Make Regular Veterinary Care the Cat's Meow
With the invention of kitty litter in 1947, cats began to make the transition from outdoor pest control to indoor family members, chasing fake mice instead of real ones. As cats started to have a bigger role in the lives of their humans, members of the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) began learning and developing more methods to provide the best care possible for your feline friend.
"Prior to cats becoming indoor pets, they were receiving little to no veterinary care, and sick cats were often treated with home remedies or by donation funded organizations that had no veterinary training," says Dr. Ann Sosalla, WVMA member and veterinarian at Antigo Veterinary Clinic.
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During the 1990's, cats surpassed dogs to become the number one household companion. However, veterinarians still see canine patients more often than feline. This means that cats are not getting the proper veterinary care they deserve. By scheduling regular preventive care visits with your veterinarian, any health issues your pet may have can be detected before they become serious problems. Nutritional imbalances, obesity, heart murmurs, abdominal disorders, skin infections, and arthritis are all very common disorders that frequently go unnoticed without a thorough veterinary exam.
With all the resources and knowledge veterinarians can provide to your cats health, Dr. Sosalla believes dental health is the biggest area overlooked by owners. Cats can suffer from periodontal disease and gingivitis, and they can also suffer from painful tooth resorptive lesions.
"I think one of the main reasons dental care is overlooked is that many people are under the misconception that cats do not need regular veterinary check-ups," says Dr. Sosalla. "In fact, cats may need more regular exams because they are masters at hiding symptoms from their owners."
Along with making annual visits to the veterinarian, you can help reduce any stress they may feel before, during and after the appointment. Dr. Sosalla recommends talking with the staff prior to the appointment as a way of making the trip as stress-free as possible.
"The veterinary staff should be able to make suggestions to help you, such as how to acclimate your cat to the carrier, appropriate carriers, feline calming pheromone sprays and other methods," says Dr. Sosalla.
By choosing a veterinary clinic and veterinarian whom you trust and can have open conversations with, you can help to ensure your cat receives the best veterinary care possible.
If you have any questions about your cat's health, contact your local veterinarian. To find a veterinarian near you, visit wvma.org.