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Wellness

Why You Need to Take Your Cat to the Vet

May 17, 2013 by Tails Magazine in Wellness with 1 Comment

siamesecat

By Jen Lutz-Paolella

Most cat parents can to relate to that dreaded day they face with their feline friend—you know, the day you bring your cat to the vet. The night before, you begin detailing your strategy. You plot and stress over every step. As your eyes begin rolling into the back of your head, you wonder if it’s really necessary. The trigger which sent my cat into a hasty retreat was the sound of the carrier door hinges creaking from the porch. In an instant he was blending into the carpet, and crawling more quickly to hide under the bed than he would towards a pound of catnip.  A flashlight revealed his location far back against the wall, and the rest was far from a picnic.

After several trials, we now have an annual 10-step plan for cat-in-carrier success that even the U.S. Secretary of Defense would endorse. Perhaps these common challenges which cat parents face are factors that contribute to the latest reports on cat guardianship and the frequency of their veterinary visits. According to the “2012 AVMA U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographic Source Book,” a staggering 44.9% of cat parents did not take their cat to the veterinarian once in 2011. This statistic causes experts to wonder: Why the decline?

Ensuring that your cat visits the veterinarian at least once a year is very important for optimal health and life expectancy. The AVMA reported that the number one reason that cats were not brought to the veterinarian for the entire year was because “the cat did not get sick or injured” (53%). Here are some important things to consider:

  • Cats instinctively hide their symptoms of pain: Even though your cat is a domestic pet, the rules from the wild kingdom still dominate: Cats that exhibit signs of pain are seen as more vulnerable to predators. Although your cat appears to be fine at home, an annual exam with your veterinarian will provide reassurance that physical and emotional health are ideal.
  • Physical exams don’t tell us everything: Diagnostic testing once a year can provide very useful information about your cat’s biological health. Cats are very susceptible to urinary tract, dental, and renal disease, especially as they age. Monitoring these values to detect early stage conditions will greatly help.

The other reasons that caregivers did not take their cat to the vet in a 12-month-period were the following:

Financial concern: 21.5%

Cat did not need vaccines: 17.3%

Too hard to transport: 3.2%

Other: 4.1%

The good news is that the majority of cat parents say they value their cat as being “members of the family” as opposed to “property.” Our pets are our family; surely it’s worth it to endure the all-too-often inconveniences of getting our cat into a carrier and making the journey.

By ensuring that your cat sees your veterinarian a minimum of once a year, you are offering the best health care possible, saving yourself from more costly visits during the later years, and most importantly, adding to the years that you and your cat family member are able to spend together.

Jennifer Lutz-Paolella is a freelance medical writer with extensive experience in the veterinary industry including: consulting, education, marketing, and sales. She is an advocate for animal health and welfare, and lives in Chicago with her husband Tony and their cat Ti.

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