Assistant Managing Editor, NAVC
On National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day, we asked our Facebook audience if their cat owners were less likely to bring their pets to the veterinarian’s office for preventive care compared to dog owners.
Out of 123 votes, 83% replied “yes,” indicating that many of their cat patients are not coming in for routine wellness checkups and vaccinations. This could mean cats are more prone to diseases stemming from parasites, infectious diseases, lack of dental care, imbalanced nutrition, and more.
In the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) latest edition of its Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook 2017-18, it was found that 47.2% of cat-owning households made at least one visit to the veterinarian for preventive care in 2016 compared to 78.8% of dogs. The graph below shows what percentage of cats are receiving preventive care and where they’re getting it from.
Preventive care compliance is as important for cats as it is for dogs, and it is always better to see a pet once a year happy and healthy rather than multiple times once they fall ill or become unwell. However, owner compliance begins with the veterinary team, not the owner.
Begin by properly training your whole staff on the key points of preventive care: vital vaccinations, side effects of common ailments, and the frequency with which to bring a pet in. If clients hear how important preventive care is from your veterinary staff — from the receptionist to the doctor — they are more likely to schedule wellness checkups. Provide handouts about feline preventive care in the waiting room so that cat-owning clients have an opportunity to read about the importance of these visits. Check out this one from the AAHA and AVMA.
Another important part of feline owner compliance is having a feline-friendly practice. Owners are much more likely to feel comfortable taking their cat to the vet if they can see their cat is comfortable as well. Founded by the American Association of Feline Practitioners, becoming a Cat Friendly Practice® can increase not only feline owner compliance but revenue as well.