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3 Cat Health Myths Debunked!

Posted 10.16.20 by Ellen Buco, DVM

There are several common cat health myths that prevent cats from getting the veterinary care they need. By spreading the news about these myths we are seeing cats live longer, healthier, happier lives. Read on to learn more about cat health.

1. Indoor cats don’t get sick

Indoor cats are protected from some of the dangers of the outside world such as predators, cars, and an assortment of outdoor toxins. Unfortunately,  indoor cats are still susceptible to parasites such as fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. These parasites carry illnesses that can affect multiple organs and even be life threatening. Heartworms, tick borne blood illnesses and mycoplasma haemofelis can make kitties very sick. Thus parasite prevention is very important even in indoor cats.

All cats even indoor cats can develop various endocrine disorders such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism. Indoor cats can also develop a variety of other problems including but not limited to heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, urinary tract infections and kidney disease. Many of these problems can be diagnosed early and managed with routine physical exams and lab work.

2. Cats don’t show signs of being sick

Cats are a unique species in that they show very different symptoms of illness when compared to other species. In the past people have claimed that cats do not feel pain. This has been disproven and studies have shown that cats do show signs of pain but that their signs of pain can range from vocalizing in pain to purring to hiding.

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The easiest way to determine if something is making your cat feel under the weather is to closely monitor your cats routine. If your cat has a variation in routine or stops doing something your cat used to enjoy doing this can be a sign of an underlying problem. For example, if your older cat stops using the upstairs litter box this could indicate that your cat is having some arthritis changes and going up the stairs is painful. Since you know your cat best you are the best person to detect a change in routine before it is a bigger problem. If you notice a change in your cat’s routine let your veterinarian know since this can be an early indication of an issue.

3. Healthy cats don’t need routine check ups and this can help you save money

Routine check ups allow your veterinarian to establish baselines for your cats blood work, weight and dental disease among other things. Noticing changes in these baselines helps veterinarians correct minor changes before they become larger more expensive health issues. For example, if your veterinarian notices a small accumulation of gingivitis and tartar on your cat’s teeth they can recommend a dental water additive or dental treat to help improve the gum and tooth health. This helps prevent more frequent dental cleanings and tooth extractions. Another example is if your veterinarian notices that your cat has gained a lot of weight and is able to correct weight gain early then we can help prevent diabetes and joint issues in cats.

Cats are very different from most other species in a lot of ways but they are excellent pets and family members. Cats can appear very independent but they really do need their owner’s help when it comes to their health. Routine veterinary care can help your cat live a long happy life.

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