Today, Aug. 22, is National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day designed to raise awareness of how important your feline friends get adequate health care. Our companion animals need regular check-ups and their vaccinations to ensure a healthy, happy, long life. But unlike people they can’t tell us when something is wrong. Therefore, the responsibility for their well-being falls on us.
Take your cat to the vet day should be every day, not just one, but like all special events they help raise awareness. It is critical that from day one, your kitty has a regular veterinarian with access to 24-hour emergency service and specialty care.
It seems to make sense. You adopt a cat. You make sure they have proper health care. Yet the statistics show otherwise. According to http://catfriendlypractice.catvets.com, a site set up to help veterinarians offer cat friendly practices, cats see vets less often than dogs, a startling 26 percent less.. Their website cites the following statistics.
- In the United States, there are 86 million owned cats and 78 million owned dogs in the United States.
- Almost twice as many cats than dogs never visit a veterinarian.
- Of the cats that do visit the veterinarian, they average 26% fewer visits than dogs.
- 41% of cat owners visit the veterinarian only for vaccinations.
- 39% of cat owners say they would only take their cat to the veterinarian if the cat was sick.
- 60% of cat owners report that their cat hates going to the veterinarian.
- 38% of cat owners report that they get stressed just thinking about bringing their cat to the practice.
Continuing CFP says, “Studies have shown that older cats visit the veterinarian less often than younger cats and that owners of indoor cats are less likely to place a priority on veterinary care than owners of outdoor cats.”
So there’s no wonder we need a National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day. People need to understand cat behavior, and the value of veterinary care. Many do not realize that cats are masters of hiding illnesses, and when they let you know there’s something wrong, it’s usually pretty far progressed. Additionally, felines share many chronic illnesses with humans: cancer, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, dental disease, and more. Like humans, the older they are, the more susceptible they are to chronic disease.
Make sure when selecting a veterinarian, whether it be a first-time vet, one in a new location, or changing vets, that you have good communication. You want to be able to advocate in behalf of kitty in good and bad times. Perhaps you want to make sure kitty has baseline blood exams to know what his norm is? Perhaps you want to work on a weight reduction plan for one of your more obese cats. Or you may want to ask questions about specific issues like diabetes or feline leukemia?
As with people, there may be the time that the vet’s office is closed, and an accident, such as inadvertently nibbling on a poisonous plant, or finding a piece of string to ingest, or suddenly acting erratically such as having difficulty walking, you will need to seek out emergency care. Make sure you know what arrangements your vet has for emergency care? Perhaps they are on-call, or they may affiliate with a group of vets to provide an emergency clinic? Know where they are and where to find those numbers.
Additionally, you should find out what are their capabilities? When do you need to seek out a specialists? And will they refer you to a specialist if it’s needed? When my Tubby took sick, I took him to a specialist some 100 miles away to be diagnosed with the fatal disease FIP (Feline infectious peritonitis)
Older kitties often incur thyroid disease, bladder infections, diabetes, or other age related illnesses. Cats get cancer like humans. Sometimes the treatment is surgery. They get arthritis like us. You’ll want to have access to these tests to make sure you bring kitty the best possible care?
Sometimes these diseases or surgeries are expensive, and you may want to check into pet insurance so that money does not become the barrier of giving kitty the treatments he needs or opting for euthanasia for something that is not terminal.
Pet insurance have different options. Some cover routine exams and vaccinations. Some don’t cover regular physicals but cover accidents or serious illnesses. Just like with any insurance, it’s hard to know which is best? Factors include cost, age, and physical health.
The ASPCA, pet companies, and many others offer pet insurance? I have to admit, with five, and limited resources I haven’t taken the leap, yet? But I’m curious to find out more. Vet bills like all health care are on the rise, and today, pets have access to much better care.
Most recently, I received an email from Fidoes of Reality, saying “As a pet lover, taking my pet to the vet for regular checkups is important, and I know many of my family members and friends who have cats feel the same way. I’ve been reading lately that a lot of folks don’t take their cat to the vet as often as they should. One of my clients came up with a fun infographic (pictured here) around the topic of “National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day.
I plan to blog about National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day on Fidose of Reality to show that dog people want their cat friends to be healthy.”
Fidose of Reality also shared a press release from Pets Best Insurance www.petsbest.com, announcing their new plan for cats illnesses for as little as $4 a month. Because many people have inside-only cats, they do not feel they need accident insurance. However, take heed, the policy is not available in all states.
The release goes on to say that “With the goal of reducing economic euthanasia and his commitment to the health and well-being of all pets, Pets Best Insurance President Dr. Jack Stephens founded pet insurance in the United States in 1981. A true industry visionary, Dr. Stephens presented the first pet insurance policy to famous television dog Lassie.”
In the next post, Paws for Reflection, will share some basic information you should have when visiting a new veterinarian.
Do you know people who for one reason or another do not take their cats to visit the vet for regular exams or if they are sick? Do you have first hand experience with pet insurance? If so, please share your stories.