Right now, as you sit reading this, there are more cats than dogs living in US households. You read that right - an estimated 94.2 million cats are owned by US families. This is not only more than dogs (89.7 million), but also more than any other pet aside from freshwater fish!
Unfortunately, these cats are often missing out on the care they need and deserve. Although more cats populate our lives, pet households spend significantly less on cats each year as compared to dogs. For example, owner reported statistics from 2016 show an annual veterinary cost of $731 for dogs, but only $427 for cats. Why the difference?
One reason owners commonly cite as to why they don’t bring their cats in for care, is that cats can be difficult to manage. We understand that challenges may arise getting your cat into a carrier or transporting him or her to the clinic. Some cats can be very uncooperative for their examination due to fear and stress - they may bite, hiss, claw, or scratch. These things are not only challenges for you as well as for us, but they can also put undue stress on your cat.
Another common reason why cats don’t get to the vet is that it simply doesn’t seem necessary. Cats are very good at masking illnesses and their illness signs can be subtle. A cat may not show you signs of a problem until it is very severe. This also means that very small changes in your cat’s activity, interaction with you or other pets, sleeping habits, food/water intake, grooming habits, weight, or hair coat can represent serious underlying disease.
Despite these challenges and because of their ability to mask disease, routine veterinary care for cats is just as important as any other species. The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends we see your feline friend at least once each year. Because cats age faster than we do, that’s the equivalent of you going to the doctor just once every 7-15 years!
Even with this AAFP recommendation, only 52% of cats have been to a vet in the past year according to surveys by the American Veterinary Medical Association. This means we are missing the diagnosis of critical diseases such as hyperthyroidism, heart disease, renal failure, diabetes, and dental disease for nearly half of all pet cats. For many of these diseases, early detection means we have more options for successful treatment.
We here at The Clark Fork Veterinary Clinic are dedicated to caring for your cat’s health. We have carriers for your use to aid in transport to/from the clinic. We can discuss low/minimal stress techniques with you if needed, such as desensitizing to the carrier or using anxiety-relieving pheromones in the carrier/car. Once in the clinic, we have staff members trained in low-stress handling techniques and numerous ways to tailor care to your cat’s attitude and demeanor.
To help with your cat’s care even more, we are offering several specials this month! Please see the information below for our current offerings. Give us a call anytime to schedule or to ask questions - we’re here to help!