Even though it is the dog days of summer, Wednesday, August 22nd is National Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day. Only half of American cats see a veterinarian on a routine basis. The lack of medical care means feline health concerns remain unaddressed until the condition is severe and more difficult to treat. #Cat2VetDay is a gentle reminder to cat families that their favorite feline deserves preventive health care just like the family dog.
Barriers to Vet Visits
A survey of cat owners, conducted by the pet food company Royal Canin, identified four common excuses cat families use for skipping cat checkups. The barriers include:
- Difficulty getting your cat to the veterinarian – read “My cat hates its carrier.”
- Belief in the urban myth that cats need less veterinary care than dogs.
- Reluctance to ask for time off work to make a trip to the veterinarian.
- Cost of veterinary care.
Overcoming Barrier #1
This is the easiest barrier to overcome. First, leave the carrier out all the time, fill it with a soft, comfy fleece bed and a catnip toy or two, and usually the problem solves itself.
If your cat is really difficult about the carrier, check with your veterinarian about safe, effective and cost-conscious drugs to use when transporting your cat.
Overcoming Barrier #2
The fact that you are reading this post is overcoming the dangerous myth that cats require less health care than dogs. Because sick cats can hide their illness until they are nearly dead, it is easy to see how this myth has been perpetuated. Undoing the myth is a challenge and part of the reason for Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day.
Overcoming Barrier #3
Since over 30% of American households have a feline member, there is a good chance your boss has a cat and will understand if you need to leave early for a veterinary visit. If your boss is not feline-friendly, then look for a cat clinic with evening or weekend hours.
Overcoming Barrier #4
A routine preventive health care visit for your cat is designed to identify problems before they become big expensive ones or require an animal ER visit. To help manage pet health care costs, check with your employer’s human resources office to see if pet health insurance is an option in your benefits package. If not, consider purchasing a policy after reviewing these insurance FAQs answered by AMC’s Usdan Institute for Animal Health Education.
Celebrate #Cat2VetDay by using the steps above as a road map to getting your cat to see their veterinarian annually. Check out these additional resources to help make your cat’s veterinary visits a positive experience for everyone.