23 Aug Why are cats less likely to visit the Vet?
Studies indicate that over 80% of newly acquired cats visit the veterinarian the first year. After that, the number of cats visiting the vet declines to around 50%.
Why don’t cats see their doctors as often as dogs? There are many factors that contribute to this. Taking the cat to the veterinarian is usually a much more stressful event for both the cat and the owner. Cats do not usually ride in the car well and this necessitates putting them in a cat carrier. Getting the cat into the carrier may also be an adventure, and may include a chase around the house and a battle when placing the cat in the carrier.
Another reason for infrequent vet visits is that cats will hide symptoms of illness. While some owners observe any changes in behavior that may indicate a potential problem, others may miss these very subtle signs. Cats also often go off and hide or spend more time outdoors when not well and illness may not be noticed until it is serious. If signs of illness aren’t readily observable, cat owners will postpone vet visits.
To reverse this trend, many veterinary clinics are making an effort to become more cat friendly. Separate waiting areas for dogs and cats and “cat only” examination rooms help to lessen the stress to the cats. The use of stress-reducing pheromones – both as wall diffusers and as a spray that can be used for towels and examination table mats has been shown to have a calming effect on fearful or anxious cats.
Education also helps to emphasize the importance of regular veterinary visits. According to pet insurance statistics, most of the claims submitted for treatment of cats involve treatments for illnesses such as renal disease and hyperthyroidism which, if diagnosed early, can be treated and/or controlled to maintain a good quality of life.
August 22 is “Take Your Cat to the Vet” day. If you have been putting of your cat’s annual examination for any of the above reasons, call us. We can offer solutions that can make a vet visit more pleasant for both you and your feline friend.