National Cat Health Month


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February is National Cat Health Month. Originally the day was set up the same month as Valentine’s to address cat health.

Cats remain under medicalized compared to dogs, meaning they aren’t as likely to visit the veterinarian for routine care or even care if they aren’t feeling well.

People may say, “I can tell when my cat is sick, and that’s when I’ll go to the vet.” Several problems with this statement. For starters, few cat parents can do blood work in their kitchen or have a stethoscope to hear their cat’s heart. What’s more, cats are masters at masking illness – even the most diligent cat parents may not be aware their cat isn’t feeling so great.

Cats require veterinary care the same as dogs – and gradually that’s actually begun to happen.

The primary obstacle has been getting cats into the carrier.

With carriers like the Sleepypod, carriers are frankly more cat friendly than ever.

And finally, veterinarians are becoming more proactive about offering a pharmaceutical before the vet visit (like a new drug called Bonqat) or a nutraceutical like Zylkene to support a more relaxed rather than panicked attitude. And once a tad more relaxed there’s much more info about how to get cats into carriers without having to chase them all around the house and stuffing into the carrier.

Also, Cat Friendly Practices and Fear Free have focused on educating veterinary professionals about not only getting cats to the vet but also once in at the veterinarian to handle the cat differently than say a decade ago.

However, what’s not often talked about during Cat Health Month is also about our health. Studies now demonstrate that living with cats is healthful for us. For example, lots of studies support the benefit of cats purring to humans. Purrs have a calming effect by releasing stress-reducing endorphins, and the frequency may even help to heal broken bones.

Sadly, there remain a myriad of misconceptions regarding cats. For example, cats are not antisocial, quite the reverse – they love human family members just the same as dogs. Sure, some cats act aloof and don’t spend time with their humans but this is rare for well-socialized cats. Truth is that some dogs are like that too. For example, cats actually share beds with their humans even more often than dogs do. While it’s true cats are more independent and self-reliant compared to most dogs, they are not aloof. Cats do not suffocate babies or cause allergies (in fact, exposing infants to cats might prevent various allergies). And cat allergens don’t leap off cats and “attack” people. There’s even a diet now, called Purina ProPlan LiveClear, to neutralize the cause of allergies in cats so most allergic people can live with cats.

Try it – live with a cat if you’ve not had the pleasure to do so.