Wednesday 16 September 2020

Eleven percent of UK's domestic cats have never been to a veterinarian

An online survey by the pet food manufacturer Royal Canin found that out of 2,000 participants, 11% of them had never taken their cat to a veterinarian and 43% had not seen a veterinarian within the last year. This implies that 11% of cats are neither spayed nor neutered and are therefore intact and can breed. A source of unwanted cats.

Cool vet deals with angry caracal. Screenshot.

The main reason given is that their cat looked healthy and therefore did not need to go to a veterinarian. The counterargument is that cats hide pain and discomfort very well and therefore the criteria that your cat looks well is not a good one. Cats should be taken to a vet for a checkup to catch diseases at an early stage. Cats might hide their illness so well that it is only picked up at a late stage when treatment is less effective.

A second barrier is the cost of veterinary treatment. Surprisingly, out of the 2,000 participants about 50% had pet insurance but even then the cost of veterinary treatment prevented them taking their cat to a vet. Perhaps this means that their insurance did not cover the reason why their cat needed to see a veterinarian.

Another barrier is the stress of taking an animal companion to veterinarian. It is simply an uncomfortable activity to be avoided. Thirteen percent felt this way. If they were unable to take their cat to a veterinarian, 40% said that they would arrange for a home visit while 29% said that they would search for information online as an alternative and 26% would ask friends and family for advice.

Despite what is described as an obesity epidemic amongst the domestic cat population, only 11% of cat owners in the UK thought that there cat was overweight. It is felt that almost 40% of cats in the UK are overweight. Overweight cats are at an increased risk of developing serious diseases and shortened lifespan. Dogs are taken to vets more often than cats (my comment).

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