What is considered preventative care for my cat?
Good question. So, preventative care would be anything that's non-sick-based—things that we do to help ensure that our cats stay happy and healthy and have the best wellness possible. We wouldn't necessarily consider things like your cat sneezing or having urinary issues preventative care, but we want to ensure that we have the best wellness in our cats.
What types of preventative care do you recommend for cats?
There are many different aspects to preventative care. One element may be nutrition or weight-based preventive care, ensuring that your cat is the appropriate size and weight depending on their phase of life and what they're doing—if they're indoors or outdoors. Nutrition is an essential component of that. Of course, we look at vaccinations as being a critical piece of our preventative care as well. Just like with our kittens, we want to make sure that we're boosting them against prevalent infectious agents out there. We vaccinate them a series of times. That's important for our adult cats to make sure they have adequate protection against these infectious agents.
One of the most significant elements of preventative care would be an excellent physical exam that your veterinarian will perform at your preventive care or annual appointment. There'll be an in-depth look at the eyes and mouth, the skin, consistently doing good abdominal palpation in our cats to make sure everything feels appropriate in the abdomen. We'll evaluate the joints and the complete picture of your cat to ensure that there's nothing out of the ordinary that we're seeing.
I know it's easy when we have our cats at home, seeing them every day, maybe if you're working at your desk or in your in-home office and your cat's right there, it becomes easy to perhaps not notice subtle differences. And the physical exam is an opportunity for the veterinarians to maybe pick up on any subtle changes that may be occurring in your cat. It's also time to talk about parasite prevention. Unfortunately, parasites are far too common and something that our cats do face. Depending on your cat's lifestyle, the area where you may live, parasite prevention is critical, ensuring that we have prevention against fleas and ticks and our internal parasites, like roundworms, hookworms, whipworms. And in the Southeast, even heartworms in our cats.
Another element of preventative care may even be grooming, making sure that our cats' coats are well kept and that we don't have excessive matting in their hair, which can be very difficult to get rid of and keep them happy and healthy. When our cats start to get a little older, we need to stay on top of their internal organ function, so not only doing a physical exam but also doing some lab work. We'll look at a blood sample and a urine sample to make sure that that internal organ function is appropriate.
The preventative care exam, or preventive care in general, ensures the best health and wellness and also identifies any sort of changes that may have occurred in their body's function that you may not be seeing in them at home daily.
Why is it important to avoid self-diagnosing my cat?
This is a great question, and I think it can be easy for us to try to name what's going on and what might be wrong with our cats. I will tell you that the most important thing is to be aware of your cat's general behavior. Anytime we sense any changes in that, be it their use of the litter box, inappropriate interactions or behavior with other cats, drinking too much water, going to the bathroom somewhere else in the house, and of course, any respiratory changes—these are all significant changes for you to see. And then, from there, get an appointment for an exam, and we can figure out exactly what's going on with your cat. It would be nice if our cats could talk to us and tell us exactly what's going on. So, it makes it easy for us to see, "Hey, there's something wrong," and we have to be careful as pet owners to ensure that we don't misidentify or misdiagnose something that we go out and research ourselves.
So it's important to identify something that's wrong and then contact your veterinarian for a thorough exam so that we can determine exactly what the problem is. Unfortunately, many problems can be life-threatening in our cats, especially if they go on too long before we try to fix them.
So, there are many elements to preventative care. And at the end of the day, it's really about making sure that our cats are as happy and healthy as possible.
If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (615) 224-7776, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.