Does preventative care feel like unnecessary spending, especially when your cat seems to be fine? She’s not behaving differently from usual, so why bother taking her for a checkup? Shouldn’t you run a test only if she seems obviously sick?
By nature, cats hide illness. It’s a defense mechanism developed after eons of evolution, because in the wild even a sick predator can easily become prey. Singular hunters, cats rely completely on themselves because they’re not a part of a pack. If they become sick, a healthier animal can easily take over their territory.
Their instinct to hide illness explains why many feline diseases don’t cause outright discomfort in early stages. Early kidney disease, for example, is detectable in a test (an ERD level) that’s part of our routine urinalysis screening. This level detects kidney inflammation by identifying a particular protein called albumin, high levels of which suggest inflammation that could indicate an infection or other disease. Caught early, the success rate of eliminating or controlling early onset kidney disease is generally good. Left unaddressed, this problem can cause permanent kidney damage, leading to disease.
If your cat’s sickness is acute, we’ll inevitably recommend more screening to pinpoint the problem and begin immediate treatment. So, preventative care tackles issues before they become real problems, which saves you money.
But preventative care starts at home. You can ensure your cat is as healthy as possible by providing fresh water daily, as well as a healthful brand of cat food.
Another way to ensure good health is by providing your cat with clean, convenient and ample litter boxes. Having enough litter boxes (cleaned twice a day) encourages your cat to eliminate regularly and not to “hold it,” which causes infection.
Brushing her coat and keeping nails trim help reduce the amount of hair she might ingest; short nails avoid problems such as claws growing into the pads.
And of course: spend lots of time loving and playing with your cat and make sure she has a variety of toys to occupy herself with when you’re not home. Remember: a healthy cat is the center of a happy family!