There are approximately 2.4 million cats in South Africa. Picture: Pixabay

It’s well-known that cats rule the internet and their owners’ hearts, In fact, there are approximately 2.4 million cats in South Africa. 

However, even with so many loving homes, many of these cats aren’t receiving the medical attention they need. The reason is quite simple - cats don’t show pain in an easily observable manner which is why owners need to be far more vigilant of their cat’s health and wellbeing.

In order to improve the healthcare of cats in South Africa, Royal Canin is once again leading the charge for this year’s Take Your Cat to the Vet Day on August 22, 2019. 

The Take Your Cat to the Vet Day aims to improve the healthcare of cats across the country by encouraging owners to schedule regular veterinary checkups for their feline companions.

“Cats are far more subtle than dogs in showing discomfort, illness or pain,” explained Dr Michelle Harman, Royal Canin SA veterinarian and technical manager. 

“They may retreat to a corner, hide or merely not display much movement if they have joint pain, mobility issues or are simply unwell. They rely on us. And we need to make their health a priority.”

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, she said.

There are five things cat owners can do to make visits to the veterinarian more stress-free. See below for a few tips from Dr Michelle Harman:

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 pet 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.