Did you know that more people in the US own cats than they own dogs? I was surprised by this because at Crossroads a majority of their patients, 58% in fact, are dogs. I mean dogs are cool and all, but if there are more cat pets, how come Crossroads isn’t seeing more cat patients? My name is Joey, and I have a few theories…
Let me take a quick minute to introduce myself, though. I am a snugly domestic short haired kitty and I live with my Mom and Dad and two human sisters. My Mom is Traci and she is a client care representative at Crossroads. She has been working there for almost 13 years! One of my favorite pastimes is relaxing on the couch with my sisters while they watch movies because there is always a warm, cuddly blanket waiting for me :). Alright, now back to cats!
My first theory is that people think taking their cat to the veterinarian will be difficult and stressful. While it is true that many cats do not enjoy getting into the carrier and traveling in the car, routine examinations are critical to ensure good health. Here are some tips that are helpful for getting cats TO the veterinarian and to help reduce stress AT the veterinarian.
- First, keep the carrier out! Many cats associate the carriers with stressful situations if their only exposure is being placed in it immediately prior to an exam. Try either keeping the carrier out in the house at all times or bringing it out a few days prior to the visit. Some cats may even enjoy sleeping in their carriers at home if they are familiar enough with them. I like mine, it’s cozy! Not being fearful will make it much easier to get cats into the carrier and keep them happier while in it.
- Cats like the familiar, and treats! Adding a towel or blanket to the carrier that has a known scent can keep us calm and make us feel safe. Toys and treats don’t hurt either. Treats can serve as a positive reward for being in the carrier, and may make us less reluctant to enter in the future. Mom put my catnip toy in my carrier the last time I went to work with her and it really helped (I usually cry in the car and I didn’t because I had my lovey with me!)
- Feliway! This is a pheromone based product that can be used on the carrier or on the blanket that has been shown to decrease stress in cats. Mom has used this in the past as well and it helped. You can get this at Crossroads, in pet stores or online. Super safe and effective and there’s different styles of it available (diffuser, spray, collar, etc.)!
My second theory is that people think their cat is healthy enough and doesn’t need to see a veterinarian. While I hope that every fellow cat is happy and healthy, this isn’t always the case. Cats are prey animals and it is their instinct to hide any symptoms of illness so as not to appear weak and sickly to other animals. This may help them in the wild, but it makes it very difficult for owners to detect early signs of illness. Vaccinations are important in household animals, but this should not be the only reason to bring us to the veterinarian. Yearly, thorough examinations by a doctor can reveal heart murmurs, dental disease, weight loss, swellings/growths, etc. at their first onsets. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to a long life!
It is also very important to protect cats against heartworm disease and fleas and ticks, even if they never step foot out of the house. Mosquitoes are the culprits for transmitting heartworm disease and they easily come into homes through an open door or window on a nice day. Heartworm disease can be hard to detect in cats, is impossible to treat and can cause sudden death. Scary, right? Tick borne diseases are similar! Flea eggs can come in on shoes or another animal and lay dormant in the house for up to 6 months before becoming adult fleas. Giving a monthly preventative, whether oral or topical, is simple and cost effective, and will ensure they are protected against these diseases. If you are unsure about what products you should be using, ask your veterinary professionals! They are more than happy to help you pick the right product for your pet.
So, if you have a kitty that hasn’t been in for a visit recently, call today((603) 437-1010) to make an appointment! Don’t wait, everyone is there to help! Preventative medicine is their goal!
Hope to see you indoor kitties soon!