Educating clients about their cats' healthcare
Jun 01, 2004
Fast-forward 20 years to a high-rise apartment dwelling in Philadelphia. Cat bowls, cat toys, and photos of cats adorn the space. Seated on a couch surrounded by three bored but content felines is Alex Martin.
People's opinions about cats are also changing. About 55% of cat owners between ages 19 to 29 think of their cats as family members, while about 33% of owners 65 years and older feel the same way.1
These feelings are echoed at cash registers. Between 1996 to 2001, feline veterinary expenditures jumped 65% from $4 billion to $6.6 billion.1
Despite these encouraging signs, many cats still aren't receiving the same medical and preventive care as their canine counterparts. In 2001, dogs averaged about two visits to the veterinarian per year compared with only one visit for cats. The average amount of money spent on canine veterinary visits was more than double that of cats ($179 per year per dog compared with $84 per year per cat).1
Identifying opportunities Rule No. 1: Cats are not small dogs. Cats have unique nutritional needs, behave differently, exhibit pain differently, and manifest diseases differently than their canine counterparts. Understanding these differences will lead to improved client compliance for feline healthcare recommendations.
It's our responsibility to identify prevalent feline health concerns and help clients avoid common mistakes that could rob their cats of good health. We need to address lifestyle, hereditary, and acquired-disease issues at every opportunity. If cats are only visiting us once a year, we'd better make it count.