Today is national take your cat to the vet day. While researching this concept, I found a few surprising facts about our habits and beliefs around preventative and maintenance health practices for our cats.
- Veterinary visits for cats have declined by thirty percent over the past fifteen years.
- Despite the fact that there are more pet cats than pet dogs, dogs are seen by veterinarians five times more often than cats are.
It’s speculated that we see cats as being more independent and that we don’t rush to intervene on their behalf. Some of us have grown up with the idea that cats are free agents–plentiful and disposable. Dogs, on the other hand, are more dependent on us–maybe even considered more valuable. Cats come and go in many households. Often, they’re pushed on us by indiscriminate backyard breeders or they’re strays we just start feeding. We come by cats easily—we agree to take them in—but we’re reluctant to spend money on them or go through the hassle of driving a non-compliant cat to the veterinarian.
Some of us believe that cats have fewer health issues. That’s probably because cats can hide their illnesses better. In fact, what does a cat do when he isn’t feeling well? He stays on the sidelines, hides in the closet or under the porch outside. Often it’s difficult to detect a problem with a cat—especially if the cat makes himself scarce.
Dogs, on the other hand are more in your face and a health issue is easier to detect.
Well, this is a good day to think about your cat’s health. Is she eating less enthusiastically? Is she drinking a lot of water or showing signs of malaise? Is her coat a bit scruffy? Is she scratching a lot? Does she sleep more than usual? Does she shy away from your touch? When is the last time she had any vaccines or a well check-up?
The good news is cats live longer now than they did say twenty years ago. You can expect to enjoy companionship with your cat for seventeen to nineteen years. Their average lifespan used to be twelve to fourteen years. And part of the difference is quality veterinary care. I can tell you that we may have lost our Lily by now—actually more than once—if it wasn’t for our veterinarians. They pulled her through after an awful accident, a team of them kept her alive and got her going in a healthy direction after she started to crash due to her kidney disease, and they’ve managed to keep her healthy despite the disease.
If it’s been a while since your cat has seen a veterinarian, especially if there are symptoms you don’t understand, today is a good day to call and make an appointment.