Cats are a lot of things. Beautiful. Independent. Curious. Agile. Did you know they are also masters at hiding illness? That’s right. If your cat is sick, there’s a good chance you wouldn’t even know it. Their skill at hiding illness is one reason why according to the American Humane Society, cats see the veterinarian about half as often as dogs. Sadly, by the time the cat is brought to the veterinarian, their disease is usually more advanced and harder to treat.
Fortunately, there is something cat owners can do. By taking their cats regularly to their veterinarian, they can protect their pet from preventable diseases and detect illnesses early, when they are typically easier to treat. August 22nd is Take Your Cat to the Vet Day, and every cat parent should mark their calendar and schedule a check-up for their furry friends.
So, what can you expect to happen during these check-ups?
First, your veterinarian will take your cat’s vital signs, including weight, and assign a body condition score to determine if your cat is at their ideal weight. They will also examine your cat from head-to-tail, inspecting their eyes, ears, nose and mouth, and listen to their heart and lungs. The physical examination allows your veterinarian to look for subtle signs of disease that your cat may be hiding from you.
Your veterinarian will also recommend and administer any necessary vaccines to protect your cat from preventable infectious diseases. They will check your cat for parasites and discuss products available to prevent parasites, or treatment options if any parasites are discovered.
Many cat parents forgo routine veterinary visits because they find the experience of taking their cat to the veterinarian to be too stressful for them and their cat. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can take steps to make the experience better for your pet. Make the cat carrier more inviting by putting toys and a cozy blanket from home into the carrier. Use treats to reinforce the positive experience. In this case, bribery is completely acceptable!
Remember, while your cat may appear perfectly healthy, they may in fact be hiding an illness from you. August 22nd is Take Your Cat to the Vet Day, so check your calendar and schedule a check-up for your cat today. By following a few extra steps, you can even make the experience easier for you and your cat. To find a cat-friendly practice near you, visit the American Association of Feline Practitioners website.