Fear-Free Visits for Your Cat

In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the things we can do to take the stress or ‘fear-factor’ out of bringing your cat in for a visit.  From speaking to a number of people, it seems as though this is one of the reasons we see fewer cats than dogs in practice. We know that there are many more pet cats out there than we end up seeing. That’s a bit ironic given the lengths we’ve gone to in making the hospital much more feline friendly. So much so that we’re now fully accredited by the International Society for Feline Medicine as a ‘Cat-Friendly Clinic’. This means we have the facilities, the staff, the training and the interest to make your visit here a fear-free experience for our feline patients (and their owners).

On this note, do you have a cat (or cats) hiding at home that we don’t know about?? We’re often amazed to discover that dog-owning clients of many years standing also own cats that we weren’t aware of. This often comes up in casual conversation with our vets or receptionists. As well as the reluctance to bring wary cats in for a visit, it seems that there is a perception that cats don’t require the same level of healthcare as dogs. Nothing could be further from the truth!!

Just like their canine companions, cats need regular healthcare visits, vaccination programs, parasite control and high quality diet. There are many diseases that crop up, particularly in more senior cats. As is the case with any other conditions, the sooner we detect these, the better are our chances of successful treatment.

I’ll give you a list of a few common problems we see in cats as follows:

  • Diabetes Mellitus (‘sugar’ diabetes)
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Kidney disease
  • Flea allergy dermatitis
  • Tapeworms and other intestinal worms (readily transmissible to dogs and to children – nasty when it happens)
  • Dental disease – very, very common
  • Arthritis – pretty subtle signs in cats but frequently present
  • FIV – equivalent to AIDS in people but passed on by fighting in cats

Cats are also very prone to cat fight abscesses and this is often the reason we learn of their existence. When we take a full patient history, it’s often apparent that these cats are way overdue with their vaccinations and routine healthcare.

What do we recommend for your cats? Well, it depends on their life stage but the following is a bit of a list:

  • Annual vaccinations including FIV
  • Quarterly worming or, even better, monthly flea and worm medication
  • Annual health checks in the early stages then twice yearly checks after the age of 9
  • Regular dental and arthritis exams as part of the health checks.
  • High quality diet (we use Hills products and they’re really good). It really doesn’t cost much at all to keep your cat in and appropriate diet and it’s been shown that cats on premium diets live an average of 2 years longer – wouldn’t you want that?

So, if you have a cat(s), please let us know in the first place. If so, we can get you started on an appropriate program, depending on their age and stage of life. If you’re not sure what they need, give our fantastic reception staff a call and they’ll let you know what we’d recommend. Don’t worry too much if your cat has found a vet visit stressful in the past. As mentioned, we’ve designed our new hospital around cats and it’s amazing how often our cat-owning clients comment that their pets are much less concerned about coming in to see us!

Just like your dogs, your cats will thank you for getting them onto a regular healthcare program and keeping them in tip-top condition. Give us a call on 8522 3500 or book an appointment directly.

 

Dr Dave MacPhail

Dr Dave MacPhail

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Gawler Animal Hospital

Your full-service, high quality, locally-owned veterinary practice.

Offering a wide range of pet-care options from vaccinations up to complex medical and surgical treatments.

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