Cats and Dogs – Different Animals
If you own both a cat and a dog then you know how different these two beings actually are.
When you come home from work, you’re likely to be met at the door by your excitable tail wagging canine friend while your cat happliy sleeps through the daily reunion in some quiet corner somewhere in the house.
If you go for a drive in the car, your dog is probably itching to go along with you while your cat can think of nothing worse than being cooped up in a cage in a moving vehicle and would protest loudly.
Unfortunately however, our interpretations of these behaviours often become the biggest influencer in deciding whether or not to seek veterinary care for our cats.
The Great Pain Cover Up
Most animals will generally try and cover up any pain they might be experiencing. This is an innate response aimed at protecting their status within the pack or from predators which prey on the vulnerable.
While dogs are very good at covering up signs of pain – especially chronic pain, cats are even better. The fact that they’re quieter and tend to sleep and hide more than dogs, allows them to mask their discomfort for longer.
This is one of the reasons why we often see cats at the more serious end of a disease process – like Kidney disease for example and there’s often little we can do when a disease has advanced past a certain point – regardless of age.
Most Cats Hate Travel
We know for a fact that many of you avoid taking your cat to the vet because you know how stressed they become during the trip. It’s true they don’t enjoy travel as much as dogs do however, it should not be a reason to deny them the veterinary care they need.
We hear this all the time from concerned cat owners who prefer to try anything other than something that requires a trip in the car. Another great way cats avoid routine veterinary care.
Now, while you’ll never convince a cat that travelling in the car is fun, there are things you can do to make their trip less stressful.
Buy a sturdy transport cage – like the one whown in the picture and make sure your cat become familar with it before you need to transport her in it. Allow her to have a look inside and even place some treats or food in there. Place her in it a few times without going anywhere. This will reinforce it’s a safe place to be.
Surviving the Waiting Room Experience
Waiting rooms can often be noisy with phones ringing and other activities taking place. In addition – there are likely to be a few dogs there too. Having your cat safely enclosed in a familar carrier helps provide the safe hiding place she craves. Some clinics have the benefit of separate waiting ares for dogs and cats which is even better.
You could also ask to schedule your appointment during less busy times to reduce waiting time and avoid crowded waiting rooms.
Be Aware of the ‘Sixth Sense’
We don’t know why it’s so but there’s a distinct pattern surrounding cat consultations – namely “apologetic cancellations.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry …… we have to cancel ‘Fluffy’s’ appointment …. she’s disappeared and we can’t find her.”
As stange as it may seem, we’ve seen this happen for as long as we’ve been in practice. Cats just seem to have an uncanny knack for knowing when they’re going to be packed off to see a vet and they make sure they can’t be found.
By the time they reveal themselves again, other things have taken priority and the appointment is rarely ever rescheduled.
Bingo. Your cat has successfully avoided the trip to the vet – again!
You can avoid this scenario by keeping your cat indoors and restricted to a specific room or area for a few hours before the time of the appointment.
What’s Love got to Do With It?
You might think that people are more attached to their dog than their cat therefore prefer to spend less on veterinary care for the cat than the dog but this is not always the case.
Most cat owners are terribly upset when they discover their cat has been sick for some time and they either simply didn’t notice OR – if they did – the reasons for not addressing their suspicions sooner are usually the same. “We didn’t want to stress her out in the car” …. “She hates the car and howls the whole way” …….. “I had to cancel the appointment a few months ago because she disappeared” and so on.
A Final Point
Because we know most of you love your cat and we don’t always want to be the bearer of “bad” news, we encourage you to overcome the temptations of avoiding stress for your cat and have her checked over regularly – just like you do with your travel happy dog.
A simple blood test and a clinical exam every year or so can often help avoid a potential life threatening condition and a whole lot of regret down the track.
So if it’s been a while since your cat has had a checkup – go on, make an appointment soon.