September is Happy Cat Month!
Happy Cat Month is an event created by the CATalyst Council to improve cat wellness by focusing on happiness. Scientific studies have shown that happy cats are healthier cats. As a follow up to National Take Your Cat To The Vet Day in August, Happy Cat Month’s first week highlights the importance of your Happy Healthy Cat. We aim to go beyond the basic levels of cat care to ensure that each cat has a happy, joyful, fulfilling life. We believe you can help your cats reach this by focusing on four major categories: health, enrichment, safety, and value. One category will be featured per week and relevant information and resources will be shared with cat owners, so we can work together to counteract common stereotypes & ensure cats are well cared for and live their best, happy lives. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook this month for additional information in each of these four categories and for links to future related blog posts!
Our September Newsletter
Happy Cat Month Site
Happy Healthy Cats
How to improve your cat’s health and happiness
Schedule Preventive Care Wellness Veterinary Visits
There are a few common misconceptions that keep people from taking cats to the veterinarian:
- Cats are viewed as independent and able to take care of themselves
- Cats are assumed to be healthy if they don’t appear to be sick
- Cats living indoors are thought to be safe from illness and injury
The truth is that cats do need your help! They are not too independent for medical care and they especially require wellness and preventive care veterinary visits because it’s in their nature to hide symptoms when they become ill. By the time your cat is showing symptoms, whether it’s always indoors or not, they’ve probably been sick for a long time, and a veterinary visit may be way overdue and far more stressful by then. Regular check-ups ensure that a veterinarian can catch early signs of illnesses before symptoms show up and for that reason, veterinary organizations advise check-ups for adult cats at least once a year. And just as with children and seniors, kittens and senior cats need more. There are obvious signs that your cat doesn’t feel good, like pawing at their face, any type of discharge, redness, hair loss, lethargy, limping, or swelling, and you can learn to catch some other common warning signs before any problem gets too out of hand (for example, feline diabetes), but the most common warning sign of an illness may be simple changes in your cat’s behavior or habits.
A simple change in your cat’s
behaviors or habits
could be a sign of a more
WebMD’s Pet section is a great resource to read about more common symptoms, but if you notice that something seems off, it is a good idea to plan a trip to the veterinarian and get your cat feeling healthy and back to normal as soon as possible.
A Cat Friendly Veterinary Practice Adds Comfort + Empathy.
58% of cat owners report that their cat hates going to the doctor! (Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study III: Feline Findings) The American Association of Feline Practitioners established a Cat Friendly Practice Program to improve quality of veterinary care for cats by reducing stressors. Cat Friendly Practices understand unique feline needs, provide cat-friendly guidelines, educate veterinarians about calm environments, and have quality staff receiving ongoing training in feline-friendly handling and medical care. To find a veterinary clinic near you that has earned the title of a Cat Friendly Practice, search here.
A New Approach to the Cat Carrier
Once we understand the importance of preventative care, have found a cat-friendly practice, and have resolved to schedule a check-up, the hardest part of getting cats to the veterinarian may be getting them into carriers. CATalyst Council’s executive director Dr. Jane Brunt shares 7 Tips for Getting Your Cat to the Vet, a wonderful resource to make the trip go smoothly and ensure that your cat feels comfortable in their carrier. CATalyst Council’s Cats and Carriers video is another great resource for convincing cats to love their carriers. The key is gentleness and a little bit of preparation time! To ensure your cat’s comfort and safety on the way to the veterinary office, Sleepypod (the safest pet company) makes cozy carriers suited for any sized pet. A comfortable carrier will cut down on both the travel and waiting room stress for your cat.
Preventive Care Wellness Plans
Veterinarians will prescribe a preventative care plan specific to your cat’s individual needs based on their lifestyle. This plan will usually involve spaying or neutering your cat, core vaccines (such as the rabies vaccine), and common preventive medications. Preventative medicine for fleas, ticks, and heart worms are common, usually after an initial screening. Check with your veterinarian to see what the best options are for your cats! During your cat’s next wellness exam, make sure to ask your veterinarian about your cat‘s dietary needs, immunizations, dental care, any changes in habits and if blood work or other tests would help uncover any conditions not found on the physical examination.
Pet Health Insurance
When a pet becomes sick, it’s rarely all patched up and fixed within a single veterinary visit. It often requires multiple return visits to check on progress and prescriptions. Anyone who has been to a doctor knows that medical care is expensive, so it’s a relief knowing humans aren’t the only ones who qualify for health insurance – cats can get it too! The North American Pet Health Insurance Association has a complete list of its members that you can get insurance from here. CATalyst Council thanks its three pet insurance sponsors (all of whom are featured on NAPHIA’s list):
The whole process of getting a free quote & plan options takes less than a minute on each of these sites, so it’s worth having some peace of mind knowing you’re insured and won’t have to worry about being able to provide the best medical care for your cats!