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National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day is an observance started by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) to highlight the fact that our cats often receive much less veterinary care than our dogs.  Each year, Take Your Cat to the Vet Day falls on August 22.  

Tom Dock, director of communications for Noah’s Animal Hospitals, joined us Monday on “Life.Style.Live!” to share the importance of checking on your cat’s health with a professional. Here’s more from him:

According to a national study performed by AAFP and Bayer Pharmaceutical, more than half of all owned cats (52%) have not seen a veterinarian within the past year. 

Many owners are reluctant to take their kitties in to the veterinary clinic because of the belief that cats are better at taking care of themselves than dogs.  Our felines’ independent nature and their stoic nature (they hide illnesses VERY well) lead many cat lovers to think that their pet is just fine. 

The reality is that cats are good at hiding illnesses because that is a survival instinct as cats are just as much a prey animal as they are a magnificent predator.  Cats also can’t really talk to us to let us know how they are feeling and many people will miss subtle clues that their friend is under the weather. 

59.5% of all cats are considered overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP).  This can lead to diabetes, hepatic lipidosis, increased risk of certain cancers, and a whole host of health issues. 

Cost of care is also another reason.  In another study of cat owners and dog owners, the price of a veterinary visit was more concerning to those clients with cats than dogs.  On average, people who prefer cats as pets don’t’ make as much income as dog people. 

Perhaps the biggest reason cats are not taken in as often as our canine companions is simply the difficulty of transporting them to the veterinarian.  Far too often, veterinary clinics take a phone call from a frustrated cat owner stating that “Fluffy” just won’t get into the carrier! 

To help acclimate your cat to the carrier, leave it out at all times at home.  Put Fluffy’s favorite bedding inside along with occasional doses of Feliway (a feline pheromone).  This should help make getting the pet into her carrier a little easier whenever a trip is needed. 

When the time comes for the doctor visit, consider withholding food for several hours to help minimize travel sickness.   Bring a favored toy or blanket, along with yummy treats which can be given as a reward. 

In some cases, you may need to speak to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications that can be given prior to the visit. 

For more information, click here.