Cats Have Become The Most Popular Pet In The United States!
Recently I read an article that was interesting to me as a veterinary professional. Cats are the most popular pet in the United States. In a lot of ways, it makes sense. As Baby Boomers age but continue to work and move away from single-family residences, a cat becomes the perfect bark-free and walk-free companion. It makes sense as well that a lot of busy moms find that cats satisfy the child’s need for a pet but require less maintenance.
As a veterinarian, I do see that there is a need to educate cat owners that may have a misguided perception and feel that cats can take care of themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth. Statistically, over 37% of household cats do not receive any form of veterinary care.
Cats rely on people to look after them and to provide the right health care. Cats are very good at hiding symptoms and, like our children before they have a way of voicing their discomfort, cats can be silently suffering with a problem. I can vividly remember as a young mother taking my infant to the doctor and feeling guilty when I was told she had an ear ache. I had chalked her fussiness up to teething and was not aware there was something more serious going on.
Our hospital recommends twice yearly exams for kitties just like our dog patients. A good physical exam is the cornerstone of knowing what is going on with a pet. We also recommend heartworm and flea prevention. The Center for Disease Control estimates that between one and three million people are infected with various diseases or parasites spread by animals each year in the U.S. (For more information, you can visit http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets) For this reason, the CDC recommends year round parasite prevention to help reduce the incidence of pets possibly infecting humans. This becomes even more important when I am discussing preventative maintenance and wellness to my clients with children at home.
Cats can be a wonderful addition to households with children. I have seen cats become a most loved and cherished friend of many children. If you have children and are trying to decide whether or not to add a cat to your family, or if you already have a cat and are bringing a new child into the family, then talk to your veterinarian about any possible health concerns that exist when having children and cats coexisting (usually sleeping in the same bed!) . I know the time and energy you invest in your cat will bring you rewards twice over. Make sure to get some great pictures of your child/children with their beloved kitty curling up with them on the couch!