Why does my cat need to go to the vet?
They “had their shots” when they were a kitten, they “got fixed” and they don’t ever leave the house. Overall, they are healthy, right? Well, not so much. Cats are masters of hiding illness, pain and disease until it is so advanced they simply can’t hide it anymore. This means a “nose to tail” Dr’s exam, preventative tests and treatments are necessary so you and your kitty can share as many wonderful years together as possible.
So how often does my cat need to go to the vet?
– All kittens need to be examined and treated by a veterinarian every 3 weeks from the time you get them (usually not younger than 5 weeks, unless they are orphans) until they are 4 or 5 months old. Depending on life-style, and whether or not they need sterilization surgery (spay or neuter), there might be 1 or 2 additional visits in the first year after all the basic “kitten visits” are finished.
– All adult cats between 1 and 10 years of age need at least a once a year visit that includes a comprehensive history, physical exam, screening tests and preventative care treatments.
– Cats over 10 years old need to go to the vet at least every 6 months, more often if they have any chronic health conditions or diseases.
– Realize that like people, cats don’t all age at the same rate. Your kitty may need to start twice a year vet visits sooner than 10 years of age. This is a conversation you need to have with your veterinarian who can determine what is best for your particular cat.
My cat hates his carrier. How in the world am I supposed to get him into that box?
It can be very challenging to convince your kitty that “the enemy box” (the pet carrier) is not going to kill them. Remember that anything unfamiliar to a cat is a threat until they learn otherwise through repeated positive experiences. Below are several videos and tips to make this task much easier for you and your cat.
MAPCCAngell– TheMassachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Angell AnimalMedical Center (MSPCA-Angell) is a national and international leader in animalprotection and veterinary medicine. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldesthumane society in the United States.
Fundamentally Feline – Fundamentally Feline is the creation of Ingrid Johnson, a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (CCBC). Ingrid has many impressive feline behavioral credentials and also works at a feline only veterinary hospital, as a veterinary technician and feline groomer in Marietta, GA. Ingrid has been working exclusively with cats since 1999. To learn more about Ingrid,click here.
CATalyst – (this is a series of videos) CATalystCouncil’s vision is a cat-caring society which willbe achieved through their mission of connecting and collaborating toadvance the health, welfare and value of companion cats. To learn more aboutthe CATalyst Council, click here.
TIPS & RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Let the cat get used to the carrier– keep it out in the environment where the cat can freely go in and out of it. Leave the doors open. If there is only one door in the carrier, be sure the carrier is in a place where no-one can trap the cat in the carrier, like another cat, a dog, or a small child. If it is just not possible to leave the carrier out all the time, at least get it out, clean it up, put in fresh bedding and set it out in your cat’s normal home environment, close to their favorite spot at least 1 month before you need to actually take them somewhere in the carrier.
2. Let the cat learn to associate lots of good things with the carrier. Soft bedding is the most important. Yummy things to eat are a close second for most cats. Give them treats when they go near or go into the carrier. Feliway spray, a synthetic “feel good” pheromone is also very helpful for your cat to feel like the carrier is a safe and happy place for cats. Just be sure to apply the spray at least 15 to 30 minutes before letting the cat near the carrier, so the smelly alcohol has a chance to evaporate and leave only the “happy” aroma for kitty.
3. Protect the cat from seeing or hearing scary things associated with the carrier. This means keeping the door from making noise when you move the carrier. Also it’s good to put a towel over the carrier when the cat is inside, so they feel enclosed and safe.
4. Make it easy to physically direct the cat into the carrier. Put it at waist height rather than on the floor. Make sure where it is sitting is stable, so the carrier won’t wobble or fall.
5. Get the cat used to the entire experience, one small step at a time. This means, put in the carrier, covered, carried out to the car, seat-belted into the car, and the sounds associated with the car running, and finally the sensation of movement in the car while in the carrier.
6. Always let your cat associate the “the good stuff” (treats, food, love) with every part of the process. This means during and immediately after every positive experience with their carrier and travel.
7. Find a vet and veterinary practice that is cat friendly. This means they know about how to keep cats calm and relaxed during the visit and take measures to put your cat at ease as soon as they come into the clinic. Some clinics are even certified “Cat Friendly” by the American Association of Cat Practitioners (AAFP). Whether or not your vet’s practice is certified, your cat needs to be provided a calm, soothing environment. Cats are not small dogs and become very frightened when treated like dogs. To learn more about what to look for to see if your vet is cat friendly, click here (note: this website is by an excellent feline veterinarian in Australia, but what cats need is pretty much the same handling, regardless of what country they are in, to stay happy and calm).