August 22nd is National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day! A 2011 study showed that 40% of cat owners have not taken their cat to the veterinarian in the last year! Many of these cat owners said they don’t visit the vet more often because there’s “nothing wrong,” or “it’s too much of a hassle.” But would you refuse to take your child to the dentist because he’s throwing a temper tantrum and you don’t see a cavity? Of course not! You want your loved ones to be healthy. The same goes for your pets. It just takes some extra effort and understanding to get your cat to the vet!
Whether you have an indoor or outdoor cat, a young or old cat, it’s important to visit your veterinarian at least once a year, regardless of whether or not your pet is due for vaccinations. Here are just a few reasons why:
1. Cats are known for putting on a brave face, so you might not be able to tell if your cat is ill or in pain. With a physical exam, your veterinarian can detect any problems–current or potential. He or she may find anything from an injury to early warning signs for heart murmurs, diabetes, dental disease, or hyperthyroidism.
2. Your veterinarian can administer vaccinations that can prevent death from diseases like rabies, distemper, or leukemia. You and your veterinarian can determine a vaccine plan for your cat’s lifestyle. Even indoor cats need vaccinations.
3. You want your vet to become very familiar with your cat’s weight, coat condition, and personality. If you veterinarian sees you and your cat regularly, he or she will learn “normal” attributes for your cat. This way, your veterinarian will know exactly what you mean when you call in a panic saying, “Fluffy just isn’t acting like himself!”
Now that you know why you should take your cat to the vet, let’s review tips on how to make the experience more pleasant!
1. Practice regular care with your cat at home, like grooming, nail trimming, and brushing teeth. Also, gently touch your cat’s face, ears, feet, and tail so that he or she will be used to similar procedures during an exam.
2. Have a carrier that fits your cat. Large kitties will feel stressed being crammed into a small cage; wouldn’t you? Invest in a bigger, more sturdy carrier.
3. Get your cat used to the carrier. A few days before your appointment, leave the carrier out with the door open. Place a treat inside. Do this every day leading up to the visit. Also, put a blanket or towel with the cat’s scent or your scent in the carrier. A spritz of Feliway, a product that mimics a cat’s natural pheromones, inside the empty carrier will also go a long way to easing your cat’s nerves.
4. Praise your cat while he or she is in the carrier. When you get to the vet’s office, offer more praise, treats, and cuddles. Reassure your cat that he or she is safe.
5. If your cat panics around curious canines in the waiting room, consider visiting a cat-only veterinarian clinic or ask to be placed in an exam room upon arrival.
Call your veterinarian today to set up an appointment for your cat! Find more tips for a cat’s fear-free vet visit here!