4Paws Rescue Team Pet Wellbeing 10 Questions That Cat Owners Should Ask Their Vets

10 Questions That Cat Owners Should Ask Their Vets

We’re sure that a vet receives hundreds of questions a day from concerned cat owners. These are some common questions that cat parents should ask their vets. We hope that this month’s tips will help enhance the care of your cats. 

  1. Is my cat a good weight? With over 50% of our nation’s pets overweight, obesity is a major problem in veterinary medicine. But many pet parents, frustrated with a lack of results on a weight-loss program or reluctant to change their routine, are resistant to addressing the issue. Your vet will usually tell you if your cat is overweight and needs to go on a diet. 
  2. What food should I feed my cat? Picking the right food can be confusing, but canned food is the best for cats. They are obligate carnivores which means that grains and vegetables are not a part of a normal feline diet.  Most dry food is full of carbohydrates and many foods add vegetable protein, like peas and eggs, instead of only using meat protein. Your vet may prescribe a diet for a specific medical issue and that guidance should be followed. However, many cats with urinary crystals can do well on a high quality non-prescription canned diet. You should consult with your vet before making any changing to a prescription diet. Also, pay attention to any changes in your cat’s eating habits as changes in the amounts they eat can indicate health issues. 
  3. Should I be concerned about this change in my cat? Cats are incredible at hiding signs of disease until the problem is fairly far along. Signs that seem very subtle can be huge indicators of a problem brewing. Any changes in habit, even if they seem small and insignificant, can have meaning. 
  4. Is there anything I can do for marking behavior? A cat who urinates or defecates outside the litter box is one of the most frustrating challenges for cat parents. Eliminating more or less than usual can be a sign of conditions such as a urinary tract infection, intestinal obstruction (which causes constipation), or kidney failure, which may cause your cat to urinate more or less and can be life-threatening if left untreated. There are many causes ranging from medical to behavioral, but many people don’t bring it up with the veterinarian until the problem has been going on for months and they are deeply frustrated. Sadly, this is one of the most common causes of feline relinquishment.  Have your cat checked by a vet at the first signs of inappropriate behavior.
  5. Does my cat need a dental cleaning? Dental disease is one of the most common diagnoses in a feline veterinary practice. Yearly dental checks are a vital part of preventive care, especially for middle-aged and senior cats.  Gingivitis and dental disease can cause a lot of other health issues, including heart and kidney problems.
  6. What vaccines are appropriate for my cat’s lifestyle? As more and more cat parents and veterinarians are beginning to appreciate, vaccination is not a one-size-fits-all decision. The best decisions are made on an individual basis, taking into account a cat’s lifestyle, age, vaccination history, and likely exposure to disease. In addition, many practices are now offering non-adjuvanted vaccines for felines. These vaccines, while sometimes harder to find, are thought to be less likely to cause vaccine-associated sarcomas. There are two primary vaccinations your indoor kitty will need to stay healthy throughout his/her life: the rabies vaccine and the combination vaccine FVRCP—this vaccine protects against Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (feline herpes), Panleukopenia virus (feline distemper) and Calicivirus.
  7. Can I give this medication to my cat? One phone call can save a life. Please, don’t ever give your cat a human medication without being 100% certain it is OK for feline use. Our feline friends metabolize medication very differently than we do, and some medications that are safe for humans, such as Tylenol, can be fatal to cats.
  8. Can I get some guidance on treating my cat? Administering medication to an unwilling cat can be an exercise in patience or maybe just pain. Veterinarians understand this. Certain procedures, such as giving insulin injections or administering subcutaneous fluids, take some time to master. If there is any question about whether or not you are doing something properly, don’t hesitate to ask the technician or veterinarian to watch you do it and give you feedback. Many times they have tricks and tips that can make your life much easier.
  9. When should I schedule a follow-up appointment? Before you leave the vet’s office, schedule your next appointment. For an ongoing problem requiring follow-up, it may be a few days or weeks. For a healthy cat, it may be six months. Scheduling an appointment before you leave improves compliance and the chances you’ll actually make it back on time. 
  10. Why does my cat purr? Research into the cause and purpose of this wonderful sound has continued for decades. Although it is tempting to believe that cats purr simply because they are happy, it is more plausible that purring represents a broader means of communication. Many cats purr when they play or approach other cats and even when they are distressed, afraid or sick.  If your cat is purring and does not seem content, you should check with your vet to see if something else is going on.