It’s that time of year again. Time to go to the veterinarian for my annual examination. I secretly hope that my human skips it this year. After all, I’m not sick. Maybe she can just put it off until next year — what could go wrong?
But little do I know that delaying an annual physical exam can hurt. Annual physical exams are an important part of providing best health care and a long life for us.
Did you know that cats age quickly and also that we are unable to tell our humans if we are feeling a little off. Remember, it may be one year in a human’s life but that can be about five to ten comparative years in a cat’s life. A lot can change in that much time.
Sometimes, cats can be ill for weeks and their humans can be unaware of it. This may not be because they don’t care for us or because they don’t love us, but it is just that us cats can just hide our illness until it can become so far advanced that we are left with no choice but to show signs of disease.
Much as I hate them, the vet has special training and experience in detecting subtle illness in cats and dogs too, for that matter.
Listening to the heart can detect murmurs. Increased lung sounds may indicate early illness. Abdominal palpation or when they go about poking around my belly which I don’t like him doing at all; it actually tells him where pain might be hiding in certain areas, or even if there is an abnormal size and shape of various organs or even some weird kind of growth.
Checking out my eyes which he does my pulling my eyelids down, he can detect early signs of cataract or other eye problems.
Ears may be in need of cleaning or medication. Dental disease may be detected especially for those cats who, like me, have a sweet tooth and love to share cakes, brownies and even gulab jamuns (my favourite dessert) with my owner.
Going through our fur carefully, the vet can see signs of allergies or skin problems. It’s easier for someone like the vet who doesn’t see us every day to detect lumps and bumps that you may not have noticed. Then he usually puts me on the weighing scale to compare my last year’s weight with this year’s to see if I am growing a little bit fat or have actually lost some pounds.
More than little kitties, who need periodic injections to keep diseases far away from them, cats in their middle to old age require annual physical check ups much more. Human owners might think that the pet cat is just growing old and if a cat is being a certain way, it is just old age but if taken to the vet regularly, diseases and problems that are quietly hiding can be treated so that the cat may become healthy and active again.
My human thinks it is a great opportunity for her to ask the vet as many questions as she likes about my health. I pray to God while she is doing that for everything to be okay so that I don’t need extra probes and pokes or those horrible injections that the vet gives sometimes in my hind leg or sometimes in the loose skin and fur on my back near my head.
But if something is wrong, there will not only be tests but those awful medicines too which she gives me in the side of my mouth using a syringe with a broken needle.
Deep in my heart I know that both of them want me to be healthy and playful so after a little bit of resistance, I let them do what is needed. I know that I am not supposed to have fleas, nor worms in my tummy and my ears need to be cleaned, my nails cut so that I don’t accidentally rip or tear anything or get my nail caught in something.
After a trip to the vet, comes a nice treat and lots of hugs which I quite enjoy as I curl up and get ready to take a nap, cherishing the thought that all she wants is for me to live a much healthier and longer life. Purrs…