Cats are perceived as being “low maintenance” pets. But because they’re relatively easy to take care of, a common misperception of their special needs prevails. Just like other pets, cats benefit from routine veterinary care, grooming, nutritional counseling, exercise, and more. The outcome? When cat health is a priority, you have a happy cat at home.
The Real Deal on Cat Health
We understand the struggle that cat owners face when it’s time to bring their cat in to for their exam. Notorious for being terrible passengers in vehicles, cats detest being trapped in their travel kennel. And that’s if you can even get them inside it.
The other reason that cats aren’t seen as much as their canine counterparts is that cats always seem fine – until they’re not. Highly adept at covering up any telling symptoms, cat owners are often surprised to learn their cats may have been suffering for some time before the warning signs surfaced, such as:
- Appetite changes (either ravenous all the time or has no interest in eating)
- Changes in amount of daily water intake
- Sudden change in weight
- Lethargy even without exertion
- Litter box problems, like vocalizing, straining, or soiling outside the box
- Bad breath
- Aggression or other uncharacteristic behaviour, such as crying out, biting, scratching, or hissing
- Grooming shifts (either over and under grooms)
- Sleep disruptions
Cats mask their symptoms as a method toward self-preservation, a skill they inherited from their wild ancestors. The truth is that with routine wellness exams, they don’t have to hide them. We discover them before they get out of hand. Early detection is one of the hallmarks of routine wellness exams and helps to support long term cat health.
Routine veterinary exams are recommended for young and adult cats once a year. We can update any vaccinations, discuss the need for parasite prevention, address behavioral concerns, nutrition, weight and more. During these visits we are forming baseline values, or information we track and refer to when changes occur.
Once your cat reaches their senior years (typically around age 6 or 7), we advocate for two annual appointments. As we mentioned earlier, early detection of age-related illnesses is enormously helpful toward effective (and sometimes less expensive) treatment. Common issues for older cats include:
A Cat Health Tip
If you have their weight under control and your cat is active, alert, and engaged, you’ve got a solid foundation of cat health.
One additional element that cannot be overlooked is dental care. The majority of older cats suffer from at least one stage of periodontal disease. This can look, smell, and feel pretty bad, but considering the far-reaching effects of poor oral hygiene, such as kidney, lung, or heart disease, it’s imperative to keep brushing up at home.
Professional dental cleanings and digital radiographs are also paramount to cat health and wellness.
Here to Help
Some cat owners decide to crate train their cats to get them used to traveling; others train them to walk on leash. How ever you are able to get your cat in for their routine wellness exam, we can assure you that it’s well worth the effort.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about cat health, our veterinarians and staff members at Long Animal Hospital are always here for you.