Taking Tigger (or Bagheera) to the Vet

“Tigger, that’s T, I, double gher, urr” We all know this happy tiger character from Winnie the Pooh. We also know the naughty, sly and maybe devious feline Bagheera from Rudyard Kipling’s classic, The Jungle Book. When it’s time to take you feline friends to the veterinarian, which of these characters do they most mimic? Many are more like Bagheera or even worse, turning into spitting, growling balls of fury.

So you say to yourself, “Well he is acting fine so I just won’t bother to bring him in. After all, cats are pretty self sufficient, are they not?” Well, you are not alone.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, while an estimated 58 percent of dogs visit the vet for routine examinations, only 28 percent of our feline friends are examined routinely. That’s less than one third of cats in households — a staggering low percentage. It is not that cat parents don’t care for their felines any less than dog parents do, it’s just that it can be stressful for all involved, and “they seem fine.”

This is not always the case. Cats are better at hiding illnesses than dogs and may, in fact, look and act fine, but things are brewing internally that aren’t detected until they progress to a point where your kitty can’t mask symptoms any longer. In some diseases, this could be too late for a good prognosis. Therefore, it is just as important to have your feline companions routinely examined by your vet as your canine friends. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right? In anticipation of National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day on Aug. 22, here are some reasons to make sure to have your cat examined routinely.

  • Wellness examinations: even though they may appear OK, this exam will allow your vet to discuss with you any abnormalities that are detected and provide options to address these BEFORE they get more serious. Things such as dental disease, parasitic issues (worms), flea control, weight gains or losses to name a few.
  • Laboratory tests: blood and urine testing along with examination of fecal samples may be indicated. This is especially true in our older kitties. Kidney disease is quite common in older cats and unfortunately many cats don’t exhibit outward symptoms until there is less than 25 percent of the kidneys functioning. If detected early, there are some simple steps to slow down the progression of this disease.
  • Immunizations (vaccines): prevention, prevention, prevention of many diseases by up-to-date vaccines is very important. Plus, rabies vaccines are required by law.
  • Building baseline knowledge: by having routine examinations by your vet, it allows them to know your cat as an individual, and will make is easier for them to detect abnormalities earlier with your cat’s health.

Your cat’s health is important. It takes routine, regular and in-depth visits to the vet to ensure your feline companion is living as comfortably as possible. When was the last time you brought your cat to the vet for a check up?

 

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