Today is Take Your Cat to the Vet Day!
It’s so important to take your cat to the vet regularly, but we’ve noticed that cats don’t go to the vet as often as their canine counterparts, and some of that has to do with the way we view cats in our culture. Cats are the most popular pet in the USA, but they go to the vet half as much as dogs do according to the American Animal Hospital Organization (AAHO). Too many believe that cats don’t need medical care because cats are thought of as self-sufficient- or because cats hide their signs of illness and pain so well that disease is overlooked until it becomes a larger problem or is too late.
You should take your cat to the vet as often as their life stage requires. Kittens need to go more often for shots, young/mature adults should go once a year, seniors between 10-15 years should go twice a year, and any kitty older than that should go every 4 months. Does that sound excessive or surprising? We’ll discuss why it should be the norm, below.
Why you should take your cat to the vet yearly, and twice a year as they get older:
1. Preventive care is always better than reacting to the problem after the fact.
Detecting an illness, deficiency, or pain early is more likely if you take your cat to their veterinarian yearly. Early detection means faster care and better health outcomes and less pain for your cats… in addition to hopefully lowering costs of care. Some examples include “detection of congenital defects in kittens, obesity prevention in the young adult cat, and increased vigilance for early detection of renal disease in mature adult and senior cats.”
2. Experts say that half of cats in the US are obese- that’s a lot!
This extra weight makes them more susceptible to diabetes, heart disease, kidney issues, mobility problems, and more. Regular vet visits will help you keep track of your kitty’s weight and other comorbidities.
3. Cats age fast- a lot faster than we do.
So a 2 year old cat is 24 years old in human years, and requires age-specific care, according to the AAHA. A lot of physical changes occur in cats every year, and each stage of life has different medical needs. For example, kittens can have congenital defects, young adult cats might need help with obesity, and early detection of renal disease becomes a priority for adult and senior cats. So much more can happen each year to cats than what we assume.
4. Cats hide their illness and pain very well.
This is another important reason for taking your cats to the vet yearly. Your veterinarian has the eye and expertise to detect issues that need care or medication and will perform pain assessments for your kitties.
5. Cat dental care is typically ignored, but diseases of the teeth and gums are common in cats.
According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, “studies report that between 50 and 90% of cats older than four years of age suffer from some form of dental disease, but fortunately the most common forms of these diseases are largely preventable or treatable with appropriate preventive dental care and monitoring.” The three most common dental diseases are periodontitis, tooth resorption, and gingivitis. It’s important to clean your cat’s pearly whites regularly (yes, this is a thing people do, with lots of patience and positive reinforcement!). Like for humans, dental disease makes life uncomfortable- making eating difficult due to pain and discomfort. Your veterinarian can help you prevent this.
We hope that you have been inspired to take your cat to their vet and scheduled check ups consistently. Cats have medical needs that vary with their different life stages- make sure to keep up with them! We also have more informative articles, such as these cat care do’s, for further reading!
A founding member of the Equipaws family, Frankie can mostly be found working behind the scenes, helping co-create online branding, managing several social media accounts, designing brand collateral, writing copy, and managing events. She also fills in for pet sitters and dog walkers when needed in Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, and South Miami. Her own small pack consists of Boots the Shih Tzu mix and Nutmeg the Chiweenie.