As much as we love our cats, it is sad to realize that they don’t receive the appropriate amount of veterinary care. Just like with our own health, it is always best to be proactive and take preventative measures to help our pets live a comfortable and happy life. Cats outnumber dogs as the most popular companion animal, the number of cats taken in for veterinary care though has declined. Many people are under the mistaken belief that cats are independent and therefore do not require the same level of medical care as our canine companions. Just because you don’t “see” something wrong with your cat doesn’t mean there isn’t a potential medical problem going on internally. Cats like many dogs are also very stoic and so they are good at hiding pain. Unfortunately, you may not realize that your kitty has been injured or is suffering from a stomach ailment or urinary problem until he or she has reached a point of severe suffering.
Importance of Annual Exams
Wellness exams are important and a great way to catch something early, before it becomes a major problem. This can save your cat needless suffering, increase the chance of a full recovery and can save money on long-term medical costs. During an exam your veterinarian may be alerted to a potential problem and advise you on any recommended change in diet, medication or lifestyle. Routine blood work and diagnostic testing can catch potential problems in their earliest stages.
There are many reasons why cat parents may be reluctant to take their cats in for wellness exams; cost is high on the list but another reason that is often cited is that it is too stressful for the cat and the human family member. It may be very difficult to get the cat in the carrier at home and he or she may become fractious while at the clinic (and even after returning home). Fear of stressing the cat out or fear of handling a fractious cat are absolutely legitimate concerns but do not let that be the reason for neglecting to provide quality medical care. If your cat becomes stressed out at the thought of being in the carrier then it’s time to do some behavior modification work to help her become more comfortable with travel. This process is important to do anyway because there may be times when you have to transport your cat and can become less stressful through working with you feline companion. Below is some information on how to work with you cat to make travel safer for both parties involved.
How to Train Your Cat to Travel Well
One of the major sources of stress for cats during travel is confinement within a cat carrier that has only been used to transport the cat. If either the travel itself or the destination is unpleasant, the cat will develop further negative associations with the carrier, seeing it as a signal of the impending veterinary clinic visit. Training kittens to enjoy being in their carrying boxes can make these outings far less traumatic for all involved. Even when cats are older it is possible to break down the negative image of the carrier and work to make it a safe haven rather than a prison cell. For cats that get accustomed to spending time in their carrier, the carrier may actually help to settle the cat when the cat is traveling, visiting, or hospitalized. How secure an individual cat feels when placed in its carrier will depend on the amount and type of previous training, as well as individual personality differences between cats.
The first step is to select the right sort of carrier for your cat. There are a number of things to consider. The ease of cleaning and the way in which you put the cat into, and take it out of, the carrier are factors that are likely to be determined by your own preferences. Some cats are far more relaxed when they can see what is going on around them, in which case a wire basket is better for them. Others feel more secure when they are totally hidden from view, and a solid cat carrier will be a better choice for these individuals. Cats may prefer to enter and investigate carriers that have a front opening, a top opening or both. However, for owners, removing the cat from the top may be easier, especially if the cat is not ready or willing to voluntarily leave its carrier.
Whichever type of cat carrier you purchase, the most important step is to introduce the cat to a carrier for which there has been no previous negative experience and to keep it available for the cat to investigate. You can increase the chances that the cat will use or explore the carrier by putting treats, play toys or food inside, by lining it with a warm blanket, and by keeping it in an area where the cat likes to play and sleep. In some cases, beginning with the top off the carrier may encourage investigation and as the cat becomes more comfortable the carrier can be closed. Some cats may quickly take to the carrier as a sleeping, security or hiding area. Do not attempt to force your cat into the carrier. Your cat should first learn to enjoy and feel comfortable in the carrier before you begin to use it for transport.
Common Cat Aliments
Keep your cat healthy by keeping yourself informed about cat illnesses and symptoms. Below are some warning signs and symptoms of many common cat diseases.
- • Upper Respiratory Infection: A cat’s upper respiratory tract-the nose, throat and sinus area-is susceptible to infections caused by a variety of viruses and bacteria. By far, viruses are the most common causes of upper respiratory infections in cats.
- • Gingivitis: is considered the earliest stage of periodontal disease. This stage is reversible with proper care. It is indicated by inflammation of the gingiva, or gums. In the early phases of gingivitis, some plaque is present and there is a mild redness of the gums, but the gingival surfaces are smooth. Unhealthy teeth and gums have greater impact on the body than just causing bad breath, pain and infection. As the gums have a rich blood supply, bacteria is readily transported to other organs (such as the liver,kidneys etc.) in the body causing damage and even organ failure.
- • Urinary issues: Many cats can suffer from an infection of the bladder, or more commonly and most dangerous is FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease) which is the inflammation of the bladder or urethra, formation of urinary crystals/stones in the bladder, and partial or total obstruction of the urethra. Complete urethral obstruction is fatal if left untreated.
- • Kidney Disease: is the inability of the kidneys to remove waste products from the blood. The buildup of toxic wastes produces the signs and symptoms of uremic poisoning. Kidney failure can come on acutely or occur gradually over weeks or months either from urinary blockage, trauma, or poisoning to name a few.
- • Diabetes: is a condition that develops when your cat can no longer use glucose (sugar) effectively and control the sugar level in their blood. Signs include increased thirst, rapid weight loss, not wanting to eat, tired and lethargic, vomiting and increased urination.
Now keep in mind every patient is different and may present with one or more symptoms or none at all. The month of June we would like to encourage our feline friends to come in for an exam with our wonderful Veterinarians and let’s discuss what is needed and is important in helping your feline friend to live a long and health life. Call today to schedule an appointment.