01- The Healthcare Needs of Cats
More than many other species, cats need regular preventive healthcare because they are masters of disguise, hiding illness and their signs of sickness are subtle. There is a general misconception that cats are independent and self-sufficient, when, in fact, they are self-reliant. In addition, because many are kept as indoor pets, it is falsely believed that they are free from risk of disease. The solitary nature of cats and the fact that they evolved at risk of being predated upon leads them to be naturally self-defensive, making them challenging for veterinary healthcare teams and clients to work with.
It is essential that the veterinary team deliver a unified message that cats need regular preventive healthcare, as well as routine monitoring of existing disease conditions. It is also important to provide support for clients who we are depending upon to implement our recommendations.
All members of the veterinary healthcare team should recognize and communicate to clients that the following are reasons to seek veterinary care*:
Changes in, or Inappropriate, elimination behaviour
Changes in social interactions
Changes in activity
Changes in sleeping habits
Changes in food and water consumption
Changes in weight – unexplained loss or gain
Changes in grooming
Changes in behaviour
Changes in vocalization
Changes in chewing and bad breath
*Adapted from Have We Seen Your Cat Lately and the Subtle Signs of Sickness (as listed under Resources).
How to tell if your cat is ill:
Have We Seen Your Cat Lately:
- Subtle signs of sickness
- Visiting your veterinarian: tips for a stress-free trip
- The importance of wellness exams
- Common feline illnesses
- Cat friendly practice tools
- Client resources, including how-to videos