5 Reasons Why You Don’t Take Your Cat to the Vet
There are a multitude of reasons why you should take your cat to the vet: a physical exam, the EKG, perhaps routine blood work, vaccinations or to check for parasites in the stool. Need more convincing? Here’s a good synopsis.
Why You Don’t Take Your Cat to the Vet
1. He Looks Fine
I learned the hard way you can’t tell your cat is healthy just by looking (story below).
What if your physician did the same? Most of us look “just fine.” What about your blood pressure? Cholesterol? That heart murmur?
You can’t tell by just looking at someone if they are healthy. The same is true for your pets.
Remember, many animals hide their pain. This article explains why. Your pet may have to be really sick before you even notice.
Because of this, you need to take your cat to the vet for a physical exam from head to tail. Read Healthcare for Cats to learn what a trip to the vet can offer.
2. Why Pay When You Can Google?
We all know how easily Dr. Google can send us into a frenzy.
The random symptom I just looked up guarantees I do indeed have a parasitic jungle disease. And I live in Iowa. But I still have it.
The same is true for googling information about your pet’s health. Everyone should be a well-educated pet owner, but where are you getting your information?
The internet by no means is off limits. We encourage you to find sites you can trust (and your veterinarian endorses). Read and ask questions. Then read more. One article by one person doesn’t always have the answer. (Unless you are reading this and in that case, it does.)
Ultimately you have to trust your veterinarian and rely on his or her expertise to guide your pet health care decisions. If you have questions, call your veterinarian. He or she should be happy to speak with you and answer your questions.
If you aren’t comfortable calling your vet or your vet won’t answer your questions—do you need to find a new one?
3. The Hole in Your Wallet
Yes. Caring for your cat costs money. This may come as a surprise, perhaps because “the cat was free.” Pardon the cliche, but there is no free lunch–or cat.
Most veterinary clinics should be happy to give you estimates. Insider tip: We do not find this to be rude or awkward if you ask for an estimate! We get it. No one wants to sit in an exam room playing the guessing game of “How much is this going to cost?”
Ask for an estimate when you schedule your appointment and you can budget accordingly. Your veterinarian can help you prioritize care if necessary. Understand the pros and cons if you delay a service or test.
If the vet bill is large, consider options like Care Credit (no interesting financing for up to 12 months). Ask if the clinic will work with you on a payment plan. Some clinics may allow you to split a large bill into multiple payments.
Don’t hide from pet care expenses, plan for them.
4. The. Cat. Carrier.
If the sight of the carrier turns your sweet kitty into psycho cat, you are not alone. For many of us, getting the cat in the carrier ranks up there with root canals, taxes, and spending seven hours at IKEA.
No wonder we don’t take our cats to the vet more often. Conquer the carrier and learn how to make it easier.
You might be frustrated, but your cat is terrorized. Do you want to do that to your cat for 20 years or make it easier on everyone? The choice is yours.
5. Lost in the Shuffle: Priorities
I must plead guilty to this. Working at a vet clinic makes this point ten times worse. I don’t make my cat’s trip to the vet a priority.
There, I said it.
I mean to do it, and then a week goes by and then another. It is a pain to do and stresses them out. Or at least that is how I feel.
Reality Check: It comes down to making them a priority.
My pets are deeply important to my family and me. I need to treat them accordingly.
My wake up call happened when one of my cats, Daphne, had a painful tooth disease.
Learn from My Mistake
I had put off one of our cat’s yearly physicals. I told myself, “Daphne looks fine. She’s young and healthy. She eats, drinks, uses the litter box, plays, doesn’t go outside—all is well.” Right?
Wrong! During her routine physical, Dr. Taylor discovered she has Feline Resorptive Lesions on her teeth.
This is a very painful tooth disease where the outer layer of the tooth weakens and erodes. The teeth are fragile, they develop holes in them, and the gums are sore.
He gently took a Q-tip and touched her gums. Her lips started to quiver and twitch. Dr. Taylor explained this was a pain response.
Hearing this made me want to cry. I felt my face get red with emotion.
Even though Daphne looked fine and acted fine, she was not. How horrible was I letting her suffer with that amount of pain?!? I felt awful.
All it took was a veterinarian to look in her mouth and make the diagnosis. But I had to take her to the vet first.
Good news, Daphne is doing wonderfully right now. She had to have a many teeth pulled, but she is no longer in pain. I know she is well because I took her to the vet.
And in case you are wondering, she eats perfectly fine even without teeth. Here she is eating ONE day after having most of her teeth pulled.Kirsten Linney joined Den Herder Veterinary Hospital in 2004. She works behind the scenes on all things financial and is now trying her hand at digital strategy. She grew up on a small farm north of Ames with dogs, cats, pigs, horses, sheep, and one cow. Her family is currently enamored with too many cats (They’re like potato chips–you can’t have just one). They also have three boys, one of whom will hopefully become a veterinarian one day.