Poet Jean Burden once said that a cat “is still only a whisker away from the wilds” and for many cat enthusiasts, this is the exact reason they love their self-sufficient felines.

Experts believe that cats and humans have interacted with each other for more than 10,000 years. From their humble beginnings chasing rodents away from our food, cats have vaulted into our homes and hearts as North America’s favorite pet. Unfortunately, despite their popularity, cats aren’t treated to the same veterinary care that we provide our canine friends.

There are more than 80 million cats in US households and, after reviewing veterinary medical records, experts have concluded that our felines are actually 30% less likely to visit a veterinarian than dogs. What could possibly cause this difference?

Many people believe that a cat’s independent nature and their self-sufficiency mean that they are pretty low maintenance. After all, owners don’t need to walk their cats in a heavy rain or freezing blizzard. So, if cats are so good at taking care of themselves, they must not need a doctor, right?

Additionally, more than 50% of cat owners report that they have a difficult time transporting their pets or that the last trip to the veterinarian was too stressful for the kitty.

As small to medium sized predators, cats instinctually hide their illnesses to avoid becoming dinner for a bigger predator. Pet owners can often miss the subtle signs that their kitty isn’t feeling well.

The unfortunate result of all of this is when our veterinarians do see cats, they are often faced with advanced problems that are more costly and difficult to treat. Extensive kidney disease, uncontrolled diabetes and even widespread parasites top the list of feline issues. One study showed that flea infestations in cats have increased by 12% in the last five years and ear infections are up more than 34%!

At The Animal Medical Clinics of Peachtree City & Fairburn, our goal is to help our cat owning clients understand that a visit to the veterinarian is more than just a couple of vaccinations for their cats. A full physical examination done annually by one of our veterinarians is the first and probably most important thing a pet owner can do for their beloved feline. This exam can often spot early issues before they turn into big, expensive problems.

Additionally, we will discuss with you which vaccines your cat actually needs and which ones can be avoided. We will review your cat’s risk factors and the overall prevalence of specific diseases in our area to make the best recommendation. Although adverse reactions are always a risk, this dialogue can help minimize any potential danger.

We are continually working to make your cat’s visit to us as easy as possible. We have a separate waiting area for cats and their owners. After all, no cat wants to be seated next to a big, scary dog! In addition, if your cat is nervous or stressed we will work quickly to have your cat on his or her way home as soon as possible.

Cats have been described as “aloof” or even “narcissistic”, but there really is a lot to admire about these wonderful animals. They are athletic, graceful and innately curious, qualities that we really appreciate.

 

 

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