As we all ring in the new year, many people also reminisce about the twelve months we’ve left behind, and how we could have done things differently. That’s probably when the various resolutions come into play — how life would be so much sweeter if we joined the gym and lost those nagging 15 extra pounds; how a weekly call to our aging parents would alleviate our guilt that we live on the other side of the country; how fostering a new hobby would help make our lives feel more balanced and well-rounded.
But do we often include our beloved cats in our resolutions? Recently, I read an article on pet care as it pertained to regular veterinary examinations. According to the American Animal Hospital Association, an estimated 58 percent of dogs visit the vet for routine veterinary exams — while the same can be said for merely 28 percent of cats.
What makes the statistic especially strange is that cats actually far outnumber dogs as the most popular pet in the United States. So why do so many owners postpone these exams?
Experts believe part of the reason is that people regard cats as more self-sufficient than dogs. Cats also tend to hide illness better. In summary, people often assume the health of a cat is normal because the cat is acting normal. But this shouldn’t be taken for granted. Here are four good reasons to bring your cat to the vet regularly.
Wellness Exams: By taking your cat in for routine visits, your veterinarian has the opportunity to detect any irregularities before they become too serious. An appropriate wellness visit protocol will depend on your cat’s age. A geriatric cat should be seen twice yearly.
Bloodwork: This is a very good way to track your cat’s health, and regular visits will enable your veterinarian to chart any changes that may require medication, nutritional support, etc. It’s better to diagnose any health changes early in the process.
Vaccines: Your cat needs to stay up-to-date with his shots, including rabies (be sure to follow the laws of your particular state, with possible exemptions for individual cases). Your vet will be able to tailor an appropriate vaccination schedule for your cat, depending on lifestyle, geographic region and age.
Building a Knowledge Base: The more regularly you visit your veterinarian, the more familiar he or she will become with your cat. This helps to detect irregularities in your pet’s health in the future.
As you sing Auld Land Syne and think of the year ahead, please include your pets in the plan. They rely on you as their number one health advocate. Happy 2013!
Elizabeth Vecsi, Executive Editor