THE FORGOTTEN CAT
Cats are being poorly served when it comes to medical care. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that there are over 90 million cats in homes in the US. This is 10 to 20 million more cats than dogs. But sadly cats only see the vet a fraction of the time that dogs do. Cats are endearing, delightful, and loving pets. Google reports that “Cats” are searched over 30 million times a month on the internet! The You Tube video Keyboard Cat has been viewed over 41 million times. There are more multi-cat households than there are multi-dogs households. Cats bring love and happiness into families and homes. Anyone who says they don’t like cats, just has never had or known a cat.
So why is it that cats are brought to the veterinarian half as often as dogs? Surveys of cat owners show that many cat owners don’t understand the need for preventative care. Here are some of the common reasons given:
Sick cats often don’t act sick.
Cats are masters at hiding their illness. Many behaviorists believe that cats have adapted this stoic behavior to avoid predation. Cats are solitary animals and tend to hide when they are not feeling well, so cat owners often just don’t know their cat is sick. In many homes cats share a bowl of dry food with other cats, so it may not be easy to tell if they’ve stopped eating.
With early detection, most of the diseases we see in cats are very treatable.
Dental disease, arthritis, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, lower urinary tract disease, and most other cast diseases are not infectious, and have nothing to do with whether or not the cat goes outside.
Parasites are very common in indoor cats. Fleas can hitch-hike into a home on another pet, or even a person. Heartworm disease which is deadly in cats, is transmitted by a mosquito bite. Mosquito’s seem to have a preference for cats over humans and dogs, and will often zero in on a cat. 25% of cats that get Heartworm disease are indoors only.
Cats can’t tell us when they’re in pain.
Many cats suffer in pain and their owners just don’t know it. More than 50% of cats over the age of three years with have painful dental lesions called FORLs (aka Resorptive lesions). Over 90% of adult cats develop painful arthritis. Most veterinarians didn’t even know this until recently. We can help these cats live better, more comfortable lives. Too many cats suffer in silence.
WE know the most important reason why cats don’t get to the vet. They just don’t LIKE to go, and it’s just too difficult to get them there! Cats are winning the war of wills, but they’re losing when it comes to good health. Too many cats suffer from pain and die before their time because they don’t receive timely preventative care.
We (veterinarians at OVH) have ways to help make the trip easier and less stressful for you and your cat. Talk to us about any problems your cat has had with previous trips. We’ve learned a lot about reducing stress and anxiety in cats.
We have many ways to make the trip easier. We can show you how to make the cat carrier a comfort spot for the cat. Spray Feliway (a cat pheromone that calms cats) onto a warm towel and place it in the cat carrier. (If you don’t have a carrier, we can give you one!)
Think your cat needs a sedative (or something to relieve fear and anxiety) for the trip. We will be happy to dispense something to make the trip easier.