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Posted on 11-30-2015
Indoor cats need care too!
Keeping your cat strictly indoors can prevent many infectious diseases and injuries. It has been proven that indoor cats generally live much longer than outdoor cats. Dog attacks, run-ins with wildlife, being struck by cars, and fights with other cats are only a few of the many injuries that frequently befall outdoor cats, and they are more likely to be exposed to contagious diseases and parasites. However, indoor cats are not immune from illness, many of which we cannot protect them (inside or outside). Cats are very good at hiding when they don't feel well, and only a thorough annual physical exam (which may or may not include blood work) by a veterinarian can detect most of these diseases.
Dental disease is not just cosmetic (bad breath and yellow plaque/tartar.) It is infection, inflammation, and PAIN. Studies show that over 70% of pets over three years old have some degree of dental disease. And let’s face it, how many of us open up our pets mouth and thoroughly look at their teeth on a regular basis? Your veterinarian will.
Older cats in particular are more susceptible to diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism, and kidney disease. If caught early, they are treatable. Obesity can shorten cats' lives by making them predisposed to arthritis, heart disease, diabetes mellitus, asthma, constipation, and more. It is especially important to seek veterinary care if you notice your pet losing weight, see a change in appetite, or think your cat is drinking more or less than normal.
Cats with an abnormal heart rate or a heart murmur do not usually show us any signs until the heart disease is advanced and the cat is very ill or worse, dies suddenly. Abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmias) and heart murmurs can only be discovered through a thorough physical exam. The same holds true for lung disease such as asthma. Cats can also get heartworm disease, just like dogs. And studies show that inside cats get it just as often as outside cats, as you can still get mosquitoes in your house, which are what transmit heartworm disease.
Sometimes the only sign of cancer is weight loss, which can be subtle in cats. Loss of even 4 oz. is significant, and most of our home scales can't detect that amount. Annual physical exams allow your vet to monitor your cat's weight and overall health for hints of cancer.
Being indoors only doesn't guarantee your cat won't get fleas or intestinal parasites. They are everywhere outside and you can carry the eggs in on your feet or on your clothes. People who come to visit you who have pets can also bring them in. Fleas are not just itchy, they can carry diseases that cause life threatening anemia, carry tapeworm eggs that infect your cat when it ingests a flea, and cause anemia from the amount of blood they consume from your cat. It is only important to have a fecal sample examined at least once a year to screen for intestinal parasites, some of which can even be transmitted to humans.
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