August 22nd: National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day
By: M. Kathleen Shaw DVM, Vermont Veterinary Medical Association
Did you know that Vermonters have the highest percentage of households with cats in the United States? It’s true- we love our feline friends. One action you can take for your beloved cat (besides buying a new toy that they will ignore and play with a paper bag instead) which will keep it happy and healthy have a wellness exam done, yearly. There is no better time to schedule your appointment for a check up than now: August 22nd is National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day. Regular checkups are part of being a responsible caregiver. They can help avoid medical emergencies by detecting conditions or diseases before they become significant, painful, or costlier to treat.
Cats are masters of hiding illness and pain. A physical exam by your veterinarian, who is trained to detect subtle signs of disease, is essential to keeping your cat happy and healthy. During the checkup, your veterinarian will review your cat’s nutrition, lifestyle, environmental enrichment (key resources such as food, water, litter box, scratching areas, play areas, resting areas, etc.), disease and parasite prevention, and behavior. This is also the perfect time for you to ask questions and share any changes in your cat’s behavior. Even very minor changes could be a sign of a medical issue.
A common misconception is that ‘indoors only’ cats don’t need regular check-ups. There are many reasons why they do! Cats age more rapidly than humans, and checkups are crucial because a lot can happen in a “cat year”. By the time your cat is 8-year-old, it would be 48 in human years, which is a long time to go without having an exam. “Indoor only” cats can still develop heart disease, obesity, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease, and so many other diseases that can only be detected by a thorough exam by your veterinarian.
Two major sources of pain that any cat can develop (which they are good at hiding), regardless of indoors or outdoors dental pain and arthritis. Did you know cats have 30 teeth? That’s a lot of potential for problems! In fact, dental disease is the most common disease in cats 3 years and older. Often there aren’t any obvious signs and the cat will still eat without a noticeable change in appetite. This doesn’t mean there is not dental pain- it’s just that the cat is good at hiding it. (If you’ve ever had a cavity, you know it hurts all of the time, but you still do eat your meals.) Arthritis is extremely common in cats over 10, and cats will often not limp – they will just “slow down” and be less active. Because it hurts. This is often attributed to age, but in fact it is pain for which your veterinarian can evaluate and formulate a plan to alleviate it.
One obstacle we can all empathize with is the dreaded cat carrier. So many of us are reluctant to bring the cat in to the vet because we can’t get the cat there safely. This is a valid concern, as without being in a carrier, a cat running loose in your car risks being killed in a car accident or escaping from the car. At the same time, none of us wants to fight the unwilling cat! An excellent resource on getting your cat into the carrier and to the vet is the website of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, www.catvets.com and choose cat care at home--how to get your cat to the veterinarian. If you don’t have internet access then give your veterinarian a call and discuss they can help you.
We know you love your cats and want to have your beloved feline friends around for a long time. Yearly physical exams are the best way to do it. Call your vet today and schedule a check-up. For more information on why yearly cat visits are essential for your cat, go to www.catvets.com. Dr. Shaw works part time in our Latham Animal Hospital!
11/16/2021 10:27:50 am
If your dental practice marketing efforts do not currently target Google Places, you are losing out in a big way; and, in the process, forfeiting a lot of free and easy-to-win business to other dentists who are either lucky - in some markets simply having a Google Places Page with the right keyword in the title is good enough to get traffic - or who have at least made a modicum level of effort to ensure that Google Places is a core part of their dental practice marketing efforts. Google Places could easily be the best investment of time and effort any dental practice marketing practitioner makes - be it a do-it-yourself dentist-as-marketer or a consultant or agency that offers dental practice marketing services - for three very good reasons.
8/4/2022 08:08:17 pm
Something I really appreciate you discussing in this article is how cats are extremely good at hiding their pain. This might be something I haven't noticed in a long while ever since I became a cat owner, but I have had suspicions about why my cat has been acting slightly different than usual. Since he's not as active as he usually is, I'll take this as a sign that I should take him to a nearby veterinarian right away.
8/22/2022 07:19:30 pm
I didn't know that cats age more rapidly than humans. I knew they lived shorter lives, but I didn't know that they had faster degeneration. I'll have to make sure my cat gets all the vaccinations she needs.
It got me when you said that even indoor cats would need to visit the vet regularly, because they age faster than us humans. In that case, I need to find a clinic here in Phoenix, Arizona, because I was able to adopt a kitten while I was traveling to this place. It was on the day of the move when I saw the kitten, and I should also get it checked to get it vaccinated for my safety as well.
12/8/2022 08:50:08 am
Thank you for mentioning that keeping your cat happy and healthy depends on regular physical exams performed by your veterinarian, who is skilled at spotting early signs of disease. My sister just got a new cat. I'll advise her to take her cat to the animal hospital on a regular basis for checkups and physicals in order to maintain her pet's health.
1/7/2023 10:15:57 am
How many times a month does a cat need to be taken to the vet? Visit <a href="https://journals.telkomuniversity.ac.id/">tel u</a>
2/21/2023 04:06:53 pm
Thanks so much for pointing out that cats are very good at hiding when they're ill or in pain. We have an old cat that we often worry about because she doesn't have proper balance like a cat should. We'll have to look into taking her in to get examined to see if she's hiding any underlying issues that should need healing.
2/22/2023 01:58:47 am
I like it when you said that cats can easily hide their illness and pain which is why taking it to a veterinarian for a physical exam will help detect if they have signs of diseases to keep them healthy and happy. I will share this information with my best friend because she wanted to have a cat as a pet starting this year. It's going to be her first time having an animal to care for which is why she would definitely need the help of an expert to prevent illnesses and ensure that it will live a long life with her.
Leave a Reply.
Nancy Drumm is the general manager of Capital Vets, a family of four AAHA accredited veterinary hospitals in the Capital District of New York.