National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day

Escher the cat

Escher is an indoor only kitty who recently came in for a senior wellness exam and a dental. Since having several badly infected teeth pulled, he’s acting like a kitten again. Turns out, even though he “seemed fine,” he wasn’t until he got his health issues addressed!

This Saturday, August 22nd is National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day! A day specifically dedicated to taking your cats to the vet may seem excessive, but according to the American Humane Association, cats see the vet only about half as often as dogs. In fact, many people only take their cats to the vet when they’re sick. That kind of visit pattern can lead to easily prevented illnesses becoming serious. Just as we go to the doctor regularly, our feline friends benefit from regular vet visits.

Many people say “but my cat is so healthy; she doesn’t need to see the vet!” In fact, cats are experts at hiding illness, so we might not know when they’re not okay. It’s also easy to miss the signs of illness if it’s a slow progression. Just like we don’t always notice things that take a while to change in ourselves, we may not see them in our cats. That’s one of the reasons it’s important to take your cat to the vet annually or semi-annually.

Other reasons for not bringing cats to the vet include “but my cat is indoor-only, so she doesn’t need to see the vet.” Even cats that live indoors need to see the vet, though. While fights with other animals, unfortunate encounters with cars, or parasite infestation is less likely for indoor-only kitties, there are a host of other health issues that can plague them. Once you get kitty to the vet, there are several things the vet will do at a cat wellness exam.

  • The first is a nose to tail physical exam to look for possible problems. These can include coat and skin abnormalities, eye, ear or throat problems, and more.
  • The vet will also exam your kitty’s teeth and gums for signs of dental disease and decide if a dental cleaning is needed.
  • The vet will discuss your cat’s parasite prevention schedule, eating habits, and behavior and activity patterns with you. This information helps determine whether kitty needs parasite testing or diet and activity changes. Obesity predisposes kitty for more serious problems like kidney disease, diabetes and arthritis, so it’s vital to make sure diet and activity are appropriate, especially for indoor only kitties.
  • Finally, if there are any vaccines due, those will be administered, and any necessary blood tests will be performed. Tests are a vital part of preventive care, ensuring that potential problems don’t become major illnesses later.

Of course, the exam comes after what many cat owners think of as the most stressful part: getting kitty to the vet! This is, incidentally, the number one reason cats don’t see the vet as often as their doggy counterparts. Corralling kitty into the carrier can be hard — any cat can become a ninja escape master when the dreaded carrier comes out! Because kitty only sees the carrier when she’s going to the vet, she associates it with unpleasant experiences. But this can change. The most important thing to keep in mind when trying to make your cat’s vet visit less stressful is desensitization. If the carrier is a part of kitty’s everyday environment and associated with food, treats, cozy blankets and other familiar items, she may be less unwilling to go into the carrier. Additionally, spritzing the carrier with synthetic pheromones like Feliway can help kitty relax and have a more pleasant trip to and visit with her vet. If this doesn’t help, ask your vet about house calls.

With all this in mind, maybe it’s time to make an appointment to take your cat to the vet. If you have questions, want to make an appointment, or need to purchase some Feliway, give us a call!

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