There are 13% more cats than dogs in the U.S., but cats make up less than 40% of veterinary patients. There are a number of reasons cat owners don't bring their pets to the veterinarian (lack of knowledge on the importance of yearly visits, owners concerned about transporting their feline pets, or owners concerned about their pets getting stressed while at the clinic).
Our goal is to:
- Educate owners on the importance of bringing their feline pets to the veterinarian once a year.
- Educate owners on how to minimize stress while transporting their cats to our hospital.
- Limit stress while at our facility by bringing your pet straight to the exam room.
- Go above and beyond to keep the noise down while in the exam room.
- Checking clients out in the exam room to decrease exposure to other animals in the reception area.
The importance of yearly visits
Pets age more quickly than we do. A 6 month old kitten is the equivalent of a 10 year old human. A 4 year old cat is the same as a 32 year old human. So skipping a yearly visit would be the equivalent of us going to the doctor every 10 years. There are a lot of changes that can occur with the body in that time.
- Cats are the most common domestic animal with rabies in the U.S.A.
- Studies show that 68% of cats over the age of 3 years suffer from dental disease.
- In the early stages of a disease, cats can hide a lot of their symptoms from the owner
- Heart murmurs and pulmonary disease can be detected through thoracic ausculation
- Abdominal palpation can reveal enlargement of organs
- Ocular exams can detect signs of corneal ulcers or cataracts
- Body condition evaluation. Overweight cats have a shorter life expectancy than normal cats. The veterinarian can go over a weight loss protocol during the yearly visit.
- When the veterinarian takes a history then can detect subtle changes that can be the marker for developing disease.
- Proper diet management
- Vaccines for several feline diseases
- Flea and/or tick control
- Discussing behavioral issues
- Detection of ear mites or ear infections
- Dental disease
How to transport your feline pets
Hill's Pet Nutrition has put together a brochure on how to acclimate your feline pet to transportation in the car.
The Cat Carrier
- Always transport the cat in a carrier or other safe container
- Train cats to view the carrier as a safe haven and “home away from home.” Keep the carrier out in the home. Put treats, favorite toys, or blankets inside to entice the cat into the carrier.
- Carriers with both top and front openings are recommended. Top-loading carriers allow for stress-free placement and removal of the cat and enable them to be examined while remaining in the bottom half of the carrier
- Bring the cat's favorite treats, toys and blankets. If the cat likes to be groomed, bring its favorite grooming equipment.
- If the cat has previously had negative experiences at a veterinary hospital, the veterinarian may prescribe a short-duration antianxiety medication that should be given approximately one hour prior to the visit.
The Car Ride
- Take the cat for regular rides in the carrier, starting with very short ones, to places other than the veterinary hospital
- Because cats may get carsick, do not feed the cat for at least an hour prior to travel.
At the Hospital
- Reward desired behaviors, even small ones, with treats, verbal praise, and other things the cat likes (e.g. brushing, massaging, playing).
- Remain calm and speak in a soft voice to help the cat remain calm. If a situation is upsetting for the pet owner, the cat may do better if that person leaves the room.
- Always allow a trained veterinary team member to handle the cat. Even the sweetest and most laid-back cat can become aroused and fearful in a strange environment. Anxiety may cause the cat to act out of character and bite or scratch.
- All feline vaccines are non-adjuvated reducing the risk of vaccine reactions / complications.
- Feliway (Feline Facial Pheromone) diffusers in our cat ward. By mimicking the cat’s natural facial pheromones, Feliway creates a state of familiarity and security in the cat's local environment.
You can download a printable version here