On average, indoor cats live ten years longer than their outdoor cousins. Your indoor cat may be protected from many health issues by a relatively pampered lifestyle, but he or she shares one important trait that makes it wise for you to keep up with regular physical exams. Looking back at the heritage of cats, they will hide their illness or weakness as self-preservation because predators target weak or sick animals. Your cat may appear perfectly fine to you when in reality he or she may be hiding a very serious illness or disease process.
Here are some diseases that are common to cats: arthritis, diabetes, thyroid trouble, kidney issues along with teeth and gum problems. As your cat ages, these diseases become more and more likely
to occur. The only way to discover these diseases is by having your cat examined and blood work done at least once a year and in some cases, twice a year. Some of these diseases are treatable with medication, surgery, or a change in diet. If your veterinarian spots these health issues soon enough, you could gain precious, additional months or years with your cat.
How do I safely get my cat to the veterinarian?
- The safest way is to put your cat in a carrier that you have familiarized your cat with so your cat is comfortable in it. Leave the carrier out in the open at home with comfy bedding and favorite toys in it so your cat gets
used to it long before travel needs to occur.
- Some people have good luck with pheromone products like Feliway, which can be sprayed in the carrier and can make your cat feel better.
- Consult the American Association of Feline Practitioners (http://www.catvets.com/cat-owners/find-vets-and-practices) for cat friendly practices and many more tips on taking your cat to the veterinarian.
So what can you expect when you bring your cat in for a physical exam?
- Your veterinarian will take your cat’s temperature, heart rate and pulse. Your veterinarian will listen to your cat’s heart and lungs and have a good look at the eyes, ears and mouth, and feel for any lumps.
- Your cat’s weight is monitored at all visits and your veterinarian may advise changes in diet or feeding schedule to ward off obesity. Obesity is the leading cause of diabetes in cats.
- Based on the exam and your discussion with your veterinarian, there may be a need for additional screening tests of your cat’s blood and urine.
- Your veterinarian will advise you on any vaccines your cat may need and how often those vaccines need to be administered, based on the lifestyle of your cat.