Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Heart of the Matter

Cats get the short end of the pet care straw.  Now, of course, there are some wonderful cat owners out there. These people truly understand the immensely wonderful relationship you can have with a cat. They know that cats do seek and love affection as much as dogs, often in different ways, but sometimes JUST like dogs!

What's wearing on me is how often I see cats that haven't been to a vet in years. These people sometimes have dogs too. And quite often, they bring the dog in regularly but not poor kitty.

While Americans own more cats than dogs, far less is spent on cats in terms of healthcare.

There are several reasons for this:
1. they don't realize that the cat is sick - cats do hide illness quite well
2. the attitude of "it's just a cat" and my dog is my best friend
3. they think because kitty doesn't go out, she's fine

What has brought this to my blog is that in the past few days, I have seen 2 cats that hadn't been to a vet in years and now had a significant heart murmur. One cat was young and was just in for a check-up. The cat was a little less active overall. THAT can be hard to tell since cats sleep the majority of the day! This cat MAY have cardiomyopathy and needs a cardiac ultrasound. If he does, he may benefit from some medications. The owner may be surprised to see his activity level change if that's the case.

The other cat had a problem that will require anesthesia and a surgical procedure AND now also has a heart murmur. Who knows when either of these cats developed this. AND as with other health issues - the longer things go on, the worse it generally is - harder to correct/fix or so much damage has been done we are limited in our ability to prolong or delay progression of a disease.  

Inside only cats need yearly check ups too. We see dental disease, skin issues, heart problems, abdominal masses, and the list goes on - especially as they get to be >8yrs old. Weight loss is a BIG indicator of many things in the cat but how can we know if the cat is now 9 yrs old and hasn't been to a vet since 2 yrs of age???  

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