Only half of all cats receive regular veterinary care - Veterinary Practice
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Only half of all cats receive regular veterinary care

Online survey reveals the main reason owners didn’t take their cat to the vet more often was because their pet appeared to be healthy

43 percent of all cats in the UK and Ireland have not seen a veterinarian within the last year and 11 percent have never been to the vet, according to a Royal Canin online survey of almost 2,000 cat owners.

The survey revealed that the main reason owners didn’t take their cat to the vet more often was because their pet appeared to be healthy and therefore didn’t need medical attention.

John O’Connor, Vet and Corporate Affairs Director at Royal Canin said, “Feline patients often only show clinical signs when a disease has reached an advanced stage – renal disease, for example. Encouraging owners to take their cats for regular vet check-ups can allow for an earlier detection of health issues, and therefore a better management of these. Preventative veterinary fees are also likely to be more affordable for pet owners than treating the illness once it has become more serious.”

Other barriers to vet visits

The second biggest barrier to more regular vet visits was cost. Although almost half of the cat owners surveyed had pet insurance, almost a quarter said cost prevented them from taking their cat to the vet more often.

Despite there being 760 cat-friendly clinics across the UK and Ireland, which are specially designed to reduce the stress for cats during visits to the vet, 13 percent of owners said the stress put them off making more frequent trips to the vet.

If they were unable to take their cat to the vet, 40 percent said they would arrange for a vet home visit, 29 percent said they would search for information online and 26 percent would turn to friends and family for advice.

Over a quarter of owners unaware that their cat is overweight

Only 11 percent of owners believed that their cat was overweight. In the UK 39 percent of cats are overweight (German, A.J., et al. (2018) Dangerous trends in pet obesity. Veterinary record. Vol182 Issue 1) so this suggests that over a quarter of cat owners surveyed were unaware that their cat was above a healthy weight.

Elisabete Capitao, Vet and Vet Marketing Manager at Royal Canin said, “Cats with excess weight are at a higher risk of developing a number of serious and complex conditions but, most importantly, it may shorten their life expectancy by nearly 2 years (Teng KT et al. Strong associations of 9-point body condition scoring with survival and life span in cats. J Feline Med Surg 2018;1-9). More regular vet check-ups could lead to better monitoring of our patients’ body weight, as well as raising owner’s awareness around their cat’s weight and overall health.”

To find more information on cat-friendly clinic accreditation, visit the Cat Friendly Clinic website, which is a run by the charity International Cat Care.

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