Feline advocacy groups are clamoring for life long care for cats. Are our feline friends really a neglected species? The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), The Morris Animal Foundation, the CATalyst Council, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and veterinary staff want to help cat owners strengthen their knowledge about cat ownership and better understand what their cats need in order to be optimally healthy and happy. To read more about AAFP, go to catvets.com and AAHA go to aahanet.org. You might be surprised to learn that cats receive far less veterinary care than dogs: according to their research, AAFP learned that the main factors contributing to less health care for cats are:
- Misunderstandings about the signs of cat illness
- Misunderstandings about cat illnesses, including heartworm disease
- Difficulty getting cats to the veterinary office
Did you know that, according to recent surveys of cat owners performed by Brakke Consulting and the AVMA,:
- 83% of cats receive a complete examination from a veterinarian in their first year living with a new owner
- 48% of cats receive a complete examination from a veterinarian in subsequent years
- Preventable diseases in cats have increased and the increase is correlated with the lack of veterinary care for cats
- 40% of cat owners are stressed out about bringing their cats to the veterinarian
- 36.1 million people in the U.S. own the 74.1 million cats in the U.S., an average of 2 cats per cat owner
- Cat owners who consider their cats a member of their family will take their cats for veterinary care four times more often than cat owners who don’t.
- Dog owners are more likely to take their dogs, not their cats, to the veterinarian.
Why is there such a disparity amongst pet owners regarding the care provided for cats versus dogs?
Misunderstandings about the signs of cat illness. There are common misconceptions about cats and their behavior. These misconceptions have evolved over years and years of cats existing in our society, both as un-owned, stray animals living on city streets, suburban neighborhoods and farms. In fact, it had become a generally concept in the general public that cats are self –sufficient (“They only come around when they want food or shelter”), require very little care (“They can take of themselves-look how well they survive outdoors on their own” and prefer to be alone (“They always go off by themselves and hide”).