Why Preventive Care for Cats is Important
We love the fun, unique personalities of cats. But behind their mysterious behaviors lies a very important secret: it can sometimes be hard to tell whether your cat is well or not.
We’ve all heard the adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and this is never more true than with the health of our pets. Cats need preventive care, and avoiding illness is always easier on you and your beloved feline (not to mention your wallet). So, let’s take a look at why preventive care for cats is so important!
The reason it can be difficult to tell when your cat is sick has to do with their survival strategy. In the wild, cats who are perceived as weak can become a target for predators. In order to survive, they’ve developed a deep natural instinct to hide signs of pain or discomfort.
This, of course, means you may not know your cat is sick until an illness has become advanced. This leads us to the importance of preventive care for cats.
Preventive Care for Cats
Preventive care revolves around regularly scheduled physical exams to maintain optimum health.
Cats age faster than humans, so they should see their doctor more often than we see ours. For example, a 2 year old cat would be the equivalent of 25 in human years. After that, cats mature at a rate of 4 years for every 1 human year. This rapid aging process makes preventive care for cats even more important.
The American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association have standardized guidelines focused on preventive care for cats. Below are their recommendations:
History – Your first hand knowledge and observations of your cat at home can be invaluable to guiding your veterinarian’s focus during an exam. Questions to consider include the amount they eat and drink, whether they go outside or not, if there are other pets in your household, and questions about their activity and demeanor.
Physical examinations – Even healthy cats should be examined at least once a year and preferably twice. A comprehensive physical can uncover many issues, including enlarged lymph nodes, masses in the abdomen, gum disease, heart murmurs, vision problems, and signs of arthritis. The physical exam is our first and best tool to discover important information about your cat’s health.
Testing – Since we can’t see inside your cat’s body, blood and urine testing help us complete the whole picture of your cat’s health. These diagnostic tests can help us detect kidney, liver, and heart disease, heartworm infection, hormonal imbalances, and infectious diseases.
Dental care – It’s estimated that 85% of cats have some form of dental disease by the age of 4. Simply put, dental disease will shorten your cat’s life. The bacteria that causes dental disease can travel to internal organs, causing life-threatening damage. All cats can benefit from an annual dental cleaning, and those with dental problems may need twice yearly cleanings.
Parasite control and prevention – Fleas, ticks, and heartworms can all wreak havoc on your cat’s health (especially heartworm disease, which can be fatal to felines). Luckily, prevention is safe, easy, and effective. Intestinal parasites also affect cats, so an annual fecal examination for parasite eggs is recommended. Monthly topical or oral medications can be tailored to your cat’s environment and lifestyle.
Vaccinations – Vaccines are crucial to keeping your cat disease free. Both core and optional vaccines will be discussed and administered based on your cat’s general health, age, and lifestyle.
Nutrition and weight management – Studies show that leaner cats live longer lives. We can determine your cat’s body condition score and discuss ways to help maintain a healthy weight that include feeding and exercise recommendations.
Since our cats can’t tell us when something is wrong, it’s up to us to make sure they stay healthy. Preventive care for cats will help them live longer, healthier lives. Contact us today to schedule your cat’s next preventive care exam.