Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Blog the Change - take your cat to the vet
Statistics tell the very sad story: kitties do not make it to the vet nearly as often as they should.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association cat visits have fallen 30% since 2001. Cats see the vet about half as often as dogs. This really is a shame. Even if you are purposefully avoiding vaccines, you should not use that as an excuse for putting off having the cat examined. Cats are so good at hiding their health issues you often can not tell something is wrong until it is advanced and often much more difficult and thus more expensive to treat. Annual blood work can catch thyroid, liver and kidney issues before they become life changing. Making sure your cat's teeth are in good shape is also very important. Many people are not comfortable looking in their cat's mouth to check on their teeth and dental issues are as important to cats as they are humans. Having a vet regularly check your cat's teeth will keep their teeth healthy and can help prevent tooth pain and loss.
Many people site stress on the cat as their reason for avoiding the vet visit. Catching a cat, getting it in the carrier, and then traveling by car can all be very stressful. Cats are creatures of habit and it is not each particular thing that is the stressor but the fact that these things do not happen on a regular basis. Cats that routinely travel by car do not find it stressful at all. Going slowly and desensitizing your kitty to being picked up, getting into the carrier, and eventually going for car rides will actually make this easier for you. Take your kitty for short rides around the block. When I worked for a vet we actually had clients bring their pets in to be loved on by the receptionists to try to make the vet office a positive place. Chances are the receptionists at your vet's office would be happy to make nice with your kitty and offer treats and a few chin scritches.
Another benefit of having regular vet visits is that you end up creating a good relationship with your vet. Having a vet who knows you and can pick you out of a crowed, and who likes you and your pet is absolutely priceless. A vet who sees you regularly knows that you are going to be a regular source of income and might be willing to extend you some benefits that they might not be willing to offer someone they have never seen before. Discounted services or free samples might be offered from time to time as veterinarians want to keep their regular clients happy and coming back. They might also be willing to extend you credit if an emergency arises and finances aren't in place to take care of it. I know of several people who have their vet's cell phone numbers to reach them if there is an off hour emergency.
I would like to share this video with you. I really like it as it offers many great suggestions for keeping your kitty calm. While a lot of it speaks directly to the veterinarian, there is no reason why you couldn't take these suggestions with you and offer them up as your vet starts the exam.
Video by catalystcouncil.org
Personally I need to take my own advice. I am currently with out a vet, and my cats are slightly over due for their annual exams. I plan on taking a day or two in the upcoming weeks and scheduling an appointment at a few clinics in the area to go in and spend some time chatting with the vet. I want to find a vet who is willing to work with me, who is open to suggestions and 'new' research. Who does not dismiss 'it came off the internet', who will not lie to me, and are willing to accept 'no' for an answer when they suggest treatments for my cats. Sadly it is a very tall order for the vets I have come in contact with. I am determined to find one though. Hopefully I don't have to drive too far, as Kit tends to get car sick when we drive..
Please, let us not treat our cats like second class citizens and make sure they get the medical care they deserve.