To acknowledge the importance of cat health for International Cat Day (8 August), new research from Royal Canin, Waltham Institute and University of Bristol, has revealed over 50% of cat-health issues do not receive veterinary attention.

This is one of the largest studies to survey cat-owners, with 14,380 individual surveys from 2,181 UK cats under 9 years of age between 2010 and 2021, helping to identify the health issues veterinarians may not see, that could lead to more acute health issues later in life.

In Australia and New Zealand, the trend of not taking cats to the vet is also common, with research from Animal Medicines Australia, showing only 68% of cat-owners took their cat to the vet in the past year, compared to 84 percent of dog owners.

Among the most common issues not leading to a vet check-up are appetite change, increased thirst, vomiting, or diarrhea. Whilst some of these may be the result of a mild self-limiting condition, they may indicate a more serious disease.

Royal Canin ANZ Scientific Services Veterinarian, Dr Julie explained, “Cats are masters of disguise and examples like increased appetite and weight loss, are common clinical signs of diseases such as feline hyperthyroidism or diabetes, which can prove extremely serious, even life threatening if undetected,” Dr Julie said.

“Preventive care through annual visits (or more regularly as they age), is critical to a cat’s overall health and well-being. Your veterinarian can learn important details about a cat’s medical history and behaviors, monitor body weight, ensure vaccinations are current and discuss nutrition which is a critical element in preventive healthcare for your cat,” Dr Julie concluded.

Dr Julie shares her tips for cat owners to make visits to the veterinarian more stress-free: 

- Normalise handling. Often, cats are not used to being held or examined in the way that vets will. Some cats will become agitated with this increased, new sensation. To reduce anxiety, slowly introduce your cat to increased handling. More information can be found here.

- Help your cat become comfortable with the carrier. Choose a carrier with a top opening to make it easier to get your cat in and out. Place the carrier in a room at home where your cat spends most of their time so they can use it and it becomes a part of the home. Add familiar soft bedding as well as special toys.

- Explore the vet before an appointment. Going to the vet for a “friendly visit” will allow for the cat to become more comfortable with the new environment. Choose a quiet time to visit and reinforce positive interactions with a treat. Keep the carrier up high on a bench rather than on the floor.

- Take your cat to an accredited Cat Friendly Clinic. These veterinary practices have made specific changes to decrease the stress and provide a more calming environment for you and your cat.

- Understand your cat’s behavior. The veterinarian’s clinic is unfamiliar and has sights, sounds, and smells that can cause your cat to feel anxious or fearful. Cover their carrier with a towel to block the sight of other animals and dampen the unfamiliar sounds. Respect your cat’s need for time to acclimate to the new environment before an examination.

- De-stress yourself. Vet visits can be just as stressful for owners as pets. Remaining calm will ensure that the cat is as comfortable as possible and that the vet can do the best job they can.

Study held by the University of Bristol and funded by the Waltham Petcare Science Institute along with Cats Protection. Learn more at: For more information on preparing your cat for a vet appointment, visit Take your cat to the vet | Royal Canin AU