember that when a cat visits the clinic once per year, they have aged the equivalent of 5-7 years of our life in that period of time.
Many people feel that one of the reasons that cats are seen less often than dogs in veterinary hospitals is the simple fact that, for many cat owners, getting their cat to the hospital is a hassle. As most of our team are cat owners, we understand this! We know how stressful that visit can be for both cat and owner. But, in the interest of keeping our cats healthy and making sure they live the longest, most comfortable life possible, regular veterinary visits are an absolute necessity. Please let us know if you have particular concerns about getting your cat in to see us, and we will help in any way that we can. A good trick is to familiarize your cat to its carrier on a regular basis, by leaving it out and open in your home. Many cats are also helped by the use of a calming pheromone called Feliway which can be sprayed or wiped into a cat’s carrier prior to a trip.
One good source for information on the need for healthcare for cats and how to transport your cat with less stress is found via the CATalyst Council at: http://www.catalystcouncil.org/resources/health_welfare/cat_carrier_video/index.aspx
So, this is one of our New Year’s Resolutions... We hope to help convince cat owners of the need to make sure their cats get the best of care, including regular veterinary attention. We look forward to seeing you and your furry friends in 2014!