Over 35% of Aussie cats’ health may be at risk according to research. The Village Vets get behind a new campaign urging owners to take action. Feline health risks not always plain to see.
A new Aussie cats’ health awareness campaign called Have We Seen Your Cat Lately? has been launched in response to research revealing over a third (35%) of pet cats are not receiving regular veterinary care1. The report revealed over 1.36 million pet cats were missing out on critical health checks1. Australia is a nation of pet lovers with a growing cat population of over 3.8 million cats1, however, it seems some cat owners may be unwittingly neglecting the health needs of their furry companions.
The initiative is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health with support from the Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) as well as global stakeholders the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), charity International Cat Care (iCatCare) and its veterinary division the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM). It aims to clarify common myths and misconceptions around cat health and to encourage owners to commit to regular checkups to ensure their cat’s long-term health.
It can be challenging visiting the vet with your cat for a check-up, here are a few tips to help make your trip to the vet stress-free. A tongue in cheek video developed for the campaign highlights the difficulty pet owner’s face in getting their cats to the vet.
Well, known Australian veterinarians, Dr James Carroll and Dr Anthony Bennett (Foxtel’s The Village Vets) are getting behind the campaign to encourage cat owners to do right by their beloved pets.
Dr Bennett says, “It is distressing to hear that over a third of Australian cats aren’t getting the necessary vet care they need. People often assume cats will display visible signs of illness like dogs do. Cats are actually quite adept at masking pain. This means you might not realise something is wrong until the problem is really serious.”
“Cats can also be less than cooperative when it comes to transportation so owners may put it off to avoid distressing them. This is actually doing more harm than good. With proper preparation before heading to the vet, you can minimise their discomfort and get peace of mind,” said Dr Bennett.
Mark Fraser, Chief Executive Officer of the Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA), says it’s important for cat owners to commit to regular health checks.
“Cats make great pets because they are naturally curious, unique and often independent. However, it’s sometimes these same traits that make it difficult to detect when they might be experiencing health issues. Australian cat owners need to be doing the right thing by their pets. Taking your cat to the vet at least once a year can help give you peace of mind and ensure that any issues are detected early. This is a key part of being a responsible pet owner.”
The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and iCatCare recommend a minimum of one annual health check for cats, with more frequent exams for senior and geriatric patients, or cats with medical or behavioural conditions.
“Cats have a unique ability to survive even the most precarious of situations, which in the wild, is aided by hiding signs of illness from competitors and predators. Unfortunately, this has also done our pet cats a huge disservice, as owners often do not recognize early signs of illness. Establishing a partnership with your veterinarian can go a long way in detecting illness and disease, and preventing the severe consequences that can ensue,” states Dr Lauren Demos, AAFP President.
Cats are independent, territorial animals which can make visits to a vet clinic stressful. Australians are being encouraged to review recommendations to de-stress the experience and share photos of their cats using the official hashtag #Cat2Vet on Facebook or Instagram.
You can visit www.HaveWeSeenYourCatLately.com.au to get tips about Aussie cats’ health including tips for a stress-free vet visit, common cat illnesses or to complete a free health risk assessment.
Cats’ health – Myths and Misconceptions
- Animal Medicines Australia. Pet Ownership in Australia Report (2016).