Saturday, September 7, 2013

Cats. The most popular pet and yet the most neglected.

Goodness Gracious! Can it be?

Yet another article on how Americans pay so little attention to their cats? The dilemma du jour, du decade..for the last to resolve the mindset that cats, although the most popular pet, are also the most neglected when it comes to veterinary care.

Another four pages of an article of why's:
  • Why do cat parents not get routine care?
  • Why do they think that they don't need to?
  • Why are cat parents afraid to bring their cats to the vets?
  • Why can't vets figure out how to overcome the cat parents obstacles to not seeking routine care?
A few studies and programs the article references that have been designed and implemented over the last few years to help understand the whys? and help address them. They are;

The statistics the article shares speak volumes as to the magnitude of this problem.

  • 83% of people bring their cat to the vet within the first year of ownership.
  • After that the number drops to 48% per year. Almost half of people stop bringing their cat to the vet after their first year!! Shocking! 
  • Worse yet, about 20% of the veterinarians surveyed had not brought their own cats in for an examination during the past year. 

The points this article presents are;

  • How do veterinarians help encourage more visits? 
  • How do we educate people about how important routine care is? 
Well, apparently we better do all of that at the first visit. We now have to discuss all of the kittens first year needs, litter box issues, diet, behavior, spay/neuter, indoor and outdoor concerns, de-worming, hairballs, exercise, AND NOW, everything else for the rest of that cats life, JIC you never come back? OR, be optimistic and hope you are part of the 48% and open a dialogue about why it is so important to return in a year.

The numbers behind this article from the studies that have been conducted help fill in the sad statistical gaps.
  • 70% of people acquire their cat for "free." (How much does it cost you to adopt vs "free").
  • Nearly 40% of cat owners surveyed don't think their cat needs yearly vet visits.
  • Nearly 40% of cat owners surveyed who become stressed when thinking about bringing their cat s to the vet. 

There are so many reasons.
  • Cats are perceived as being self-sufficient and reliant. That their survival instincts give their guardians a false feeling of not needing much more than food, water, and shelter.
  • It is thought that because many of those "free" cats don't get veterinary care and therefore their guardians are never educated on how important routine care is and how it benefits their pet.
  • Cat parents also are very sensitive to the stress that taking their cat anywhere causes. The wrangling to corral them into a cage. The blood bath they are exposed to. The endless crying pleas on that previously short, but now never-ending, trip to the vet. STRESSFUL!
  • Many people don't believe that their cat is at risk for any diseases if they are kept inside.
  • Many people don't realize that in almost all states rabies vaccinations are required (mandated by law) to be kept current.
Did you know that the veterinary industry has spent over $5.5 million on trying to figure out why so few people seek care for their cats, AND, how to encourage them to keep their cats current on veterinary care and disease prevention?

  • Opening a dialogue with clients about why routine care benefits them and their pet.
  • Opening a dialogue about why they aren't visiting?
  • Discussing possible ways to lessen the stress of traveling, capturing, and examining.
  • Cat exclusive times in the clinic.
  • A whole clinic approach to caring for cats as the uniquely sensitive beings they are.
  • Follow through. Call and check-in after the cat goes home. Discuss examination findings, follow up advice, short and long term plans, and what worked at this visit and what to work on to make the next easier.
The above information comes from the September 1, 2013 article Herding Cat Owners, Groups to encourage veterinary clinic visits. 

Please share your thoughts, and please help us take care of your feline pets. 

If you have any pet related questions I can be reached anytime at I can also be found on Twitter at FreePetAdvice or at Pawbly.

No comments:

Post a Comment