April 19, 2012
- Garfield campaign urges cat owners not to let 'vet fear' shorten their pets' lives
- Vet Dr Sarah Caney provides tips for stress free vet visits
Garfield took to the internet today to educate cat owners about the risk of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and the unseen danger as their pet reaches the age of seven. Every owner dreads the stress caused to their animal by visiting the vet and in the latest Garfield (as licensed by Paws Inc.) cartoon, we see how treating CKD early need not be a stressful experience.
CKD is a common health problem for cats, especially those who are aged seven or older. Many cats will not show any signs of kidney disease until more than 75% of kidney function has been lost. First signs can include reduced appetite, increased thirst and urination and weight loss. With the right care and treatment, cats with CKD can enjoy a good quality of life for many months or even years.
Early intervention is essential to slow deterioration of renal function. Garfield, a middle aged cat himself, encourages cat owners to visit the vet to safeguard the health of their cat. "If you are concerned that your cat may have the symptoms of CKD bring them to the vet - your trip does not need to be a stressful experience", says veterinarian Dr
. "Simple measures can be taken to reduce your cat's anxiety and make your trip as pleasant as possible for you and your pet".
- Use a top-opening basket, which is the most practical for getting cats in and out with minimal stress.
- Choose a basket that is easy to clean and line it with something absorbent (e.g. newspaper) before placing something that smells familiar and reassuring on top. For example, this could be your cat's favourite bed or some of your clothes
- Leave the basket out in the home when not in use and use as a place to give your cat treats in the carrier when a trip is not planned. This may help your cat to associate the carrier with positive activities
- Spray Feliway (a synthetic cat pheromone) into the basket at least 30 minutes before putting the cat inside, as this may help your cat to feel more at ease on their journey
- Once your cat is inside the basket, cover it with a large towel as this may help to calm your cat
- Secure the carrier firmly when in the car, using a seat belt or by placing in a footwell.
- Drive slowly and smoothly, talking to your cat as you travel. If you remain calm your cat will also feel reassured
- If your cat is very anxious, stay in your car until your vet is ready to see you - waiting rooms can be very noisy and stressful for cats
- Speak to your veterinarian to find out when there are quieter times at the clinic, as this will help to reduce your cat's stress
The Garfield animation is the final in a series of four, which show how the signs of CKD affect even celebrity middle aged cats. Garfield's 'mid-life crisis' sees him experiencing common symptoms, such as loss of appetite, increased thirst and urination.