Royal Canin Offers Tips For Cat Owners During National Cat Health Month

February marks the observance of National Cat Health Month, a celebration of feline wellness and health

Feb 24, 2016, 14:26 ET from Royal Canin USA

ST. CHARLES, Mo., Feb. 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- February is National Cat Health Month, and Royal Canin, a global leader in pet health nutrition, is helping feline fans celebrate their love for the animal by offering cat health and wellness tips. 

In the United States, there are millions more owned cats than owned dogs, yet cats visit veterinarians less frequently than dogs. According to a survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the average dog sees a vet 1.5 times a year while cats average less than once a year.

"It's important to take your cat to the vet at least once a year, as cats often hide illness or pain. Many cats don't see a vet until they are very ill," said Dr. Brent Mayabb, experienced veterinarian and Royal Canin Vice President of Corporate Affairs. "Your veterinarian can suggest the proper preventive care to keep your pet healthy, including the appropriate nutrition and vaccinations."

According to Dr. Mayabb, the most important part of preventive care is the physical examination.  By having your cat examined by a veterinarian, you can pick up potential issues earlier and initiate any necessary treatment.  In addition, your vet can provide an assessment of your cat's overall health, including things such as body condition, coat health, etc.  The examination time is also a good time to discuss your pet's nutrition, and your veterinarian can make a specific recommendation for your pet based on age, breed, life style, or special needs.

Vaccinations are also an important part of preventive care.  Some of the feline diseases preventable by vaccinations are highly contagious. Some are even deadly.  Your veterinarian can provide the best suggestion for your specific pet's situation, but in general, Dr. Mayabb says, you can expect your veterinarian to discuss some of the following vaccinations:

  • Feline Distemper.  This disease is caused by the panleukopenia virus.  Symptoms may include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.  Because panleukopenia virus can be fatal in young unvaccinated kittens, this vaccine is recommended by veterinarians.
  • Feline Herpesvirus-1 and Feline Calicivirus. These vaccines can be delivered in combination with the distemper vaccine. Also referred to as core vaccines, they are designed to help prevent certain upper-respiratory infections in cats.
  • Rabies. Rabies is caused by a virus that affects your cat's brain and nervous system. Disease-carrying mammals such as bats or skunks can infect your cat through a bite. All mammals, including humans, can be infected with this disease. Because it can be spread to people, it's required by law in many areas.
  • Feline leukemia. Though not among the core vaccines, this vaccine may be recommended, particularly for cats that spend a lot of time outside, as well as for kittens. The disease is caused by a virus that can impair your cat's immune system and cause certain types of cancer. It can even be fatal.

Those are among the more common vaccines recommended, but they are by no means the only ones that are available. Your veterinarian can recommend which vaccines your cat should receive, or may be required to receive, depending on the laws in your region.

When should vaccines be given?  
While there may be slight variation from time to time, in general, kittens start vaccinations when they're 6 to 8 weeks old, with "boosters" administered at intervals of three or four weeks until they are about 16 weeks old.

Rabies vaccines are typically a single dose given between 12 and 16 weeks. Revaccinations typically begin after your cat's first year.  Your veterinarian can provide the best schedule for your particular cat.

Unvaccinated adult cats, or kittens older than 16 weeks, typically receive their shots in two doses three or four weeks apart.

Be sure to be proactive about protecting your cat's health by staying on top of his vaccination schedule, with the help of your veterinarian. That includes scheduling well-pet exams.

Tips to Take Away

  • See your vet at least once yearly for an examination and other preventive care.
  • Vaccinating your cat can prevent many serious and potentially fatal diseases.
  • While some vaccines are recommended, the law in your area may require others.

To learn more about Royal Canin nutritional solutions that can help keep your cat healthy, visit

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 and "LIKE" us on Facebook at

Marissa Eifert, FleishmanHillard


SOURCE Royal Canin USA