August 22nd is designated “National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day“. The veterinarians at the Ann Arbor Animal Hospital, and cat lovers everywhere, would like to gently remind cat owners that an important step toward keeping your beloved feline healthy is to ensure they receive routine preventive health check-ups annually.
Many cats haven’t been to the vet since they were kittens
Here’s a concerning statistic: while 83% of cats received a preventive health care visit before their first birthday, over 50% don’t return until they become ill or are experiencing some sort of discomfort. Regular checkups can help your veterinarian diagnose an underlying health condition before it evolves into something that negatively affects your cat’s long-term health and quality of life.
From our unique perspective with respect to caring for pets, we’re aware of the fact that dogs have far more vet visits per year on a per capita basis compared to cats. Over the average life span of a cat, the absence of annual preventive health care visits is significant.
For example, Ann Arbor Animal Hospital offers Preventive Health Plans (PHPs) for both dogs and cats, introduced in 2016. Since then, Canine Preventive Health Plans represent 86.7% of total PHPs provided whereas feline PHPs only totaled 13.3%. These statistics further support our experience of fewer feline visits compared to canine visits.
More cats, fewer vet visits
In 2014, Bayer funded a “veterinary care usage study” containing alarming statistics regarding feline veterinary visits. Research showed feline visits to veterinarians decreased 14% from 2001 to 2011, according to the 2012 US Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook published by the AVMA. This was despite an increase in the cat population during that period.
Why schedule regular check-ups?
- Cats age MUCH more rapidly than humans.
- Cats are masters at hiding sickness and pain.
- Your cat may be overweight or obese like 50% of U.S. cats and in danger of related health problems.
- During your visit, you can discuss any behavior changes with your veterinarian.
- Prevention is the best medicine: it’s easier, safer and cheaper to prevent health problems than to treat them.
So, we encourage readers to heed this gentle call to action… participate in Take Your Cat to the Vet Day. Take your feline four-legged child to your veterinarian for a routine, annual preventive health care visit! And commit to doing the same every August thereafter.