Mark your calendars because August 22nd is “National Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day!” Although, most pet cats are indoor-only, it is extremely important to have them evaluated by a veterinarian annually. During these wellness visits, they will have their weight taken, a full head-to-toe physical examination, and be given any vaccinations that may be due. These vaccinations protect them from viruses that can be obtained from their housemates or if they happen to accidentally slip outside.
Annual exams and vaccinations are even more important for cats that are indoor/outdoor or primarily outdoor. Legally, it is required that ALL dogs and cats remain up to date on rabies vaccinations. Interactions with feral cats or wild animals pose the risk of causing rabies, and if wounds are noted, a rabies booster needs to be given to your pet as soon as possible. Feline leukemia (FelV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) can also be spread by interacting with infected cats. Monitoring weight yearly uncovers loss or gain that may not have been noticed and can allow veterinarians to gauge whether there may be an underlying issue causing it. Wellness bloodwork is also recommended in order to evaluate blood cell levels and organ function. This allows us to compare values if the patient were to get sick in the future and can aid in diagnosis.
Other reasons to bring your cat to the vet include:
- Inappropriate or Abnormal Urination (urinating outside of the litterbox, straining to urinate, urinating small amounts or abnormally large amounts, bloody urine)
- Vomiting or Diarrhea
- Foreign Body Ingestion (history of eating string, chicken bones, etc)
- Seizures or Incoordination
- Weight Loss
- Inappetence (lack of appetite)
- Increased Drinking
- Wounds or Open Sores
- Lumps or Bumps
- Abnormal Behavior
Some owners prefer to avoid annual vet visits due to the fact that their cat is very fearful and becomes anxious or aggressive when at the clinic. However, there are medications available to decrease anxiety and help them become more amenable to being in a carrier and in a strange place. This can often make appointments safer for everyone involved. Please call Norwalk Animal Hospital or your primary veterinarian to discuss pre-visit anxiety medication for your cat.
Other ways to make your cat’s check-up a stress-free experience is to get them used to their carrier. Keeping their carrier available to them at all times allows cats to get used to it and avoids having them associate it with travel. Most cats will even enjoy going into their carrier to sleep and play when this procedure is enforced. Rewarding your cat with treats when they approach or step into the carrier is also encouraged in order to help them develop good associations. Feliway is a calming pheromone product that has sprays and plug-ins that can also be used around and inside the carrier and may help it become more welcoming.
Please call Norwalk Animal Hospital to schedule a wellness visit for your cat today!