ST. CHARLES, Mo., Aug. 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- We all know how much Americans love their cats. In fact, approximately one third of households across the United States own at least one cat.1 Sadly, even with so many loving homes, many of these cats aren't receiving the medical attention they need. Research from Royal Canin found that 53 percent of cat owners who haven't taken their cat to the vet in the last 12 months said they just "didn't think it was necessary."2
In order to improve the healthcare of cats in the United States, Royal Canin, a global leader in pet health nutrition is once again leading the charge for this year's Take Your Cat to the Vet Day on August 22, 2018.
"Cats are incredible animals. They teach us so many lessons about life, including how to care for something other than ourselves," explained Ian Somerhalder, actor and owner of two cats and various other foster animals. "They rely on us. And we need to make their health a priority. That's why I'm really passionate about Royal Canin's Take Your Cat to the Vet Day initiative and hope more cat owners will schedule regular vet appointments for their cats.
Also joining Somerhalder and Royal Canin to help raise awareness about the importance of preventive veterinary care are The American Association of Feline Practitioners, The International Cat Association, CATalyst Council and The Cat Fanciers' Association.
"Our company's mission is to make the world a better place for cats and dogs alike," said Kamie Eckert, president of Royal Canin USA. "Through this campaign, we aim to inspire cat lovers everywhere to make feline health a priority and schedule regular visits to the veterinarian to ensure their cats live their happiest, healthiest lives."
Cat owners avoid scheduling veterinary visits for many reasons, whether it be difficulty getting their cat to the vet or the belief that indoor cats aren't as susceptible to illness or disease. Cats are also known to disguise their discomfort, which can allow health-related problems to go undetected by their owners.
According to Royal Canin research, 21 percent of cat owners said they take their cat to the vet only after it's already showing signs of illness. However, veterinary visits should not be limited to when your cat is in pain or battling an illness. In addition to vaccinations and routine checkups, it is critical to take cats to the vet regularly so that any health issues may be identified before they become more serious.
What's more, cat owners avoid veterinary visits at double the rate as dog owners. Only one in four dog-only owners (26 percent) said they didn't think it was necessary to take their dog to the vet in the past year—compared to over half of cat-only owners (53 percent), who said it wasn't necessary to take their cat.
"Regular feline veterinary care is crucial for the health and happiness of your cat," said Dr. Catherine Lenox, Royal Canin Scientific Affairs Manager and board-certified veterinary nutritionist. "Just like dogs, cats need to see the veterinarian on a regular basis for wellness exams, not only when there's a serious medical need. Cat owners should identify a time throughout the year that can serve as a regular reminder for this important check-up – such as back to school or when they schedule their own annual medical appointment."
Royal Canin's research revealed many other noteworthy findings when comparing veterinary visits between dog and cat owners:
- While 85 percent of cat owners tout that their pet is up-to-date on vaccinations, this number among dog owners spikes to an impressive 94 percent.
- Dog owners are more likely to recall reminders from their veterinarian for annual appointments. Eighty-nine percent of dog-only households receive reminders from a vet regarding annual checkups, compared to 73 percent of cat-only households.
- When it comes to barriers to visiting the vet, the travel weighs much more on cat households, with 16 percent citing simply getting in and out of a travel carrier as a preventing factor. Travel only limited vet visits for 5 percent of dog owners who didn't see a vet in the last year.
Additionally almost half (47 percent) of people who own only cats said they would be more willing to take their cat to the vet's office were it a less stressful process. While it's not surprising that many owners find taking their cat to the vet to be a stressful experience, there are many things they can do to help reduce the stress, for the cat and owner alike.
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 of your cats react to unfamiliar smells, and separate if there are signs of tension.
For more information and to locate a veterinarian near you 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.
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 50 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/royalcaninus.
American Association of Feline Practitioners
The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) supports its members in improving the health and welfare of cats through high standards of practice, continuing education, and evidence-based medicine. As a trusted leader in the veterinary community, the AAFP has a long-standing reputation and track record for facilitating high standards of practice and providing educational resources to veterinary teams, including guidelines for practice excellence and an annual conference. Over the years, the AAFP has encouraged veterinary professionals 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 (catvets.com) was created to improve the treatment, handling, and overall healthcare provided to cats. Its purpose is to provide veterinary practices with the tools and resources to reduce stress associated with the visit and elevate the standard of care provided to cats. With the belief that cat caregivers are instrumental to feline health and welfare, in 2017, the AAFP launched catfriendly.com, a consumer-focused reliable educational resource.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1 U.S. Pet Ownership and Statistics, AVMA, 2012. https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Statistics/Pages/Market-research-statistics-US-pet-ownership.aspx
2 Between March 12-15, 2018, 1,002 pet owners, ages 18+, were surveyed by Royal Canin USA, a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated.
SOURCE Royal Canin USA