Forty-three per cent of all cats in the UK and Ireland have not seen a vet within the last year and 11% have NEVER been to the vet, according to a Royal Canin online survey of nearly 2,000 cat owners.
The survey revealed that the main reason owners didn’t take their cat to the vet more often was because their pet appeared to be healthy and therefore didn’t need medical attention.
John O’Connor, vet and corporate affairs director at Royal Canin, said: “Cats are very good at hiding when they feel unwell. A cat will often only show signs when a disease has reached an advanced stage. This stoicism can mean that cats often suffer in silence. Taking your cat for regular check-ups can detect any problems far earlier. Preventative veterinary bills are also likely to be cheaper than treating the illness once it has become more serious.”
The second biggest barrier to more regular vet visits was cost. Although almost half of the cat owners surveyed had pet insurance, almost a quarter said cost prevented them from taking their cat to the vet more often.
Despite there being 760 cat-friendly clinics across the UK and Ireland, which are designed to reduce the stress for cats during visits to the vet, 13% of owners said the stress put them off making more frequent trips to the vet.
If they were unable to take their cat to the vet, 40% said they would arrange for a vet home visit, 29% said they would search for information online and 26% would turn to friends and family for advice.
Only 11% of owners believed that their cat was overweight, yet in the UK 39% of cats are overweight so this suggests that more than a quarter of cat owners surveyed were unaware that their cat was above a healthy weight.
Elisabete Capitao, vet and vet marketing manager at Royal Canin, said: “Cats with excess weight are at a higher risk of developing a number of serious and complex conditions but, most importantly, it may shorten their life expectancy by nearly two years.”