Just Half of Cat Parents Do This. What About You?

By Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Every morning when I get up, I’m greeted by the adorable faces of my cats, Turdie and Olivia. After breakfast, Turdie curls up next to me for coffee on the sofa while Olivia perches in the loft above. Their quiet presence helps ease me into the morning and sets the tone for the rest of the day.

If, like me, you share your life with one or more of the nation’s estimated 86 million cats, you know what remarkable little creatures they are. Often accused of being aloof, in reality most cats are sweet, loving, affectionate companions.

Yet despite their popularity as pets in this country, cats don’t get the same quality or frequency of veterinary care as dogs do. In fact, a study conducted by Bayer HealthCare and the American Association of Feline Practitioners found that compared to dogs, only half as many cats get regular check-ups.

The study suggests that this may be due to a variety of factors including how a pet is acquired. The more engaged someone is in adopting a pet – either by going to a breeder or rescue – the more invested they are in caring for them. Since an estimated 70 percent of cats are obtained at no cost and 59 percent are acquired unintentionally (“she just showed up at my house”), owners receive little or no instructions on cat care.

Compounding the problem is the reputation cats have for being self-sufficient and independent. This leads many owners to believe that felines can take care of themselves and don’t need human intervention.

But the truth is, kitties need regular veterinary check-ups just like dogs do. They are susceptible to a number of health conditions and diseases including hyperthyroidism, dental disease, kidney disease, diabetes and cancer. Because they’re experts at hiding injury or illness – much more so than dogs – an annual visit may be the only way to catch and treat a medical issue before it becomes a bigger problem.

That’s why August 22nd has been declared National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day (#Cat2VetDay). If Fluffy hasn’t seen her veterinarian in a while, this is the perfect opportunity to finally make that appointment. And just imagine how much fun you’ll both have when the big day finally arrives!

What? You don’t think taking a cat to the vet is fun? Well, you’re not alone. The difficulty of transporting the cat, along with the ensuing stress, is enough to make even the most devoted kitty parents seriously consider canceling the appointment.

Believe me, I’ve been there! But here are a few tips to make things go more smoothly:

  1. Set out the carrier a day or even a week before the visit. This lets your cat get used to the carrier and avoids the dreaded “fishing Kitty out from under the bed” game five minutes before you have to leave.
  2. Make sure the carrier is comfortable and roomy enough for your cat to stand up and turn around in.
  3. Try spraying a cat calming pheromone like Feliway or herbal solution like Rescue Remedy into the carrier and your car about half an hour before your trip.
  4. Talk softly, gently and reassuringly to your kitty on the ride over.
  5. Think about finding a veterinary practice that caters exclusively to feline clientele. Another option is a clinic that has a separate entrance and waiting area for cats.
  6. Get your pet a pet insurance policy to save you money on unexpected vet bills. That won’t calm your cat, but it will surely calm you! *See more on this topic below.

Although it may require a little effort and planning, taking your cat to vet is one of the best things you can do to ensure she lives a long, healthy, happy life snuggled up by your side!

By the way, if you’re concerned about unexpected vet bills, please treat yourself (and your pets) to some important 411 about pet insurance.

My cats have a policy with Petplan pet insurance, which will protect my budget from any unforeseeable vet bills, should my cats become ill or get injured. Wellness visits, on the other hand, are my responsibility as a pet parent.

With the advances in veterinary medicine, there are more treatment options available than ever before. Petplan covers chronic and hereditary conditions, prescription medications, surgery and hospitalization, periodontal disease, cancer treatments, alternative therapies, behavioral therapies and more for the life of the pet – all as standard in every policy.

As a brand ambassador for Petplan, I can hook you up with an exclusive treat—a ten percent (10%) lifetime discount on a policy for your pet. Just use code PETLVG when you sign up. Get a free quote now.

I have an appointment for Olivia and Turdie this Saturday! Do you have a vet appointment on the calendar for your puddy-cat this year? Tell me in the comments below!