As cats age, they must receive yearly physical examinations. These examinations can help veterinarians can detect problems early when they are more treatable. They can also give your cat vaccinations, fecal exams, and parasite control, which can help to prevent infestations and improve comfort.
However, many cats do not receive the exams they need. The reasons for this can include:
- Most cats despise going to the veterinarian. They despise getting into their carrier, as well as the car ride and the stress of the appointment.
- Most owners prefer not to take their pets to the vet unless something is wrong.
- Some cat owners mistakenly believe that if their cat does not go outside, it will not get sick.
- Cats are very good at hiding signs of illness, so owners are often unaware of health issues.
- Because many cats are obtained for free (e.g., they were found or someone gave them the cat) or at a low cost (e.g., from a humane society), they are frequently perceived as low-cost pets.
- Unlike dogs, most cats do not require regular baths, grooming, or walks. Because cats are so independent, there is a common misconception that they do not require extensive veterinary care.
But owners need to remember that cats are very good at hiding their symptoms. Regular exams are the only way to find out if there is something wrong with your cat. The earlier a vet catches it, the quicker treatment can begin.
Keeping Your Cat Healthy
Our Murfreesboro vets have made a list of things you can do to keep your cat healthy.
Keep Vaccinations Up to Date and Invest in Parasite Prevention
A series of vaccines is recommended for kittens and boosters are recommended for adults. Vaccines may or may not be required depending on the cat's lifestyle and risk factors. You can see Animal Medical Center's vaccine schedule here.
Preventing infestations and diseases with parasite prevention medications such as for fleas, ticks, and heartworms is also very important. Infection symptoms vary depending on the parasite and may include hair loss, itching, shaking or scratching the ears, or difficulty breathing.
Dental care is an important part of keeping your cat comfortable and healthy. Brushing a cat's teeth regularly is ideal, but it is often difficult. Dental cleanings are typically recommended every 1-2 years, depending on the cat. Swollen, painful gums, visibly cracked or missing teeth, and bad breath are all symptoms of dental problems.
Weight management is important for good health. Obese cats are more likely to develop arthritis or diseases like diabetes. Fat cats also have a more difficult time grooming properly, resulting in uncomfortable matted fur.
You can keep track of your cat's weight by weighing it regularly. To help your cat have ideal body weight, your veterinarian can provide nutritional consultations and diet recommendations.
Tips for Visiting a Vet
Here are some tips for visiting a vet with your cat. They can make the trip more enjoyable, or at least less stressful, for your feline friend.
- Leave the carrier out in the house and provide treats and toys inside. Allow your cat to recognize the carrier as a safe haven.
- To reduce visual stimulation during the car ride, drape a light towel or sheet over the carrier. Other cars, buildings, and lights can all add to a cat's stress.
- Calming pheromones can have a relaxing effect on cats. Spraying some on the carrier towel or cover can help to reduce stress.
- Call your veterinarian from the parking lot. If you have to wait, ask if you can stay in the car until they are ready to put you in an exam room. This can help to reduce the stress of sitting in a crowded lobby with a lot of pet odors and noises.