ST. CHARLES, Mo., Aug. 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- No one can question our love of cats (and cat memes), but that love isn't translating into visits to the vet. While 92 percent of cat owners agree that their cat's health is important to them, only 41 percent take their cat to the vet for regular checkups, according to a new survey from Royal Canin, a pet nutrition company.1 In fact, only one cat is seen by a veterinarian for every five dogs, despite the fact that 10 million more cats are owned in the United States.2
"We know our cats are smart and expressive, never hesitating to let us know how they feel about every situation," joked Carrie Ann Inaba, choreographer, host, owner of three cats and founder of The Animal Project Foundation. "So it may be easy to forget that they cannot always communicate to us about their hidden health issues. That's why I'm proud to partner with Royal Canin this year for National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day on August 22 to encourage cat owners everywhere to take time to support your cat's health."
Joining the brand in urging more attention to preventive veterinary care for cats are the American Association of Feline Practitioners, CATalyst Council, The International Cat Association and the Cat Fanciers' Association.
To help cat lovers everywhere get involved in National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day, Royal Canin is asking cat owners to share a photo of their beloved feline and/or tips to a successful, stress-free vet visit, using the hashtag #Cat2VetDay. For every share, Royal Canin will donate $5* to Frankie's Friends.
"Our goal with this year's program is to rally cat owners, veterinarians, industry partners and even celebrities together to shine the spotlight on the importance of veterinary care for cats," explained Kamie Eckert, president of Royal Canin USA. "While the gap in preventive veterinary care between dogs and cats in the U.S. continues to be a concern, the great news is that it can be addressed."
Veterinary visits should not be limited to treating an illness or pain. Preventive care through annual or semi-annual visits is critical to a cat's overall health and well-being. Veterinarians can learn important details about a cat's medical history and behaviors, monitor body weight, ensure vaccinations are current and discuss nutrition, the number one topic cat owners are interested in talking to a vet about, according to Royal Canin's survey. Royal Canin offers nutrition options for every stage of a cat's age, lifestyle and breed, which are essential to protecting the health and well-being of every cat.
"Cats provide us with much more than companionship," said Jane Brunt, DVM, Executive Director of the CATalyst Council and owner of Cat Hospital at Towson in Maryland. "Their natural curiosity and playfulness make us laugh. And even though they express their love with purrs, meows, and rubs, they are very good at hiding when they're sick or in pain. This is why it is so important to take your cat to the veterinarian for routine wellness exams: to help reveal possible masked ailments and to make informed decisions about care that may prevent issues before they occur."
In an effort to increase the frequency of preventive visits to the veterinarian by cat owners, Royal Canin sought to better understand why the number of veterinary visits for cats has fallen by 30 percent since 2001.3 Some of the eye-opening findings include:
- 68 percent of cat owners feel that cats are healthier than dogs.
- When asked why cat owners don't take their cat to the vet more often, financial burden is the primary reason (40 percent), while 31 percent of people responded it's because they believe their cat doesn't need to go.
- Two-thirds (66 percent) say they would take their cat more often to the vet if it was easier to do so.
- Men are actually more likely to be found at the vet's office than women. Thirty-four percent of male cat owners visit the vet more than once per year, compared to just one in four women (26 percent).
The survey also revealed a major barrier for cat owners is the stigma associated with taking time away from work to care for pets. Seventy percent of people wish their employers would give them time off to care for their pets. So it's not surprising to learn that more than half (55 percent) would consider telling a white lie to their boss about why they had to miss work if the reason was related to their cat.
"Employers play a critical role in creating an environment that supports responsible pet ownership," said Eckert. "And your employees will appreciate it if you make this part of your company's perks. We found that 71 percent of people have a more favorable opinion of their employers who offer pet-related incentives. It's just one reason we continue to explore programs that allow our associates to use paid time off to assist in caring for their pet."
According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, there are several things cat owners can do to make visits to the veterinarian more stress-free:
- Understand your cat's behavior. The veterinarian's office is unfamiliar and has sights, sounds, and smells that can cause your cat to feel anxious or fearful. Cover their carrier with a towel to help block the sight of other animals and dampen the unfamiliar sounds. Respect your cat's need for time to acclimate to the new environment.
- Help your cat become comfortable with the carrier. Place the carrier in a room at home where your cat spends most of their time and equip it with familiar soft bedding as well as special toys.
- Get the best carrier for your cat. Secure, stable, hard-sided carriers that open from the top and the front, and can also be taken apart in the middle, are best for your cat.
- Take your cat to a Cat Friendly Practice®. These veterinary practices have made specific changes to decrease the stress and provide a more calming environment for you and your cat.
- Keep peace in a multi-cat household. Leave the returning cat in the carrier for a few minutes to see how all your cats react to unfamiliar smells, and separate if there are signs of tension.
For more information and tips on stress-free vet visits for cat owners and cats or to learn more about Royal Canin visit www.royalcanin.com/Cat2VetDay. You can also join the conversation on social media by using hashtag #Cat2VetDay.
ABOUT Royal Canin USA
Royal Canin USA is a leader in science-based cat and dog health nutrition. Founded by a veterinarian in 1968, Royal Canin has more than 40 years of experience in delivering individualized nutritional solutions. In collaboration with an expert team of nutritionists, breeders and veterinarians from around the world, Royal Canin places cats and dogs at the central point of the innovation process. The Royal Canin product line offers a range of diets based on size, age, breed, lifestyle and therapeutic requirements. Royal Canin diets are available at veterinary hospitals and pet specialty stores nationwide. Royal Canin is a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated. To learn more about Royal Canin, visit www.royalcanin.com and "LIKE" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/royalcanin.us.
ABOUT American Association of Feline Practitioners
The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) improves the health and welfare of cats by supporting high standards of practice, continuing education and scientific investigation. The AAFP has a long-standing reputation and track record in the veterinary community for facilitating high standards of practice and publishes guidelines for practice excellence which are available to veterinarians at the AAFP website. Over the years, the AAFP has encouraged veterinarians to continuously re-evaluate preconceived notions of practice strategies in an effort to advance the quality of feline medicine practiced. Launched in 2012, the Cat Friendly Practice® (CFP) program was created to improve the treatment, handling, and overall healthcare provided to cats. Its purpose is to equip veterinary practices with the tools and resources to reduce stress associated with the visit and elevate the standard of care provided to cats. Find more information at www.catvets.com.
ABOUT CATalyst Council
The CATalyst Council brings together people and organizations to transform the health, welfare and value of companion cats. By fostering connections and collaboration throughout the pet industry, animal care, and animal welfare organizations, the CATalyst Council seeks to make a tangible and positive impact on the health and wellbeing of our feline family members. The CATalyst Council strives toward a future where cats are appreciated, loved, and well cared for, and the human-feline bond is celebrated. More information about the CATalyst Council is available at www.catalystcouncil.org.
ABOUT Frankie's Friends
Founded in 1999, Frankie's Friends is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to finding cures and saving pets with cancer and other life-threatening conditions. Frankie's Friends' primary goal is to provide lifesaving and life-enhancing emergency or specialty care for pets whose families cannot afford the full cost of treatment. Frankie's Friends is unique in the world of pet welfare organizations as it works to provide a supportive hand to families in the months and years after they bring that new pet home. We have all been there, rushing our pet to the emergency room with a life-threatening condition. For many, the cost of the care is beyond reach. That is where Frankie's Friends comes in to help. Frankie's Friends assists families who demonstrate substantial financial need and whose pets, with treatment, have a good prognosis for return to a good quality of life. To learn more visit www.frankiesfriends.org.
ABOUT The International Cat Association
TICA®, The International Cat Association® is the world's largest genetic registry of pedigreed and household pet cats, the first and now the world's largest–registry to allow household cats of unknown ancestry to compete for the same titles and awards as pedigreed cats. The responsible breeding of pedigreed cats preserves the distinct characteristics of individual pedigreed breeds and ensures the continuation of predictable physical and behavioral traits for future generations. TICA and its members work together to promote the preservation of pedigreed cats and the health and welfare of ALL domestic cats through education, responsible cat ownership, and proper care to the owners of millions of cats in 104 countries worldwide. TICA currently recognizes 71 breeds of cats. Wherever you are, you're in TICA's World. Fabulous felines, fun, and friendships. To learn about TICA www.tica.org.
ABOUT Cat Fanciers' Association
The Cat Fanciers' Association, Inc. (CFA) was founded in 1906 as a not-for-profit association of member clubs and is the world's largest registry of pedigreed cats. CFA's mission is to preserve and promote the pedigreed breeds of cats and to enhance the well-being of ALL cats. CFA promotes education, responsible cat ownership and proper care to the owners of millions of cats worldwide. CFA and its affiliate clubs work nationally with local shelters to help humanely reduce homeless and feral cat populations and to encourage voluntary neuter/spay of pet cats. To learn more about the Cat Fanciers' Association, the pedigreed breeds of cats, or to find the nearest CFA cat show, visit the web site at www.cfa.org.
*Subject to a maximum donation of $20,000
1 Between June 26-27, 2017, 2,009 cat owners, ages 18+, were surveyed by Royal Canin USA, a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated.
2 Banfield State of Pet Health Report, 2016: http://www.banfield.com/Banfield/media/PDF/Downloads/soph/Banfield-State-of-Pet-Health-Report-2016.pdf
3 AAHA Pets Matter, August 19, 2015: http://www.aaha.org/blog/petsmatter/post/2015/08/19/687773/Pet-health-Why-regular-veterinary-visits-matter.aspx
SOURCE Royal Canin