By: | | Cats

It’s that time of year again – vet time, and you’re not looking forward to coaxing your cat into their carrier, hauling them to the vet’s office, and praying they don’t bite or scratch their nice doctor. Your cat seems perfectly healthy… can’t you just skip it this year?

Approximately half of domestic felines in the United States don’t get regular vet visits, and as a result, many suffer from illnesses that do not show obvious symptoms until it’s too late to easily treat them. That’s why the American Association of Feline Practitioners marked August 22nd National Take Your Cat To the Vet Day. It’s the perfect reminder to schedule that yearly exam you’ve been putting off.

How Yearly Exams Help Your Cat Live Longer

You could save a few bucks by skipping the yearly exam this time, but you’ll risk a much larger vet bill later on.

Dental disease is the most common, yet one of the most easily preventable threats to your cat’s health. You should frequently clean your cat’s teeth at home, though they may still need professional cleaning. Poor oral hygiene can affect your cat’s entire body, so an expensive cleaning procedure is a worthwhile investment in their overall well-being.

Kidney disease is the domestic cat’s number one killer. By the time your cat starts showing symptoms, their kidneys are already severely damaged. Annual blood-work, possibly twice-annual for older cats, can catch kidney disease in an early, treatable stage.

Obesity is another common, yet preventable threat to your cat’s health. It can be difficult to determine if your cat is at a healthy weight without the help of a professional. Excess weight can lead to heart disease and diabetes, as well as breathing problems and overstressed joints.

It’s tough for humans to lose weight, but cats can’t pour their own food. If you suspect your cat is overweight, simply feeding less is not the best strategy – a vet can help you determine their target weight, plus healthy ways to help them gradually shed a few ounces.

Preventative care like vaccinations and heartworm preventatives can save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. Even indoor cats can be exposed to many illnesses. Mosquitoes carry heartworm, and they’re everywhere. If your cat ever escapes your home, especially if they end up in a shelter, they can be exposed to  rabies or feline herpesvirus.

Taking Your Cat To The Vet Doesn’t Have to Be A Nightmare

Even if your cat has been having stressful vet visits for years, you can reverse negative associations and make those trips relatively stress-free… maybe even fun!

Make your cat carrier a haven by leaving it out in your home, decked out with a comfy blanket, treats, catnip, anything that will make it appealing to your kitty. Avoid stuffing your cat inside, allow them to relax in their carrier of their own volition. You can even use a target stick and clicker to train your cat to happily enter their carrier.

Take your cat out more often for social visits at the vet. You can even ask the staff to offer your cat some treats. It may also help to drive your cat to fun places, like a friend’s house, so they have positive memories of getting in their carrier and riding in the car.

Ask your vet and staff for tips on making your cat more comfortable. Does your vet ever take your cat to the back room, out of your line of sight, while they do procedures? Some cats are actually calmer when their owner is not around. You can even ask your vet if they’re participants in the Cat Friendly Practice® program or if they are Fear Free Certified. These programs teach veterinary professionals to make visits as stress-free as possible, and if your vet is not involved in them, they may consider registering if enough patients ask about it.

Alternatively, let the vet come to your cat by finding a mobile vet who will examine and treat your cat in the comfort of your own home.

Follow Ready Pet Go for More Cat Care Tips

Other than taking your cat to the vet every year, keeping up with the Ready Pet Go blog is a great way to learn ways to care for your cat’s health and well-being. Like our Facebook Page or read through our archives for more cat care tips.