Helping cats and dogs live their healthiest lives.
Sacred Birman kitten stood next to an adult Yorskhire Terrier in black and white.

Cats Need Regular Care Too

At Royal Canin, our philosophy is to put cats and dogs first. We know that most cats do not receive regular veterinary care because cats owners are unaware of the need for annual visits. That’s why Royal Canin is partnering again with our industry experts and YOU to drive awareness of Take Your Cat to the Vet Day on August 22.

Let’s Work together and raise awareness for #Cat2Vet to help improve the lives of cats.

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Taking your cat to the vet

Half of all American cats do not get regular veterinary care and Royal Canin wants to change this. This is why Royal Canin proudly supports the Take Your Cat to the Vet campaign in hopes to spread awareness on the importance of feline veterinary care.

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If you are like most people, your cat hates the carrier and the car ride to the veterinarian. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way.  With a few easy steps, you can turn the carrier from your cat’s archenemy to her “Best Friend Forever.”  

Your cat and the carrier usually get off on the wrong foot. It all starts when you drag the dreaded carrier out of the closet/garage/attic on the morning of the vet visit.  Your cat lets you know that she is much less than thrilled by disappearing under the bed.  The next harrowing event occurs when your coax your sweet kitty out from under the bed and attempt to get her into the carrier for the ride.  If you are lucky, you are successful and no one is bleeding. Your cat is already in a panic before she even leaves the house. 

I am delighted to tell you that there is a better way, and it’s easy.  It just takes a little time.

You see, cats find comfort in a familiar hiding place to feel safe when they are under stress. In fact, comfortable, cozy places to hide and rest around the house are important for a cat’s well-being.  We can use this knowledge to help our cats and reduce their fear and anxiety when they face a stressful situation, like a car trip.

In other words, you can make the carrier your cat’s new BFF, instead of her worst enemy. Here’s how.

  1. Your cat carrier is now going to become a part of daily life for you and your cat.  It will be a fixture in your home décor. Place this carrier in your cat’s favorite part of the house and leave it there 24/7.
  2. Make sure the carrier has cozy bedding inside, or add some. You want your cat to think of this as the preferred resting spot and cozy bed, not the dreaded cat carrier.
  3. Daily snack time is now in the carrier. Once a day, put a small amount of dry or freeze-dried food or treats in the carrier. Give your cat a chance to discover and enjoy these on her own.  It could take a few days to weeks for you cat to start to feel at home in the carrier. Be patient.  It is worth it.  Just refresh the treats/food every day.
  4. After your cat has reached Zen in the new carrier, it is time for the next step. Find a calm time when your cat is already inside the carrier and gently close the door for a few minutes, and then open it back up again. When she is comfortable with the door being closed, pick up the carrier and cruise around the living room for a minute or two. Then, replace the carrier in its normal resting spot and open the door. Every now and then, take this journey a step further. Go outside or even on a short car trip.

Soon, your cat will be relaxed and happy in her carrier.  She will think of the carrier as a home away from home. On the day of your next planned journey, all you will need to do is stay relaxed, place some treats inside, wait for your cat to jump in, and you’ll be on your way.  You will be amazed at how different your vet visit will be when you and your cat arrive relaxed and happy.

-Dr. Liz Bales

Did you know that your cat’s nose has two jobs? Obviously, cats use their nose to smell odors. In fact, they can smell about 40x better than you and me. But, the feline nose has a second function. Inside a cat’s nose is a special sensor called the Vomeronasal organ. This special sensor is used to detect pheromones.  Pheromones are invisible, colorless and odorless natural communication particles.  

Cats have glands on their face, paws and rump that produce and give off pheromones. They release pheromones when they scratch and rub on things. These particles leave messages to other cats like “This is my territory. Get out!”  “Hey guys, you can relax. This is a safe place for cats.” or “Scratch this!  It’s awesome!” depending on which pheromone is released.

Feline pheromones give cats the incredible ability to communicate with other cats without making a sound. They can even communicate with other cats without physically being in the same place!  And, only cats can perceive these messages. 

Have you ever felt the love of a cat weaving in and out of your legs rubbing her face on your ankles?  Yep. She has just left her pheromones all over you with the message: “This human is mine!”

Scientists have figured out how to replicate these pheromones. Now, you can buy bottled feline pheromones that communicate the message: “Everything is good and safe here.”  You can use these products to help ease your cat’s stress at home and when your cat travels.  

Here is how you can use pheromones to help your cat stay calm and relaxed for her vet visit.  At least an hour before your vet visit, spray a large towel with pheromones and let the towel air out. When it is time to leave, put your cat in the carrier (see article on carrier training) and drape the towel over the carrier.  This helps your cat in two ways.  First, the pheromones help communicate a sense of calm and safety.  Second, the towel draped over the carrier can keep your cat from seeing things that might be frightening, like dogs in the vet office and other cats.  

A simple pheromone towel, draped over your cat’s carrier can make the trip to the vet’s office more relaxing and start the visit off on the right paw!

-Dr. Liz Bales

Veterinarians throughout the United States have been hard at work to make the veterinary experience new, different and better for you and your cats.  We all want domesticated cats to be happy and healthy, but your cats can not get good medical care if you don’t take them for a vet visit.  Veterinarians recognized that cat parents have been less likely than dog parents to bring their pet for a visit, and we wanted to know why.

We found that many cat parents believe their cat is self-sufficient and does not need routine medical care.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Your cat needs annual veterinary visits for both routine exams and to address latent health issues before they become serious.

Cats are masters at hiding their physical and behavioral needs.  We humans make the mistake of interpreting this as a sign that everything is ok and that they don’t need veterinary care.  Quite the opposite is true. Cats need the trained eyes, ears and hands of a veterinarian to detect pain and illness, so that we can provide care and relief for conditions like dental disease, arthritis, kidney disease and heart disease long before our stoic cats are showing obvious signs of disease.

Additionally, cat parents find visiting the vet stressful for both them and their cat.

We heard you. Getting your cat into the carrier and the car ride to the vet is very stressful. To ease this stress, veterinarians have developed a whole new way of incorporating your cat’s carrier into her daily life through a carrier training protocol. With a few simple steps, your cat will think of her carrier as a home away from home, and not the trigger of fear, anxiety and stress.  (See accompanying article on carrier training.

Veterinarians are learning more about your cat’s behavioral needs.  We now know that how we set up the waiting room and the exam room along with the techniques that we use to examine your cat can make a huge difference in your cat’s veterinary experience.  Many veterinarians are going above and beyond these steps to get special training and certifications through programs such as Cat Friendly Practice and Fear Free to understand and meet these needs.

In 2019, veterinarians care about both the health and the emotional well-being of your cat. It is important to us that you and your cat have a positive and valuable experience at your next veterinary visit. Call and schedule today!

-Dr. Liz Bales

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