Tuesday, August 22, 2017

4 Signs Your Cat May Need to go to the Vet - #Cat2VetDay

Today, August 22, is Take Your Cat to the Vet Day. The CATalyst Council, American Association of Feline Practitioners, The International Cat Association the Cat Fanciers' Association and Royal Canin are joining forces to show support for cat health and wellness by urging more attention to preventive veterinary care for cats. 

signs of illness in cats|#Cat2VetDay

It’s a fact that cats receive less routine veterinary care than dogs. In a 2013 Bayer AAFP study, researchers found that 52 percent of cats in the U.S. had not been taken to the vet in the past year for necessary checkups. They also found that only half as many cats receive annual exams as dogs. And according to the U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook published by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA) in 2012, 36.1 million households owned cats at that time, with the estimated number of pet cats being 74.1 million.This same sourcebook also points out that only 55% of cat owners took their cats to the vet, vs. 81% of dog owners. And Banfield reports that in their more than 900 veterinary hospitals, only one cat is seen by a veterinarian for every five dogs, despite many studies reporting that there are nearly eight million more pet cats than dogs in the U.S. 

signs of illness in cats|#Cat2VetDay

These statistics are disturbing. That’s why the CATalyst Council and their partners are supporting Take Your Cat to the Vet day; to increase awareness of the importance of routine veterinary care and to encourage cat owners to make appointments for their feline family members to be seen by a veterinarian.  

Why aren’t cat owners taking their cats to the vet? According to Jane Brunt, DVM, Executive Director of the CATalyst Council and Founder of the American Animal Hospital Association-accredited Cat Hospital At Towson (the first feline-exclusive veterinary hospital in Maryland), there are three common obstacles: cost, the stress of actually getting to the vet, and the belief that cats don’t need veterinary care as much as dogs. I can relate to some of these points, and I’m sure many reading this article can as well. 

“It’s not that cats are inherently healthier than dogs,” says Dr.Brunt. “It’s that they are stoic about their symptoms, making it nearly impossible for even the most observant pet owner to recognize signs of potential problems.” I’ve spoken to many cat owners over the years who are unsure what type of symptoms would necessitate a vet visit. In order to educate cat owners to be more aware of the signs of illness in their furry companions, I’ve put together a list of four signs your cat may need to go to the vet. (Disclaimer: I advocate for routine veterinary care. However, something could occur between regular checkups that every cat owner should be aware of.) 

signs of illness in cats|#Cat2VetDay

4 Signs Your Cat May Need To Go To The Vet


Your Cat’s Eating/Drinking Habits Have Changed

Many people may think it’s not such an urgent matter if their cat stops eating. They’ll eat when they’re hungry, right? Not so true. When a cat loses their appetite and stops eating it can lead to a serious, life-threatening illness known as hepatic lipidosis (also known as fatty liver disease). Loss of appetite can be a sign of a medical condition that warrants immediate attention. Similarly, if your cat increases their water intake or stops drinking altogether this could be a sign of kidney disease, diabetes or hypothyroidism. 

Your Cat is Coughing/Sneezing or has Difficulty Breathing

Cats are prone to colds just like we humans are. If your cat has a runny nose, frequently sneezes or coughs or has crust-rimmed eyes, it could be a cold -- or something much more serious. It’s a good idea to get your cat checked by a vet. Lola has chronic sinusitis and often has a runny nose and sneezes. I must be diligent to watch her appetite and activity level so I can gauge when a vet visit may be necessary. I’ve also worked closely with my vet to learn what is “normal” for her and when I should be alarmed. If at any time your cat is panting, making loud noises, coughing, wheezing, or generally struggling when trying to breathe, you should take them to your vet or the emergency vet immediately. This could lead to a life threatening emergency and it’ better to be safe. 

Your Cat is Vomiting or has Diarrhea 

Most cats vomit from time to time. Lexy struggles with hairballs and it’s not unusual for her to vomit once a week. Lola very rarely vomits but will do so when she has eaten too quickly. Likewise, a cat may have a loose stool from time to time. However, if either of these persist, your cat needs to be seen by a vet. Any presence of blood in the stool or vomit could be a serious sign.

signs of illness in cats|#Cat2VetDay
I'm feeling good! I don't have to go to the vet! 


Your Cat’s Vocalizations Have Changed

Some cats are naturally chattier than others. Lola, for example, talks to me all the time and I have come to learn the differences in her meows. Lexy is not as vocal as Lola is, but by paying attention to her I know the differences in her meows as well. Most importantly, I know the “I’m not feeling well meow” which will alert me to check out their situation. It’s important to know your cat! If your cat is typically on the quite side and they suddenly start to meow more frequently they may be telling you they are in pain or discomfort. And if your talkative cat suddenly becomes quiet, this could also be cause for concern.  This could be a subtle sign that some cat owners may miss, but it’s a good one to be aware of. 

signs of illness in cats|#Cat2VetDay
I'm not amused by this at all. 

Other signs to be aware of include changes in litter box/toileting habits, excessive sleeping, disorientation or difficulty walking, hair loss, limping, and overgrooming. This is not an exhaustive list, therefore, it is important to be aware of your cat’s habits and their medical history. If at any time you are unsure if your cat needs medical attention, call your veterinarian immediately for advice! If they are unavailable please contact your emergency vet. 

“Cats require more than love”, says Dr. Brunt.”They need our attention and care to keep them healthy and happy.”  How do you know when your cat isn’t feeling well? 

Dawn


Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian and the contents of this article are not meant to replace veterinary adivice. As stated above, if at any time you feel your cat requires medical care please contact your vet immediately. 

37 comments:

  1. Thanks for spreading the word about this!

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  2. Great post and those are sure real reasons to make the trip!

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  3. Weight loss is another.. These signs were missed as with Hammie, because I was thinking with 4 cats that they were all drinking the water and Hammie just always loved his food.. I am glad I made all their vet appts. on the same day instead of waiting until April for Hammies, as that would have been his yearly. I don't want to think of what could have happened.. I am just glad we were able to avoid disaster.

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  4. Cats are so good at masking their discomfort! Although us bloggers are probably the last people who need to be reminded about vet visits, sometimes a few quick nudges are needed, even for us! Great post!

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  5. Those are such great tips! We are HUGE advocates of "wellness" visits, Cody will be going to the Vet twice a year now since he is a senior, whether he is ill or not. catchatwithcarenandcody

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  6. Knowing these tips would've saved a lot of pain for Kitty. Kitty was a family cat ... and whoever noticed her bowl was low would refill it ... so we didn't notice when she stopped eating (she had an inflamed fang). I feel so horrible about that. She developed hepatic lipidosis - and I think the prednisone she took for that caused her blood sugar to go out of whack - so either she was diabetic (which is what the vet said and I gave her insulin) ... or the prednisone made it look like she was (this is my most recent theory as her blood sugar was mostly normal without the prednisone). All of this mess and pain for her would've been avoidable if only one of us filled her bowl and monitored her intake. The diarrhea thing hits home too because Ellie struggles with that. She'll be good for a couple days and then have a day of issues and then be fine again. We've had her tested for everything - I'm still nervous about this - but everything came back normal.

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  7. Great tips! Though honestly, we think we go to the vet too much! ;)

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  8. Pawsome post! It's so sad that many people don't think cats need regular care as much as dogs do. This is such an important day to remind people how quickly a small medical problem can become something really big if it's not caught early.

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  9. Fabulous post Lola, thank mew so much fur sharing such valuable advice!

    Big hugs

    Basil & Co xox

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  10. Thees are really good tips, especially with vocalization. I think some people would overlook at that as a symptom.

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  11. It amazes me how few cat owners bring their animals to the vet. I'm after my brother in law about this all the time. You give great suggestions for us too look for. Change in diet and drinking is always one to watch out for.

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  12. Thanks for sharing the information. It's a sad fact that cats don't get the help they need and deserve.

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  13. It's amazing that people don't take their cats to the vet enough. We go annually, and in between when needed. Great post!

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  14. Wow! being a dog mom I did not know about cats being more stoic about healthy symptoms! Must be tough for humans to detect anything wrong in that case. Thanks for these great tips to look out for signs of illness.

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  15. Mr. N is also pretty stoic about pain. The techs comment on it when we're at the vet. When he's sick though, he tends to get more clingy.

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  16. So happy for all of the promotion of take your cat to the vet day!! It's so so important, just as important as dogs. It's sad to me that people forget the cats. :( - Shelby Gottschalk

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  17. My dog's are exceptionally stoic. Scoonie was really struggling in his later years, and that's when we knew there was something extra wrong. If I can tell he doesn't feel good, he must feel REALLY bad!

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  18. I never thought about paying attention to a change in vocalization. I will definitely pay attention to that from now on.

    We had a cat named Sweet Pea (he passed in 2012) who was really difficult at the vet - he practically had a criminal record because he bit so many people at the vet. It was so stressful taking him to the vet that I admit I skipped a few years. Fortunately, once he reached his senior years he calmed down (and by calming down, I mean he no longer tried to kill people, just hissed and growled). He was the sweetest cat at home - but the vet just really set him off. We even tried several different practices thinking that might help, but no such luck.

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  19. I know this problem with Amigo - he is stoic about pain to. It helps being aware of this though. But I feel sorry for all these cats that never go to the vet and might be in pain without the owners knowing it.
    Thanks for spreding the word about this.

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  20. These are great signs to look for! Cats are so good at hiding their pain and illnesses, so you really need to pay attention to the little things. That's also why regular checkups are so important! Thanks for sharing

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  21. What a very informative post. It's so important to know the signs so you can be aware of them. My cat had blood in her urine and if she didn't go to the bathroom in our tub, I probably never would have seen it in her litter box until it was too late.

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  22. The statistics you shared are very disturbing so this information is important to get out. What I got out of your post and what I think is most important for cat owners is to simply pay attention. As your quote at the end so perfectly says, "cats require more than love." If cat owners pay attention to the seemingly little things like the vocalizations and eating habits of one cat versus another, they are better able to tell when something is off.

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  23. Miss Dawn, great article! Your 4 points are right on & thanks for reminding humans about the importance of regular vet visits for kitties & passing on the word about the campaign. I purr-sonally hate going to the V-E-T, as I'm sure most if not all of us kitties do, but I know it is for our "well being". I get regular checkups and dental care & Mom always watches for any sign that might tell her I'm not feeling 100%. -Luv, Valentine (& Mom) of Noir Kitty Mews

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  24. Preventative care is so important for cats, dogs, and hoomans! Thanks for sharing this important topic in such a clear and helpful way!

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  25. It's a sad fact that so many people think their cats don't need as much Vet care as dogs. The vocalization signs you talk about are really interesting! I wouldn't think to looks for that.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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  26. I was surprised to learn that a lot of people take their dogs to the vet, but not the cat.

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  27. Great posty, but not one we wanted mommy to see today. MOL Hopefully, we'll be better in no time and won't have to take dat dreaded trip. Big hugs

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Raena

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  28. Bookmarked, what a good resource for folks that have cats but know very little about them!

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  29. Dear Ms Lola,
    Most excellent post! I, Marvelous LIKE my vet in Tehran and my new Mommy tells me that the vet she takes Kozmo, Jo Jo and Cinnamon to is a most excellent vet. Even Queen Penelope like him and she did not like vets.
    Mommy says it can be hard to know when a cat needs to go, and it is important that we go regularly so that we don't associate vets with just bad things. I agree.
    Purrs
    Marvelous

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  30. We understand the importance of going to the vet on a regular basis. We may not always like going, but we know it's what is best for us.

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  31. Super important message, Dawn. Thank you so much for sharing about this. Cats are also so good at hiding when they're not feeling well. So yearly exams are key!

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  32. These are great tips. As you stated, it's important, especially with cats, to pay close attention to your cat's habits. Something that seems really small can actually be hiding something much bigger. Cats are too good at hiding what's going on.

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  33. I'm so glad you wrote this post. While I don't have a cat, I understand the importance of routine care for our companion animals. I know one issue that may also be a cause for the disparity between dogs and cats is lodging arrangements when their human is away. For us, the dogs need to stay at a pet hotel when we travel to places where they can't stay. These places require Bean & Yoda to be up to date with their medical records & immunizations. Cats, on the other hand, while not ideal, can theoretically stay at home alone for a couple days providing they have access to fresh food, water and facilities to go potty. If they don't need to stay elsewhere, no one on the outside is requiring certain proof of care to be provided.

    I know I have initiated a call with our veterinarian to fulfill a requirement for their lodging that I may not have placed otherwise.

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  34. I'm always surprised at how many people don't take their cat to the vet. I see it with family members and it drives me insane - all animals need veterinary care! Thanks for addressing this subject.

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  35. Such an important reminder. I must admit, Nala hated going to the vet so I did put it off - we probably only went every 2 years until her last year. At 19.5 years she lost weight and peed on a white rug to show she needed help. Her kidneys went bad so we changed her diet and got medication which helped for a few months.

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  36. We just almost had a cat at da VET day at our house. Fankfully, we're startin' to feel all beter and don't have to go. We think our once a year is one too many. MOL 'Course, mommy says she knows bestest and will always do what we need 'sttead of what we might like. Great posty. Big hugs

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Raena

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  37. Good point about the vocalizations changing. Us cats are pretty sneaky when it comes to letting our hoomoms know we aren't feeling well. At my house we are allergy prone, always coughing and sneezing, so vet visits are needed to help us breathe easier. Great post...even if it means a trip to the V-E-T.

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