Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Is Your Cat Getting Routine Veterinary Care? #Cat2VetDay

It’s easy to argue that cats rule the internet and social media; the prevalence of cat memes and feline Instagram stars attest to that. But when it comes to veterinary visits, dogs win, paws down. According to a study by Bayer Animal Health, half of all American pet cats do not see a veterinarian regularly. And Banfield reports that in their more than 900 veterinary hospitals, only one cat is seen by a veterinarian for every five dogs, despite many studies reporting that there are nearly eight million more pet cats than dogs in the U.S.

Even though they may love their pets, many cat owners don’t take their cats to the veterinarian for routine wellness visits. Cost can be one of the obstacles, and even more than cost, the belief that cats don’t need veterinary care as much as dogs.

“It’s not that cats are inherently healthier than dogs,” says Jane Brunt, DVM, Executive Director of the CATalyst Council, a coalition whose mission is to connect people and organizations to transform the health, welfare, and value of companion cats, and owner of Cat Hospital At Towson in Maryland. “It’s that they are stoic about their symptoms, making it nearly impossible for even the most observant pet owner to recognize signs of potential problems.”

Routine wellness exams can uncover illnesses before they become life threatening — and expensive. 


The other reason that tops the list is getting the cat to the veterinary clinic in the first place. “Cats are fast learners,” says Brunt, “and if the only time a carrier is around is right before an unfamiliar experience, cats will learn to hide when they see or even just hear it.” And that’s just the beginning. “Once the owner drags their cat out from under the sofa,” she says, “there’s still the challenge of getting the cat into the carrier, followed by an uncomfortable ride in a car with a beloved pet who is scared and yowls the entire trip. It’s no wonder so many people avoid taking their cat to the veterinarian.”


The CATalyst Council is calling attention to the gap in preventive veterinary care that exists between cats and dogs by supporting National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day on August 22. The goal is to reduce that gap by increasing awareness of the importance of routine veterinary care, sharing tips on how to make a trip to the clinic less stressful and encouraging cat owners to make appointments for their feline family members to be seen by a veterinarian.


Brunt has several tips to help make taking your cat to the veterinarian a more pleasant experience.

  • Bring the carrier out at least a week before the appointment. Better yet, leave it out so the cat can get used to it, explore it, and maybe even curl up and take a nap in it. 
  • Make the carrier more attractive by placing treats, catnip or favorite toys in the carrier. 
  • Brunt recommends putting a recently worn article of your clothing — like a t-shirt or sweatshirt — in the carrier. “This can help make the carrier a safe place for your kitty — with something to snuggle in or hide under,” says Brunt. “Plus, in an unfamiliar place like a veterinary clinic, your scent can provide additional comfort to your cat.”
  • Brunt also suggests working with your veterinarian ahead of time to come up with a plan to reduce your cat’s stress. This may include feline facial pheromone spray or wipes, or prescription medications that will help most cats be less anxious. “Remember,” says Brunt, “cats are both predators and prey. They are the hunters and the hunted. It helps for both cat owners and veterinarians to see the world from a feline perspective, understanding what makes them anxious or afraid, and then taking steps to prevent, minimize and manage those fears.”


It may also help to bring your cat to a feline-only practice, says Brunt, or consider taking your cat to an AAFP-designated Cat Friendly Practice®, or a clinic that has been certified as Fear Free. Facilities and practitioners with these designations are focused on making visits to the vet as stress-free as possible.


To help cat lovers everywhere get involved in National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day, Royal Canin is asking cat owners to share a photo of their kitty or offer tips for a less stressful visit to the vet. For every post tagged with #Cat2VetDay in August, Royal Canin will donate $5 to Frankie’s Friends, a non-profit that helps with the cost of veterinary care for pets whose families can’t afford the full cost of treatment.

“Cats require more than love,” says Brunt. “They need our attention and care to keep them healthy and happy. And taking them in for routine wellness visits is one of the best ways to keep them purring for a long time.”


Summer at sparklecat.com said...

These are awesome tips! We really aren't bad about the vet like some kitties. Nobody is happy about it, of course, but it's not more than mildly annoying most of the time, at least for Binga and Boodie. I always keep my paws crossed that there are no dogs in the waiting room so I can hang out on my leash.

Dash Kitten said...

We wish we had a cat friendly practice here in New Zealand. Ours is run by a charity that takes in many different animals so cat time has gone out the window. The place of full of dogs now - mum is not really happy, even though they are OK people.

Andrea and the Celestial Kitties said...

Great tips. We have had our Cashmere to the vet quite a bit recently and I had to laugh when the vet suggested that we need to keep her as stress free as possible. The ONLY thing that stresses her out is going to the vet and getting medicine! Other than that, she's a very chill kitty! Of course, I didn't tell him that he was her biggest stressor, MOL

Fur Everywhere said...

I hope that more awareness is spread about the importance of taking cats to the vet on a regular basis. Thank you for sharing all of these tips - they are great!

Roby Sweet said...

Excellent tips! Our Paisley used to run and jump into the carrier when we brought it out (she still hated the actual trip to the vet though). But the last couple vet visits, she hasn't done that. Suddenly she doesn't like the carrier, and we're still trying to figure out why. She still goes to the vet anyway. :)

The Island Cats said...

Great tips! Even though we don't like going to the vet, we know how important it is for us to go.

The Menagerie Mom said...

Oh, I can't believe I forgot that it's Take Your Cat to the Vet Day. I am so glad you reminded us with this fantastic post! Thimble actually gets to celebrate by going to the vet today, for a recheck of her impacted ear wax. I don't know if she finds the timing as cool as I do. Purrs!

Random Felines said...

well said....

Anonymous said...

Interesting info!

Caren Gittleman said...

Great post! As you know, we are HUGE believers in "wellness visits", well, all of us except Cody lol!! catchatwithcarenandcody

pilch92 15andmeowing said...

Excellent post.I have been at the vet way too often lately.

Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat said...

That's an absolutely stunning picture of you, Mudpie! And your vet has peanut butter?!?! I'm so jealous! ~Bear Cat

Eastside Cats said...

Cats are really good at pretending that nothing is wrong! I really wish we could take Chuck directly into the exam room, instead of sitting in the waiting room with woofies and phones ringing and foot traffic. Guess I'll call ahead next time, and make sure we do that.

Anonymous said...

It seems I am always at the vet with someone. It is easy to think all is well, though. Being a former vet tech, I know how critical it is to never assume. Thanks for this post.