Cat Preventive Care - Why Preventive Care Is Essential For Your Cat's Longevity

What is considered preventative care for my cat?

Preventative care for your cat is akin to preventative care in humans. The idea is to catch or prevent problems before they occur. Not only is it cheaper to fix, but it's cheaper to not have those problems happen at all. This includes measures such as flea and tick prevention, particularly if your cat has access to the outdoors. Heartworm prevention is also crucial as it is as important in cats as it is in dogs. Cats are also prone to certain diseases as they age, such as arthritis, and cats are masters at hiding their illnesses.

Pets get dental disease just like we do. Because we don't brush their teeth as often as we should or do maintenance dental care, even though it is recommended, those exams are so important to catch dental disease early because dental disease can get quite expensive to treat, especially if you're extracting or doing oral surgery or bone grafts or drilling. So making sure that we're looking at the teeth and taking care of them really helps.

Making sure that your cats are on an appropriate diet. Kittens are going to be on kitten food. Adult cats are going to be on adult cat food. If you have an overweight kitty, make sure you're on a weight plan because obesity in cats and dogs is a real problem. Their joints break down faster than ours do, so having that pressure on their joints when they're overweight is going to make them weigh a lot more. This little girl is on a diet right now for that exact problem. It's much easier to prevent weight gain than to try to get the weight off.

Preventative care also includes running lab work on your cat once a year. We strongly recommend these preventative wellness programs because catching liver disease, kidney disease, or urinary tract infection before they're symptomatic is going to make the difference on how easy it is to treat, how cheap it is to treat, and whether we can do outpatient care versus aggressive medical men intervention. For instance, I had a kitty cat last week that came in with elevated liver values. but the cat feels fine. The owner had no idea there was a problem, and neither did I on a physical exam. We caught it on routine lab work when the cat was only ten years old. Imagine if we hadn't caught that. It might have turned into another patient that I saw when she was thirteen or fourteen. She came in jaundiced or yellow from liver failure, and she was in the emergency hospital for five days. They spent thousands on care. Imagine if we would have caught that early. We would have been able to intervene. So a lot of this is all about preventing illnesses before they happen.

It's the same reason we get vaccines. Vaccines prevent illnesses. They're not a hundred percent effective, but if you do catch the disease or they catch the disease, it's going to be a shorter, less severe course of disease because the immune system is already prepped for it. Preventative care is exactly what it says. It's prevention. We are trying to catch things early or prevent things from happening. That way our pets can live longer, specifically our cats.

Dr. Meghan Denney
Four Paws At Fulshear

What are some risks of failing to provide preventative care for my cat?

Cats are notorious for hiding their illnesses. They often don't show signs of discomfort until the issue becomes severe. Some of the first things that you might notice is they're not eating so well, maybe they're only eating on one side of their mouth, they're dropping kibbles, or not chewing them completely. When they hide their illnesses, we're not going to know something's wrong until they're vomiting multiple times a day or dropping a rapid amount of weight. It's much easier and cost-effective to prevent these issues rather than trying to put out a "grease fire".

Why is it important to avoid self-diagnosing my cat?

Self-diagnosis can be dangerous because you may be wrong. Many diseases have similar symptoms. For instance, drinking and urinating more is a symptom of kidney disease, but it's also a symptom of urinary tract infection or diabetes. Dropping weight rapidly can be a symptom of diabetes or cancer, but it's also a symptom of a disease called hyperthyroidism where the thyroid is hyperactive in cats. Without proper diagnostic testing, it's easy to misdiagnose the problem, and if you're wrong, your cat's going to get much worse much quicker, and then it's going to be a lot harder for us to turn things around if we can at all.

Sometimes we get owners think they've done their best, and they have. In their heart of hearts, they truly believe that they know what's going on with their animal, and it's not for lack of love. These owners love their pets. However, sometimes they're wrong, and by the time they come in because they get an inkling that what might have worked in the past isn't working, we are now fighting an uphill battle, and sometimes we lose that battle. My job is to try to make sure that that doesn't happen and that we catch these conditions when they're treatable and preventable. That way we're not potentially having to deal with saying goodbye to one of our beloved pets.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (281) 801-1444, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Cat Preventive Care - FAQs

Dr. Meghan Denney
Four Paws At Fulshear

What does cat preventative care mean?

Preventative care is exactly like it is for humans. It involves taking your cat for an annual exam every year, and possibly twice a year when they're older. It includes managing conditions they may already have and paying attention to changes in their behavior. The primary goal of preventative care is to prevent disease or to catch it in the early stages when it's more manageable, treatable, or curable.

What is included during a cat preventive care appointment?

These are usually called annual exams, and it's important to remember that our pets age much faster than us. During these exams, we do lab work to establish a baseline of health for your cat. This way, even if there is a subtle change, we can detect it. It's far better to catch a disease before your cat starts showing symptoms. This can mean the difference between aggressive medical management, which can be expensive, versus outpatient care which is less costly. Preventative medicine is so important because it allows us to catch potential issues early on.

Is cat preventive care optional?

While it's technically optional, it's strongly recommended. Just like with human health, things can change quickly. Preventative medicine can help your cat live a longer, healthier life and allows us to regularly check their organ function and catch problems before they start.

Do I need to consider flea and tick prevention for my cat, especially if it's indoor only?

Even if your cat is indoor-only, flea and tick prevention is still important. Fleas can come inside on us or other pets, and here in Texas, we also have to worry about heartworm disease which is transmitted by mosquitoes that can come inside. Once a cat gets heartworms, it's very difficult to treat, so prevention is key.

What type of preventive care for my cat can I do at home?

Paying attention to your cat's normal behaviors is a form of preventative care that you can do at home. Changes in their behavior, such as drinking more water. Cats are really good at hiding their diseases, so you may notice that your cat is limping, not playing as much, sleeping more than normal, or maybe instead of jumping straight up on the cat tree, they're taking steps to stick it up to the top and steps to stick it down. Where they used to run up your steps fluidly, now they're kind of taking their time, or when they're coming down the steps in your house, they're taking time and they're kind of bunny hopping down. These are signs that have actual pain. Checking your cat's teeth and monitoring their breath can also help detect problems early. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, it's best to make an appointment with a vet. I thought I found a bump or a little growth on one of my cats about six to eight months ago. It was a little tumor, so that had to come off. But this is the type of preventative care that you can do at home. You're going to pick up on things because you're seeing your cat every single day. I see your cat once a year.

By the fact that you're seeing them all the time, you are going to pick up on things and what I would tell you is listen to your gut. If something is not normal, call and make an appointment. You are going to be the best advocate for your cat because you are the best person that knows them a hundred percent. You're the one that knows all their different meows. You're the one that knows their behaviors and their patterns. You're going to know when something's different. Are they hiding under the bed? Are they sleeping in the closet? Are they not greeting you when you come home? Are they not chirping at you for their food at the regular times? So you are going to be the best person to help with preventative care at home because you are going to pick up on those tiny nuances that I'm not going to see because I'm only seeing them once a year.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (281) 801-1444, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram