photo of yawning cat

Observant Pet Parents & Preventive Care Save Lives

In the pet popularity contest cats are a close second to dogs, yet they get much less preventive medical care. That’s because of a widespread misperception that they’re lower maintenance pets. That just isn’t so. Oh sure, they can stay indoors, munch from a brimming bowl of dry food, and then poop in a box. It’s what you don’t know about your cat’s health that could be a killer.

Sadly, your cat hates going to the veterinarian-and so do you. I get it. But thanks to Fear Free handling methods scared kitties don’t have to be subjected to WWE-style restraint. There are now veterinarians and their staffs who are trained and certified Fear Free. (fearfreepets.com)

Cats have a serious need for annual physical exams. Some go years with painful erosive tooth lesions, making it miserable for them to eat. Benign thyroid tumors are common in cats over age 10; chronic kidney failure is a fact of life in all older cats. Be observant. Give a gentle pinch to the top of your cat’s spine once a week. If it’s getting that boney feel, you may have discovered muscle loss.

Nobody likes thinking that their beloved pet’s health may be withering. To avoid this emotional pain cat lovers are known to invent fanciful explanations. Rather than diabetes or kidney disease causing excessive urination, maybe that flooded litter pan indicates a roof leak in that part of the house. Here’s another one: A cat who has happily feasted on the same food for years quits eating. Maybe she’s suddenly bored with it? Should you experiment with a dozen designer diets for fussy felines? You could waste a lot of valuable life trying to coax your nauseated kitty to eat – or you could have him examined.

I really love my cats, Tony and Gaston, but they are sneaky rascals. They make fun of our dog Miss America and, of course, I suspect that they swap jokes at my expense too. They’re tricky little devils so I watch them closely. They think they’re smarter than I am but neither one has a degree in veterinary medicine. I’m betting that yours don’t either.

Each week Dr. Jeff Nichol makes a short video, blog, or a Facebook Live to help bring out the best in pets. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Dr. Nichol treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (505-792-5131). You can post pet behavioral or physical questions at facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.