Despite the fact that there are more pet cats in the United States than pet dogs, cats are much less likely than their canine counterparts to be taken for veterinary check-ups. Part of it is that cats hate to visit the doctor, so their owners avoid the stress of putting their feline companions through it. But there are other reasons, too.
According to a survey conducted with the support of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, many people see cats as independent and self-sufficient, meaning they require minimal attention. In addition, a lot of owners assume that because their cats live entirely indoors, they’re not susceptible to disease. Finally, because cats are so good at hiding their pain, owners assume they simply don’t get sick.
All of these are fallacious arguments. House cats are not self-sufficient. And they are susceptible to all kinds of diseases that have nothing to do with living outdoors, including diabetes, heart disease, thyroid deficiency, and dental problems. Finally, the fact that cats are good at hiding their pain makes it all the more important that they occasionally be examined by a doctor.
A wellness exam twice a year is ideal for most cats, says the American Animal Hospital Association. But even once a year is better than never, or hardly ever. Changes in a cat’s health status can change in a short period of time.