Cat Owners Aren’t Taking Them To The Vet Enough. That’s A Problem.

Many animal lovers select to foster, undertake or in any other case carry cats into their properties. Not all of these cats, nevertheless, make it to the veterinarian for an annual checkup.

“In 2021, 81.8% of the dog population visited a vet, versus only 39.8% of cats,” Dr. Casey Locklear, a veterinarian and senior medical lead at Zoetis, advised HuffPost. “The journey to the veterinarian looks a little different for every pet owner, however, there are some fundamental differences that can drive this disparity.”

The phenomenon is complicated however not hopeless. HuffPost spoke to Locklear and Dr. Mondrian Contreras, veterinary professional for Pumpkin Pet Insurance, concerning the causes cats don’t make it to the vet as often as canine do, why this is a matter and the way to make sure extra felines get the medical care they want.

Cats have a tendency to cover their ache.

“Since cats are prey animals, they are more likely to hide their pain than dogs,” Locklear defined. “This means it can be difficult to detect subtle shifts in your beloved furball’s behavior.”

This feline intuition to cover ache or misery makes it tough to know whether or not your cat is experiencing a medical situation, so an annual vet go to is much more important.

“Partner with your veterinarian for regular checkups to catch pain and illness early, allowing for needed care so your pet can continue to live their best life,” Locklear stated.

Owners might have a false notion of a cat’s well being wants.

Many pet lovers choose to carry a cat into their dwelling fairly than a canine as a result of they imagine cat possession can be simpler. While this may typically be true, the truth varies from animal to animal. Even in case your cat is low-maintenance, that doesn’t imply it’ll by no means want further care.

“The biggest reason for the disparity between cat and dog vet visits is due to the perception of cats by their owners,” Contreras stated. “Most cat owners see these pets as low maintenance, and if they don’t see anything glaringly abnormal, they feel they are healthy. These owners obviously love animals, but if they are extremely busy, then taking them for yearly checkups is just hard to fit in the busy schedule, especially if nothing seems wrong.”

There might be transportation challenges.

“While dogs oftentimes feel eager and excited to go on a fun new adventure, cat owners feel trepidation about transporting their cat to the vet, as it can be challenging to get them in a car,” Locklear famous.

If your cat is used to easily hanging round inside the home, a change in surroundings might be daunting. Owners might wrestle to calm their cats on the best way to the veterinarian and within the workplace.

“Pick the appropriate carrier for your cat and veterinary team to work with ― bonus points if the lid is removable,” Locklear suggested. “Introduce this carrier to your cat ahead of time and often to acclimate them better.”

Abraham Gonzalez Fernandez by way of Getty Images

Cats usually cover their ache and wrestle in new environments, in order that they’re much less prone to make it to the vet.

But lacking annual veterinary visits can result in greater points.

“Lack of veterinary care in cats can be problematic for many reasons, but simply put, you don’t know what you don’t know,” Locklear stated. “By not seeking annual wellness visits, there can be substantial missed opportunity to detect and intervene in disorders like chronic kidney disease, parasitism and osteoarthritis early. Early intervention can help keep your wonderful feline feeling its best.”

Contreras echoed Locklear, noting that cats undergo from lots of the similar preventable or treatable medical points that canine do, like dental illness, allergy symptoms, weight problems, endocrine illness, and so forth.

“These can be treated successfully if able to address these conditions early before they become a bigger problem,” he defined. “For example, resorptive lesions can affect up to 50% or more of all cats, but can be easily treated, which will help prevent severe chronic pain.”

“Taking care of a cat entails more than just feeding and cleaning the litter box.”

– Dr. Mondrian Contreras, veterinary professional for Pumpkin Pet Insurance

Detecting even minor modifications in your cat’s weight or vitals in comparison with the earlier yr may enable you to acknowledge a possible medical situation.

“I often hear sentiments of ‘Well, we took our pet for its annual appointment, but they didn’t find anything,’” Locklear stated. “It’s essential to realize when you take your pet to the vet ― that is a big win for your pet, and in this case, no news is good news! I want to encourage cat owners to be a wellness advocate for their cat and feel good about the opportunity for care that you just provided your lovable feline.”

She really useful taking the time to debate any wanted vaccinations and parasite prevention methods with the veterinarian.

“An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure,” Locklear emphasised.

Still, progress is feasible.

Although the statistics point out that cats are usually not getting annual veterinary care as persistently as canine are, it’s not unattainable to rectify this disparity.

“The first step to changing feline undermedicalization is awareness,” Locklear stated. “Cat parents like myself should embrace the need for regular veterinary visits, understanding we have come a long way even in the past decade in making trips to the veterinarian with your cat an easy, rewarding and perhaps enjoyable experience.”

She touted the developments in feline veterinary medication and emphasised that many veterinary clinics “have made significant strides to create cat-friendly environments and visits.”

Contreras known as for higher schooling about cat possession and what their on a regular basis care ought to entail.

“It starts with people adopting pets and informing their families that cats are able to live long lives if taken care of properly,” he stated. “Taking care of a cat entails more than just feeding and cleaning the litter box.”

He inspired house owners to brush their cats’ tooth, present correct vitamin, create an enriching surroundings, supply alternatives for train and psychological stimulation, and take their pets to the vet for yearly well being visits.

Understanding how vital it’s to have your cat evaluated by a vet “will in turn provide better short and long term care for them and achieve the ultimate goal of optimal quality of life for cats,” Contreras stated.