Year after year, veterinary medical research reports show that the number of vet visits for cats is only 50% of the entire cat population. This lack of vet care for cats can have serious ramifications:
- Cats can suffer from untreated medical conditions.
- Diseases are not caught in the early stages when the treatment outcomes are best.
- Treatments are administered at later stages of disease when it’s more expensive to treat.
Virtually every research study that’s been released confirms that cats are treated very differently from dogs, when it comes to veterinary care – and there are a number of reasons why.
Why Vet Visits for Cats are Far & Few Between
Here are the top reasons why cats get far less veterinary care than dogs:
Masked Pain & Hiding The Signs of Illness – Cats are predators but they also can become prey. When an animal shows weakness or signs of pain in the wild, it immediately becomes a target for hungry predators. Thus, most cats exhibit the instincts of felines in the wild, i.e. “Don’t show signs of pain or weakness.” Many cat owners are surprised to find their cat has a medical condition and routinely exclaim, “Gosh, my cat didn’t show any signs of discomfort.”
Perceived “Independence” – Research study after research study shows that pet owners perceive their dogs as companions and dependent on them. The same research shows that many cat owners perceive their cats as “independent.” The psychology behind this is: “My cat’s independent. She doesn’t need any veterinary care.”
“Indoor Cat” Assumptions – Roughly 63% of cats living in cats-only households live indoors exclusively. Many cat parents mistakenly assume that cats kept sequestered indoors are safe from contracting diseases. However, some of the biggest diseases that cats develop are diabetes, heart conditions, and thyroid issues. These diseases strike indoor cats as well as outdoor cats.
Stressful Vet Hospital Visits – Close to 60% of cat owners who were surveyed said their cats hate going to the vet, and are very stressed out by that process. This includes cats being fearful of going into a cat carrier, cats who don’t like riding in the car, and cats that don’t like the noises, smells, and strangeness of their veterinary hospital. As a result, many cat parents simply don’t take their cats to the vet to avoid the stress.
How To Make Vet Visits for Cats Low-Stress & Fear Free
There are a variety of common sense ways to make vet visits for cats both a low-stress and fear-free experience. Here are some tips to improve your cat’s health care by eliminating the barriers to visiting the veterinary hospital for cat care.
Create Cat Carrier Comfort – This one is simple: leave the cat carrier out so your cat is familiar with it. In addition, periodically put your cat in the cat carrier at the house. When you let me out after a short period of time, praise them and give them treats.
Food in the Cat Carrier – Another great strategy is to keep the cat carrier accessible in the house (vs. in a closet), and periodically feed your cat inside the carrier. Over time, your cat will begin to associate the cat carrier with good things like food.
Practice Car Rides – If you were taken somewhere where strangers poked and prodded you every time you went for a car ride, eventually, you would associate the car ride as leading to a nasty destination and discomfort. Help your cat dis-associate from the car ride experience by putting them in a cat carrier and taking them for a ride somewhere, and then coming home. (Do not, however, put your cat in a cat carrier, and then leave it in the car on a summer day. That will lead to heat stroke and irreversible damage to your cat’s organs.)
By deploying these techniques to help de-sensitize your cat to the stresses of traveling in a cat carrier in a car, vet visits for cats won’t be as stressful. This allows cat parents to feel better about taking their cats to the vet for regular check-ups and more consistent veterinary care. The long-term results are a healthier cat who will be in your household longer, and early treatment of diseases your cat my be developing.
Sky Canyon Veterinary Hospital Cat Parent FREE Offer:
Bring your cat in for its annual exam in August 2018, and the Sky Canyon Veterinary Hospital team will give your cat a FREE nail trim.*
*Domestic cats only; cats must be reasonably willing to undergo a nail trim.
Need a quality veterinarian who specializes in exceptional veterinary care for cats and dogs? Contact Sky Canyon Veterinary Hospital, or call 970.985.4911 to schedule an appointment.