(Family Features) Adopting and fostering pets continues to trend as people across the nation add furry friends to their families for company during these unprecedented times. However, building a bond is just the first step to pet ownership; curiosity and care for your pet’s health lasts its entire life.
Strong bonds with pets are among the more positive outcomes of being in quarantine. Nearly 40% of people agree they couldn’t have made it through quarantine without their pets, according to a survey by Royal Canin. However, of the more than 90 million cats in United States households, more than half do not receive a yearly veterinary exam, according to the American Pet Products Association.
Cats are typically stoic, so if they are giving obvious indications of not feeling well, they need to be examined promptly. However, it’s not always obvious that something is affecting your cat’s health, and in the context of a pandemic, it may not be clear how to address concerns.
In honor of its annual #Cat2Vet campaign, which aims to improve the lives of cats by encouraging owners to schedule regular veterinary checkups, the experts at Royal Canin offer these tips for becoming more curious about your cat’s health.
Potential health signals
If your cat is otherwise acting normal, there may be a few hints that he or she isn't actually feeling well. Watch for weight loss, changes in appetite or water intake, coughing or sneezing, acting lethargic, vomiting, changes in stool quality and more or less urine in the litter box.
If there’s anything unusual going on with your cat, ask your vet if you have concerns. The staff at your clinic can help you determine if a visit is necessary.
Accessing veterinary care
Many clinics offer curbside services where pet owners stay outside instead of entering the clinic. You can tell your veterinarian about your concerns over the phone while he or she examines your cat.
Another option is mobile veterinary services, which are available in many areas. Mobile services can be utilized for routine visits, sick visits, hospice visits or other specialized care. Emergency clinics and specialty hospitals are also open if needed as veterinarian clinics are considered essential businesses.
Some veterinarians are also offering telehealth services for pet owners. In addition, Royal Canin offers cat owners free access to Ask.Vet’s chat service. The service provides access to licensed veterinarians from the safety of your home 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Simply sign up at Ask.Vet or text “chatnow” to 67076 to be connected with a veterinarian who can answer health-related questions.
Preparing for a visit
Especially for cats who are not accustomed to regular vet visits, a trip when they’re already feeling unwell can be stressful. Consider these tips to help ease the experience:
- Rather than keeping the cat carrier hidden away, make it accessible for your cat to get familiar and comfortable with the way it looks and smells.
- Make daily time for activities like brushing and nail trims that help desensitize your cat to being touched.
- Use pheromone wipes and sprays to help relax your cat and reduce stress before the trip.
- Play calming music at an appropriate volume to help calm cats at home and in the car on the way to the vet.
Join the conversation about feline health and share why you take your cat to the vet annually by using #Cat2Vet on social media, and visit RoyalCanin.com/cathealth to learn more and enter to win a prize pack to prep your cat’s next vet visit.
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