Cats are one of the most popular pets in Canada. With their fiery characters, independent lifestyles, and humorous behaviors, is it any wonder why our feline friends have become such a loving addition to our homes? Although there is a rise in the number of cats being kept as pets, we unfortunately do not see many of these purring loved ones in our veterinary clinics for annual health exams.
There are many reasons why owners are skeptical about bringing their kitties to the clinic, including the idea that they are independent and can take care of themselves. However, whether your cat is strictly an indoor cat or has a more adventurous spirit and ventures outdoors, it is important to bring your furry friend to your veterinarian for an annual check-up. Here are some of the common reasons why you may be avoiding a visit to the veterinary office, and reasons why these assumptions are simply not true.
1) My cat stays indoors: Although keeping your cat indoors greatly reduces the risk of developing disease, contracting parasites, or being hit by a car, your cat is not completely immune. Cats are very curious by nature, and many will try to escape. If successful and they have never been vaccinated, they will be susceptible to many contagious and sometimes fatal diseases.
2) Veterinary costs are expensive: Although the costs of medical care can add up quickly, it is much more financially economic to prevent rather than treat. When possible, try to place a small amount of funds aside. This will help make the cost of a preventative exam seem like less of a burden. If in doubt, just remember that waiting until a problem arises can cost hundreds and up to thousands of dollars to treat depending on the illness or problem. Many times these illnesses can be avoided by a simple vaccine.
3) My cat has no issues/ looks perfectly healthy: Cats have an inherent instinct to hide their pain and illness. This stems from their ancestors having to survive in the wild. Sometimes owners often miss small changes in their pet’s behavior that may signal pain or illness. Small changes can include, hiding, drinking more/ less, eating less, sleeping more, less likely to go to their favorite perching spots, and spending more time in their litter.
4) My cat is older and has already had many vaccines: As your pet ages, it is even more important to bring him to the vet. With age comes a decrease in immunity and therefore boosters still need to be done. This is also the time where we may start to see serious health issues such as chronic kidney disease. Doing an annual blood test can help detect these illnesses
sooner and therefore increase your pet’s quality of life and longevity and decrease the cost of treatment.
5) My cat gets too stressed when visiting the veterinary office: There are now many ways of reducing the stress of traveling and visiting the veterinary office with your cat. Some solutions are as simple as getting your cat used to the carrier prior to a visit and some solutions may require certain medications to help calm your pet if he is very nervous. With such a wide range of options, it can be hard to know exactly what is most suitable for your cat. Calling your veterinarian in advance will allow you to discuss what options are best for your pet.
Your cat is a valued member of your family, and therefore deserves the best health care he can possibly get! If you are still uncertain or have questions, please feel free to call your veterinary team for more information. Above all else, remember, prevention is key to the well-being of your beloved pet!