Been a while since the cat has been to the vet???….you are not alone.
Cats are masters at hiding discomfort, and unfortunately by the time they are brought to a veterinarian, they have often been ill for quite a while. Early detection hopefully improves both the quality and quantity of your pet's life and minimizes veterinary costs. An annual wellness exam is an important part of preventative health care. More frequent examinations are recommended for seniors, over the age of seven years.
-things to watch for: changing in sitting/sleeping position
-changes in frequency or type of vocalization
-changes in body weight
-changes in drinking/urinating/eating*
-change in haircoat-matted hair, poor grooming
-change in their behaviour/hiding
Kitty cat facts:
*Fatty liver syndrome
Cats, unlike other species, when not eating to meet their metabolic requirements will convert their body fat to energy. This process, within 48 hours can potentially lead to liver disease. If your cat is not eating, or minimally eating, please ensure prompt veterinary attention. We have seen liver disease develop in cats as a consequence of a behavioural stressor like a new addition to a family.
Indoor cats DO require vaccinations. Core vaccinations including rabies and upper respiratory disease are important to protect your pet from illness. When handling other cats, it is possible to bring home some viruses to our pets. Sitting by an open window
can expose them to airborne viruses from outdoor pets.
Rabies is not treatable in pets or people. I have personally had cats attacked by bats in a basement, and one bitten by a squirrel on the 8th floor balcony!. ALL pets should be kept up to date on vaccines for our family’s safety; furry or otherwise. Feline leukemia vaccines are generally not recommended for indoor cats without exposure to other cats. Please feel free to discuss your pet's individual vaccine requirements with our staff.
Hairballs are overrated, vomiting is never "normal".
A cat that is grooming themselves, will ingest hair, and it will appear in the vomitus. It is not always the cause of the vomiting! If your cat intermittently vomits, or has started to vomit, please ensure that they are evaluated by a veterinarian. Vomiting is often the initial symptom in a number of illnesses, and again prompt diagnosis can ensure treatment and in many cases stop or slow down disease progression. Please keep string-like objects away from cats. Tinsel, yarn, hair bands, dental floss and thread pose common dangers. The rough, abrasive tongue makes it difficult for a cat to spit out string objects, and they are common foreign bodies in cats.
Inappropriate urination should be considered a medical emergency. Frequent trips to the litterbox, straining or going outside the litterbox can all be signs of urinary tract disease. In some cases, cats are unable to urinate, and the resultant blockage can be life threatening. These cats are often thought to be constipated. Less than 10% of these cats have an infection, so antibiotics are usually not indicated. Prompt early detection and treatment can ensure that a behavioural component of inappropriate urination does not develop. The litterbox can become associated with pain, and the pets can learn as a consequence to avoid the box.
Vet Visits can be stressful. Cats are also homebodies, and changes in their routine or surroundings can be a source of anxiety. Planning ahead can make the experience positive.
- Have their cat carrier out ahead of time allowing them free access to enter and exit.
- Feliway: a happy cat pheromone available as a spray can be applied in the carrier, as an anti anxiety.
- When booking an appointment make the staff aware if your cat becomes particularly stressed.
- The appointment can be booked away from dogs, or during slower times.
- Allowing the cat to settle in the room for a few minutes, perhaps with special treats will help make the experience positive.
- In an ideal world, vet trips just for treats, body weigh ins to acclimatize them to the office will help reduce their stress level.
A wonderful reference for cat behaviour is the Ohio State University website which contains the indoor cat initiative. A study to benefit in particular indoor cat households, and ensuring environmental enrichment for our pets. Over 250 patients, many slated for euthanasia, were placed into this program. With routine schedules and environmental enrichment the cats became symptom and drug free.
Finally, if your pet is still nervous consider a housecall visit. Experienced and compassionate care in the comfort of your home. This service is now offered through Gorham Animal Hospital, please feel free to call the office if you have any questions.
Gorham Animal Hospital
852 Gorham St.