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 Angela Kinsey on a campaign to support National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day (Aug. 22).
The campaign, #Cat2Vet, 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.
“I’ve been in love with cats since I was very young,” says Kinsey, who played cat-enthusiast Angela Martin on The Office (U.S.). “Our cats rely on us for all their health needs, so that’s why I jumped at the opportunity to join Royal Canin’s Take Your Cat to the Vet campaign and become an advocate for cat health.”
More than 42 million households across the U.S. own cats; however, only half are seen by a veterinarian regularly, Royal Canin says.
“More often than not, people don’t take their cat to the veterinarian until the cat is visibly ill,” says Royal Canin partner Natalie Marks, DVM, CVJ. “Cats are such stoic animals and do not show their pain until it is severe, which is why it is so important to take your cat to the veterinarian on a regular basis, [as] otherwise owners may end up spending significantly more time getting their cat back to better health.”
While the evasiveness of felines in clinics can be attributed to many factors, most owners say they would be more willing to take their pet to the veterinarian if the experience was easier and less stressful, both for them and for their cat.
To help increase feline visits, veterinarians should share the following tips with their cat-owning clients, courtesy Royal Canin and Dr. Marks:
- Purchase a welcoming cat carrier. Place it in a common area of your home so your cat becomes acclimated and comfortable with it
- Use pheromone wipes and sprays to help relax your cat and reduce stress
- Make time for daily touch with your cat (e.g. brushing, nail trims) to help desensitize it from being touched and/or handled
Likewise, it is important veterinarians do what they can to ensure a positive in-clinic experience and create a “feline-welcoming” environment. Marks offers several suggestions for ways clinics can establish a cat-friendly atmosphere, such as:
- introducing separate waiting areas for dogs and cats;
- creating a cat-specific exam room with cat shelves; and
- building a carrier tower so feline patients do not have to be eye-level with dogs.
“Royal Canin is committed to making a better world for pets,” says Brent Mayabb, DVM, the company’s chief veterinary officer. “This campaign will inspire cat lovers to make feline health a priority. Regular visits to the veterinarian help ensure cats are healthy and happy for years to come.”
Many cat-focused groups have joined the campaign, including:
- American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP);
- Antech Diagnostics;
- Banfield Animal Hospital;
- Banfield Foundation;
- CATalyst Council;
- Doc & Phoebe’s Cat Co.;
- Frankie’s Friends;
- Bridge Club;
- Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA);
- The International Cat Association (TICA); and
- Winn Feline Foundation.
“Pet happiness and pet health go hand in hand,” says Chewy Healthcare vice president, Mita Malhotra. “Partnering with Royal Canin to promote cat veterinary visits further speaks to Chewy’s mission of enhancing the lives of pets and pet parents.
“We’re thrilled to work on an initiative that supports our veterinary partners and encourages the importance of feline health and well-being. We believe cats should always have a comfortable, stress-free experience when visiting the veterinarian.”
Owners are encouraged to get involved in the campaign—which runs between Aug. 22 and Sept. 30—by sharing a photo of their cat on social media, using the hashtag #Cat2Vet, and tagging Royal Canin and their veterinary clinic. For every share, participants will have a chance to win a prize package, including a year’s supply of cat food, a cat carrier, pheromone wipes, and more.
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