My cat lives indoors, so why does he need to go to the vet?

We all love our cats, but unfortunately for them, many do not come to the vet as often as they should.  Studies have shown at least one third of cats do not see the vet every year, and twice as many cats as dogs never see the vet at all. There is no question that cats typically don’t like being captured and placed in a carrier for a car ride.  Many owners avoid bringing their cats in because it seems too stressful, and their cats give them the “cold shoulder” after they get home.  But well meaning owners trying to be kind to their kitties may be doing them a disservice. Here are the top 5 reasons that we at Shoreline Animal Hospital want to see your cat at least once a year:

1: Cats are extremely good at masking signs of illness!  They typically don’t show signs of pain, and unless you are very observant of your cat’s eating, grooming, and litterbox habits, you may miss signs of disease.   By examining your cat at least once a year we will know what is normal for him so we are better able to recognize a problem before it is too late.

2: Owners rarely examine their cat’s teeth, and cats rarely show outward signs of dental disease until it becomes severe. By 2-3 years of age many cats have dental disease starting with gingivitis and tartar accumulation, and it can quickly progress to painful erosive lesions or “cavities” and root infections.  Dental extractions can often be avoided when home dental care is begun at the first sign of problems.

3: Fleas!  We find almost as many fleas on indoor cats as we do on outdoor cats each year.  Many owners are not aware of the problem because most cats are so good at grooming themselves that only a few adult fleas are present on the animal.  This can lead to an unseen infestation of your home with flea eggs and larvae.  By the time you are getting flea bites yourself the flea problem is bigger than you think!  We can recommend the most effective and appropriate flea control products for prevention and treatment for your kitty, and save both of you a lot of discomfort!

4: A thorough physical exam can tell us a lot!   There are so many medical conditions in cats that we can find on examination that owners may not see or feel.  Examples include heart murmurs, thyroid tumors, obesity, ear infections, bladder stones, and arthritis.  Slight weight loss can be the only symptom of many common problems including kidney disease, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease.  Many of these problems are much easier to manage if they are diagnosed before the signs become very obvious.

5: Rabies!!  State law requires that all cats be vaccinated against rabies, even if they live indoors.  Wildlife rabies cases are documented every year right in our local area.   Many cats that live indoors escape from time to time, and could come into contact with raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats and other rabies vector species. There have even been cases where a wild animal, such as a bat, gets into a home and could be a source of rabies exposure to your indoor cats.

So do your kitty a favor- if he hasn’t been to see us in a while, call to schedule an appointment! If you have concerns about how to get your cat in the carrier or how to make travel less stressful call us!  We can help!  860-669-9374.