How to improve your cat’s health and happiness

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How to improve your cat’s health and happiness
Posted on September 9, 2016 in Caring for your pet, News, Tips & Advice

Happy Cat Month is an event created by the CATalyst Council to improve cat wellness by focusing on happiness. Scientific studies have shown that happy cats are healthier cats.  We aim to go beyond the basic levels of cat care to ensure that each cat has a happy, joyful, fulfilling life.

Schedule Preventive Care Wellness Veterinary Visits

There are a few common misconceptions that keep people from taking cats to the veterinarian:

    1. Cats are viewed as independent and able to take care of themselves
    2. Cats are assumed to be healthy if they don’t appear to be sick
    3. Cats living indoors are thought to be safe from illness and injury

The truth is that cats do need your help! They are not too independent for medical care and they especially require wellness and preventive care veterinary visits because it’s in their nature to hide symptoms when they become ill. By the time your cat is showing symptoms, whether it’s always indoors or not, they’ve probably been sick for a long time, and a veterinary visit may be way overdue and far more stressful by then. Regular check-ups ensure that a veterinarian can catch early signs of illnesses before symptoms show up and for that reason, veterinary organizations advise check-ups for adult cats at least once a year. And just as with children and seniors, kittens and senior cats need more. There are obvious signs that your cat doesn’t feel good, like pawing at their face, any type of discharge, redness, hair loss, lethargy, limping, or swelling, and you can learn to catch some other common warning signs before any problem gets too out of hand (for example, feline diabetes), but the most common warning sign of an illness may be simple changes in your cat’s behavior or habits.

A simple change in your cat’s
behaviors or habits
could be a sign of a more
serious problem.

Our Pet Health Articles are a great resource to read about more common symptoms, but if you notice that something seems off, it is a good idea to plan a trip to see us and get your cat feeling healthy and back to normal as soon as possible.

A Cat Friendly Veterinary Practice Adds Comfort + Empathy.

Simon with Alex58% of cat owners report that their cat hates going to the doctor! (Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study III: Feline Findings) The American Association of Feline Practitioners established a Cat Friendly Practice Program to improve quality of veterinary care for cats by reducing stressors. Cat Friendly Practices understand unique feline needs, provide cat-friendly guidelines, educate veterinarians about calm environments, and have quality staff receiving ongoing training in feline-friendly handling and medical care. All our locations are certified Cat-Friendly practices.

A New Approach to the Cat Carrier

Once we understand the importance of preventative care, have found a cat-friendly practice, and have resolved to schedule a check-up, the hardest part of getting cats to the veterinarian may be getting them into carriers. CATalyst Council’s Cats and Carriers video is another great resource for convincing cats to love their carriers. The key is gentleness and a little bit of preparation time! To ensure your cat’s comfort and safety on the way to the veterinary office, Sleepypod  makes cozy carriers suited for any sized pet. A comfortable carrier will cut down on both the travel and waiting room stress for your cat.

Preventive Care Wellness Plans

Veterinarians will prescribe a preventative care plan specific to your cat’s individual needs based on their lifestyle. This plan will usually involve spaying or neutering your cat, core vaccines (such as the rabies vaccine), and common preventive medications. Preventative medicine for fleas, ticks, and heart worms are common, usually after an initial screening. Check with your veterinarian to see what the best options are for your cats! During your cat’s next wellness exam, make sure to ask your veterinarian about your cat‘s dietary needs, immunizations, dental care, any changes in habits and if blood work or other tests would help uncover any conditions not found on the physical examination.

Pet Health Insurance

When a pet becomes sick, it’s rarely all patched up and fixed within a single veterinary visit. It often requires multiple return visits to check on progress and prescriptions. Anyone who has been to a doctor knows that medical care is expensive, so it’s a relief knowing humans aren’t the only ones who qualify for health insurance – cats can get it too! The North American Pet Health Insurance Association has a complete list of its members that you can get insurance from here. At our hospitals, we recommend Trupanion pet insurance.

The whole process of getting a free quote & plan options takes less than a minute on each of these sites, so it’s worth having some peace of mind knowing you’re insured and won’t have to worry about being able to provide the best medical care for your cats!

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