Cat lover and actress, Kat Dennings, is teaming up with Royal Canin, a global leader in cat nutrition, to encourage cat owners across the United States to pledge to take their cats to the veterinarian every year. Veterinarian and reality television star, Dr. Diarra Blue, and kitten rescuer and humane educator, Hannah Shaw (Kitten Lady), are joining Dennings for the campaign and public service announcement to get the message out to all cat owners that although cats can seem healthy, they need regular well visits with their veterinarian.
While more than forty-two million households have at least one cat, totaling more than 90 million cats1 across the United States, few of these cats are receiving proper medical care. In fact, more than half of all cats don’t receive veterinary care on a regular basis2 – 83% of cats visit the veterinarian before their first birthday, but over 50% don’t return until they become sick or are in pain.
Now in its sixth year, Royal Canin’s annual Take Your Cat to the Vet initiative works to raise awareness about this important issue facing cat health and help break down the barriers that prevent cats from going to a vet more often.
According to a new Royal Canin survey, 63% of cat owners incorrectly believe that if their cat is acting normal (including playing, eating, drinking, using the litter box), they don’t need to go to the vet. 66% of survey respondents also agree that when their cat is acting healthy, they don’t pay attention to the signs of aging, but 60% are not sure what signs to look for when their cat is aging. This all adds up to cat owners not taking their cats to the vet on a yearly basis, which is why Royal Canin has made it a priority to make the Take Your Cat to the Vet initiative an annual campaign.
“Cats are great at hiding their issues and that’s why Royal Canin’s Take Your Cat to the Vet initiative is so critical,” said Kat Dennings. “Our job is to advocate for all cats and improve their overall wellbeing. To that end, with less than 50% of cats getting regular care, if we can get even one more cat owner to pledge annual wellness visits for their cat, we will have made a difference.”
More results from the survey include:
· Only 33% of cat owners are familiar with signs of kidney disease in cats, and only 28% are familiar with urinary blockage or crystals
· 52% don’t start paying attention to preventative health care measures for their cat until they hit a certain age
· 83% of cat owners believe “age doesn’t define my cat”; 78% believe that regardless of their cat’s age, their cat still acts like a kitten, and 73% think their cat acts younger than they truly are
· 72% of cat owners don’t pay attention to the signs of aging in their cat because their cat acts younger than they are
· 84% of cat owners would like to be more knowledgeable about potential diseases/health problems their cat may experience as they age
“While each annual appointment may look similar, your veterinarian is monitoring for different health concerns depending on your cat’s life stage,” said Dr. Catherine Lenox, Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist and Regulatory Veterinary Manager at Royal Canin North America. “Cats are private animals, so it can be difficult to tell when they’re not feeling well. Even as mature adults, many cats can still look youthful and remain playful.”
In addition, as part of the initiative, Royal Canin is partnering with Orphan Kitten Club’s Mightycat grant program – the world’s first grant program targeted to saving neonatal kittens. Every kitten season, thousands of motherless kittens are at risk of death on the streets and in animal shelters. Without a mother to care for them, kittens face impossible odds and can’t survive without specialized care. The Orphan Kitten Club is dedicated to saving the lives of these tiny felines by rescuing them in its state-of-the-art kitten nursery, ending the cycle through sterilization, and providing care for every kitten possible.
“We need to protect and care for cats, at every age,” said Hannah Shaw. “Orphan Kitten Club focuses on kittens in the most need, but the journey does not end there. I would encourage every cat owner to take the pledge and join us in helping improve cat health overall”
Visit RoyalCanin.com/CatHealth to take the pledge to take your cat to the vet and learn more about the Take Your Cat to the Vet initiative.
1 American Pet Products Association's 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey
2 Veterinary Practice News, 2020, “Only Half of all cats receive veterinary care”
By Leah Wilkinson
A new year brings new opportunities and excitement, and 2023 is bound to be the same, with several chances for advancing policy issues of importance to the U.S. animal food industry.
By Lindsay Beaton