Dear Cat Owners!

An important message from your local vet
By Alyssa Travis, DVM, CVMA
Dear cat owners, You’re falling down on the job. OK, not all of you, but a lot of you. A recent study showed that 50% of adult cats are never brought to the vet unless they are sick or injured. This means that all kinds of thing are going unchecked and pet cats may be suffering needlessly. Yup. I said it. Suffering.

I talk to pet owners all day. Many have both cats and dogs and bring their dogs in for all of their routine care: exams, vaccinations, preventatives. But some of these same people never bring in their cats.
The top 2 reasons I hear are: 1) My cat is an indoor cat, so they don’t need anything; or 2) It’s too difficult to get my cat in the carrier and too stressful. I’d rather not put them through that.
So let me address the first part first. Living indoors is not living in a bubble. Cats still age, and as such they change and sometimes hurt. Cats, although we think of them as predators, are also really prey – to any animal larger than they are as well as other cats. And the prey part of their being makes them hide illness and injury because if they don’t they might lose their territory or get beat up or get killed.

So what could be going on with your seemingly healthy indoor cat? Plenty! Every time that door opens, things could potentially come in: did you pet another cat? If so, you could bring home an illness. Did you walk in the dirt? If so, you might have brought in intestinal parasites. Were you wearing pants? If so, a flea or tick could have hitched a ride. Ever seen a mosquito in the house? Yup, they carry disease your cat could get. 50% of indoor only cats have some sort of parasite.
What else? The big ones are dental disease (when’s the last time you looked at your cat’s teeth?), pain and arthritis, obesity, and early stages of diseases like kidney failure, thyroid disease and diabetes. And the percentages aren’t low! About 70% of cats over age 3-5 have dental disease – and it hurts! 50% of cats are overweight, which can lead to arthritis and diabetes. 25-50% of cats have pain, usually back pain. And all those awful diseases? If we catch them early they’re very manageable. If you wait until your cat has lost 5 pounds and isn’t eating…not as much so.
As for getting them there… we can help! Your vet have lots of tips for getting your cat in the carrier, for keeping them calm on the ride, and can even offer sedatives (you’ve heard of “sedation dentistry?” this is the cat version!). Some vets even do house calls and our hospital is trying out a pick up service this January (we’ll come to your house and get your cat, then return him or her all fixed up!) .
OK. Now you know. Your cat may be hiding parasites, a terrible toothache, back pain, or harboring the beginnings of a disease we can nip in the bud. AND there’s help to get them to the vet with minimal stress.

Don’t let your cat suffer from lack of care. We know you love them and want them to be happy, but there’s no true happy without healthy.
So call your vet –
MEOW IS THE TIME!

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