Okay, kitties and humans, this is serious business. We know the vet is probably not either one of your favorite places to go. So why are we talking about Take Your Cat to the Vet Day today?
The truth is that cats don’t get the kind of veterinary care that dogs do. Vets report seeing five dogs for every cat who comes through their door for care, even though there are 85.8 million pet cats and only 77.8 million pet dogs.
Cats overall aren’t getting seen by vets as often as they should, especially older cats who are more likely to be hiding chronic illnesses. A recent survey found that the older cats are, the less likely they are to go to the vet unless they show signs of illness. This is an alarming trend, since cats are really good at hiding illness in its early stages. Less frequent vet visits as a cat reaches an age where ailments are actually more likely mean those issues will go undiscovered and untreated longer.
You may not notice that your cat doesn’t jump up onto your counters as frequently, or maybe she has stopped entirely. You might even be glad she stopped. But what if the reason she stopped is that she has painful arthritis? Vets can help diagnose ailments during a wellness visit that are easy for even sharp-eyed humans to miss, so an annual exam is an important part of your cat’s preventative care.
Making Carriers Less Frightening
Does your carrier only show up from storage when it’s time to go to the vet? Of course kitty gets suspicious and hides under the sofa when she catches sight of it! She has already learned that thing is a sure signal that she is headed to the vet.
A lot of people avoid taking their cats to the vet because it’s hard to even get kitty into her carrier, but it doesn’t have to be that way. A carrier that only shows up when it’s time to go to the vet is frightening, but a carrier that is part of the usual living room landscape and serves as a place to nap on a regular basis isn’t scary at all. Any carrier can tuck under an end table and have a cozy blanket to make an everyday retreat for a cat so that it’s a familiar place when it’s time to go to the vet or anywhere else.
Cat Friendly Vets
Just thinking about going to the vet is stressful, isn’t it? Would it be less stressful if you thought your vet was a “cat person”? It turns out among surveyed vets, 48% prefer dogs and only 17% prefer cats. Many vets said that dogs were easier to work with during exams, and that they found cats more challenging to diagnose than dogs. If you have noticed your vet obviously prefers dogs, there really are vets out there who are more cat oriented, and not just at cat-only practices!
More veterinarians are realizing they need to meet the needs of their cat clients and are becoming cat friendly. Cat friendly practices understand cat behavior and have more cat-friendly handling guidelines. The American Association of Feline Practitioners certifies cat-friendly practices, and their web site can help you can find one near you if you decide your vet has “gone to the dogs.”
Whether your vet is officially a feline friendly practitioner or just a great veterinarian, let Take Your Cat To the Vet day be a great reminder that it’s time to think about a wellness exam, especially if your cat is a senior.
References and further reading
Banfield 2016 State of Pet Health Report
American Pet Products Association 2015-2016 National Pet Owners Survey
Royal Canin Survey of Dog and Cat Owners
Bayer Veterinary Usage Study III: Feline Findings