March 28th is Respect Your Cat Day! What does that mean? What does that look like? Of course, part of that respect is the loving and humane care of our cats. Cats have a reputation of being aloof and distant but I have found cats to be affectionate, loving and even come when their name is called. Cats are less demanding of their care in that they don’t need walks and can be completely inside. They tend to be more protected as an indoor only pet, since they don’t have immediate exposure to other animals. Unfortunately, the main exposure to viruses and parasites are on our shoes, that roam the outside world and bring in all sorts of potential infectors. Vaccines, heartworm and flea prevention are recommended, even in indoor only cats, since they are not immune from what can come into our homes. It appears that pet parents sometimes view a “normal” acting cat as a sign of health. Cats are known for their resilience and tend to do a great job of hiding their illnesses, than dogs. Sadly, we don’t see cats on an annual basis consistently because of this. I think this is where another aspect of respecting cats comes in.
Respecting your cat includes being sure they are healthy. Cats are great compensators and they only demonstrate illness when their body can’t handle it anymore. Many times, when we see a sick cat, they have been sick for a while because they are able to hide it well. Diseases that cats develop as they age, such as kidney and thyroid disease can be detected early and treated earlier for a longer, better quality of life. Many times, cats don’t get examined on a yearly basis and when they do succumb to illness the treatment options are far less than if we were to see them on a yearly basis.
Annual physical exams, heartworm, flea & tick prevention and bloodwork, are the healthiest ways to respect your cat and give them the best chance at having the best desired quality of life.
We, as veterinarians, are trained to notice abnormalities on exams and to ask the right questions in their history. Cats are great companion animals and when they are not feeling well will demonstrate behaviors that we can interpret to get to the root of the problem. Appetite, attitude, dental health and social behavior are important in determining your cat’s overall health. We love having your cat visit us any time of the year! Let’s just be sure that they are examined on an annual basis.
RESPECT = CARE