Americans love their cats, but taking them to the veterinarian is a different story.
To help increase clinical visits of feline patients, Royal Canin has partnered with celebrity cat-lover Kat Dennings, reality show veterinarian Diarra Blue, DVM, and internet celebrity Hannah “Kitten Lady” Shaw for its annual Take Your Cat to the Vet campaign.
Now in its sixth year, the movement seeks to raise awareness about the importance of preventive veterinary care by encouraging owners to take their cats for an annual checkup and offering tips for how to make the experience easier.
There are more than 90 million cats living in households across the U.S., but less than half receive an annual veterinary exam, Royal Canin says. Indeed, while 83 percent of cats visit the veterinarian before their first birthday, 50 percent do not return until they become sick or are in pain.
“Cats are great at hiding their issues and that’s why Royal Canin’s Take Your Cat to the Vet initiative is so critical,” Dennings says. “Our job is to advocate for all cats and improve their overall well-being. To that end, with less than 50 percent of cats getting regular care, if we can get even one more cat owner to pledge annual wellness visits for their cat, we will have made a difference.”
According to a recent survey by Royal Canin, 63 percent of owners believe if their cat is “acting normal” (e.g. playing, eating, drinking, using the litter box), they do not need to go to the veterinarian. Eighty-four percent, however, stated they would like to be more knowledgeable about potential diseases/health problems their cat may experience as they age.
- Only 33 percent of cat owners are familiar with signs of kidney disease in cats and 28 percent are familiar with urinary blockage or crystals;
- 52 percent do not start paying attention to preventive health care measures for their cat until later in their pet’s life; and
- 72 percent of owners do not pay attention to signs of aging in their cat because their pet acts younger than they are.
“While each annual appointment may look similar, your veterinarian is monitoring for different health concerns depending on your cat’s life stage,” says Catherine Lenox, DVM, Diplomate ACVN, board certified veterinary nutritionist and regulatory veterinary manager at Royal Canin North America. “Cats are private animals, so it can be difficult to tell when they are not feeling well. Even as mature adults, many cats can still look youthful and remain playful.”
As part of the initiative, Royal Canin has also partnered with Orphan Kitten Club’s Mightycat grant program, which aims to provide care to neonatal kittens without mothers.
“We need to protect and care for cats at every age,” Shaw says. “Orphan Kitten Club focuses on kittens in the most need, but the journey does not end there. I would encourage every cat owner to take the pledge and join us in helping improve cat health overall.”
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