This week has been designated as “National Take Your Cat to the Vet Week.” Established in 1999 by Feline Pine, this event was created to educate the public about the importance of regular veterinary care for our beloved feline companions. According to the AVMA, cats are the most common pet in U.S. households at 74.1 million compared to 70 million dogs. Yet on average, cats go to the veterinarian less than half as often as dogs, and veterinary visits for cats decreased by 4.4 percent from 2006 to 2011.
Cats can be especially difficult to coax into a carrier, making the vet visit a dreaded event for the cat and the cat guardian alike. Consequently, lots of cat guardians take their cat to the vet only when the cat is ill. However, cats are good at hiding signs of sickness so by the time you notice your furry friend is not feeling well, an illness may be more advanced. Routine veterinary checkups will help you catch signs of illness early, possibly resulting in less-costly treatment than had the condition gone undetected for longer. Besides the cost savings, many medical conditions are easier to treat when caught earlier, resulting in a better outcome and quality of life for your cat.
According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) Feline Life Stage Guidelines, “a minimum of annual wellness examinations and consultations for all cats is justifiable. Semi-annual wellness exams are often recommended for all feline life stages by veterinarians and veterinary organizations.” If your own cat hasn’t been to the veterinarian recently, this week is a great time to schedule that past-due annual checkup.