Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day is August 22.
Most kittens often do see a veterinarian, but after that most cats do not and frankly —- be ready —- I think that is animal abuse.
Enough playing around, cats are not getting proper care without veterinary care. End of story.
And that’s a shame – the cats lose out. Here’s my top 5 reasons why:
- Cats Mask Illness: No matter how well you think you know your cat, it may be impossible to discern your cat’s health – unless you can run blood work in your kitchen or own a stethoscope. Sometimes signs of illness are subtle, or don’t exist. For example, when you have several cats at home, you can’t tell that one cat is drinking a bit more (potentially a sign of diabetes). Or say your cat has a heart disease called feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – which is surprisingly common – the only symptom might be detected by listening the cat’s heart. Another example (and there are many), which people can relate to, is high blood pressure. It’s a warning but without taking your blood pressure can’t be detected, and the same is true in cats.
- Weight and Health: It’s really hard to tell that your cat has gained, say four pounds, over the past two years. Weight gain is so gradual we often don’t notice. Also, we know from studies that our perceptions of “normal” weight for dogs and cats has changed, compared to great grandma. We look at cats today and say that cat is totally fine, but great grandma would be appalled. And thee’s nothing worse than appalling great-grandma, except that illness often correlates with overweight and obese cats. Diabetes in cats is nothing short of an epidemic. Period. And it is only because around 60 percent of cats are overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese can impact behavior, and also be associated with osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, even some types of cancers, etc. Veterinarians weigh pets (we tend not to), and even better than wait until diabetes or some other illness occurs, prevention is best. In this case, prudent weight loss, is ideal. Veterinary advice about how to do that is important. For example, a crash diet can literally kill a cat.
- There’s no baseline for your cat: Every person, every dog and every cat is an individual. Baseline bloodwork (and even a baseline exam) is really important to determine what is “normal” for your pet.
- Preventive Care: Truly preventive care can save lives. Here’s just one example. Waiting until a cat owner notes signs of kidney disease in cats, even if the owner is extremely preceptive, around 75 percent of function is gone. A simple blood test called Symmetric dimethylarginine or SDMA detects kidney disease at a much earlier stage, obviously hugely beneficial.
- Behavior: More cats (or for that matter dogs) die of bad behavior than, say kidney or heart disease. Owners frustrated with the cat missing the box too often one day may relinquish the cat to a shelter, or just let the pet outdoors to fend for himself. Some owners do seek out Google for help, and behavior advice varies from really good to really bad online. Certainly, seeing a certified cat behavior consultant or veterinary behaviorist are options – but if they’re not seeing their own veterinarian, they’re likely not doing this. They live with the problem behavior(s), until one day they decide, ‘enough is enough,’ and the cat goes.
I wrote my top-5 before reading a similar top 5 list from the American Association of Feline Practitioners. I suppose some might say, “Of course, the veterinarians are saying this, it’s good for business.” Well, I’m not a veterinarian – and keeping your cats healthy doesn’t do anything for business….I just KNOW it’s the right thing to do.
For those cats concerned about the carrier – we can fix this.