Friday, August 21, 2020

The Importance of Wellness Care for Cats

We tend to view cats as fiercely independent creatures with little need for routine veterinary care. Plus, they seem perfectly healthy on the outside, so what’s the problem?

It is recommended that both dogs and cats visit their veterinarian at least once a year for a checkup. Yet, there’s a noticeable disparity between dogs and cats when it comes to seeing the vet annually. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), in 2016 , “78.8 percent of dog owners said they brought their animals in for routine or preventive care at least once a year, compared with 47.2 percent of cat owners.”

Why such a large gap? Are cats really healthier in general than dogs? In truth, cats are just as prone as dogs (and humans) to disease, age-related health issues, and other problems. For them to enjoy the best quality of life and to live the maximum number of years, we strongly advise that they see their veterinarian annually so they can get the proper care for their needs. 

Why Do Cats See Their Vet so Infrequently?

There are multiple factors that likely contribute to cats not seeing their vets when they should, and
with regularity. Some of these include:
  • Fearfulness and putting up a fight when their owner attempts to transport them
  • The fact that they can effectively hide signs of pain, illness, and injury, making them seem healthier than they really are
  • A 100% indoor lifestyle, which leads many owners to believe their cats are fully protected from illnesses and parasites
  • Owners finding the cat or getting it for free and not receiving proper care instructions

What Every Cat Needs for a Long, Healthy Life

Cats are not more immune to disease or other health problems simply because they live their entire lives indoors, or show no outward signs of a problem. As with dogs, cats can harbor all kinds of underlying issues that, once they do start showing symptoms, are often much further advanced and harder to treat. It’s better for your cat’s health, and better for your wallet when you keep up with your pet’s treatments and help to keep illness at bay.

To maintain your cat’s health from their first year of life to their senior years, we recommend:
  • An annual physical exam, which includes assessing the mouth, eyes, ears, and whole body, and checking weight, temperature, heartbeat, and respiration
  • Annual blood work and fecal testing to screen for diseases, parasites, and abnormal organ function
  • Vaccinations to protect against rabies and upper respiratory infections
  • Administering flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives to your cat all year round to protect them not only from parasites, but parasite-transmitted diseases, too

Common Health Problems in Cats

So many cat-related health issues can be prevented, or at least more easily resolved, with routine wellness checks and testing. Health problems that most often plague our feline family members include:
  • Periodontal disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Lower urinary tract disease
  • Gastrointestinal disorders

How to Tell if Your Cat is Feeling Unwell

It’s not always easy to tell if your cat is feeling differently than they were yesterday, or the day before. Try to keep an eye out for these warning signs:
  • Eating less or not eating at all
  • Hiding and refusing to come out
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Going outside of the litter box
  • Struggling or unable to eliminate (empty or near-empty litter box)
  • Crying while trying to urinate
  • Grooming obsessively
  • Lethargic
  • Drinking large quantities of water and urinating more frequently
  • Weakness in back legs (reluctant or unable to jump)
  • Rapid weight loss or weight gain
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Discharge from eyes and nose
  • Bad breath (a sign of dental disease)

Every Cat Deserves Complete Care Throughout Their Life

Your cat is a member of your family and they deserve the protection that comes with it. Our goal is to help cat owners enjoy as much time as possible with their felines, and be the very best caregivers they can be for their companions. Routine checkups go a very long way toward preventing harmful, life-limiting diseases in cats, and giving them a better quality of life in general.

If your cat shows any signs of a problem, don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian--who will also be more than happy to advise on how to bring your cat in with minimal struggle! Their health, and life, are more than worth it.

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