Never in my life have I ever thought dogs are better than cats, nor cats better than dogs.
I thought they were different of course, but certainly not that one was superior to the other.
But, a recent visit with my holistic vet provoked an interesting, but upsetting conversation, which left me with the impression that many people DO think dogs are better and more valued as a pet than cats.
These are 5 facts which reflect the mindset that dogs are more a highly valued pet than cats.
1. DOG/CAT OWNERS TEND TO SPEND MORE ON THEIR DOGS THAN THEIR CATS
I had taken my rescue cat (not one of my Ragdoll cats) in for a wellness check which included a thorough blood work analysis.
As it turned out, the vet said she was glad I had brought Jack (8 yr old) in for his checkup as she had discovered that he may have very early signs of kidney issues.
She discovered this by doing routine extensive blood tests (part of Jack’s wellness visit) (Kidney issues when caught early on can often be reversed, so this was a critical find.)
When we were casually chatting during the visit, I asked her if it was typical for cat owners to request complete blood tests on a regular basis when cats were in for their wellness visits.
Her reply was, “No, most cat owners do not wish to pay the extra fee for regular blood work for their cat, but are more likely to for their dog.”
Wow! What the heck I thought?
Why on earth wouldn’t a pet owner provide the same level of care for a cat as they would provide the same level of care for a dog?
2. SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT CATS DON’T NEED PEOPLE – DOGS VS CATS
Some cat owners often think their cats don’t need the same health attention as a dog does, due to the fact they are so independent.
The typical domestic cat tends to spend much of their time away from people as they are an independent animal. They tend to hide a lot and spend less time around their people than dogs do.
As a result, cat owners aren’t as aware that the cat may be unwell (for eg. if the cat is an outdoor cat, the owner would not likely know the cat vomits regularly.) Cats usually hide when they aren’t feeling well. They’ll typically try to hide their illness too as best as they are able.
The end result is that the cat owner can be unaware of a health issue looming due to the fact that a cat can hide the illness so well, especially if the cat tends to be aloof, which most cats are.
However, that’s where wellness checks and regular blood testing becomes so important for your kitties.
Yes, at first sight, MOST cats may seem well, but it’s difficult to tell unless there’s blood testing and a thorough check-up to confirm this.
Cats DO need their people to care for them, to the same degree as dogs.
3. CATS AREN’T ALWAYS VALUED PETS – DOGS ARE MORE VALUED PETS
Ever heard the statement, “Oh, it’s just a cat”.
Or, “Oh well, I can just get another cat”.
These statements are all too common. The belief is that there’s plenty of cats to be had, so the life of one cat lost, just isn’t all that important. There’s lots more.
What a sad statement.
4. NOT ALL VETS ARE AS EQUALLY KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT CATS
Generally speaking, unless the vet is a cats only practice or the vet has a special interest in cats, they tend to be much more knowledgeable about dogs.
Cat clients typically make up a smaller percentage of most veterinary practices than dogs. (I was surprised by this, as I thought the mix would be 50/50 cats/dogs split or reasonably close.)
As a result, vets tend not to be as knowledgeable about cats as they are about dogs. This only stands to reason if the majority of their patients are dogs. After all, veterinary practices are a business too. Why waste so much time learning about cats, when very few of your patients are cats?
In Canada, there are only a few ‘cat specialists’ as opposed to many ‘dog specialists’ for medical care.
That statistic alone speaks volumes.
5. SOME VETS MAY ASSUME TOO MUCH ABOUT THEIR CAT CLIENTS
Some vets, not all vets, will not even suggest a complete blood profile on a cat when the cat is undergoing a check-up. Vets, especially vets in rural areas, tend not to do full wellness checks on cats that include blood work. Blood work is pricey and they know it.
I think the vets are making a huge mistake to not even suggest a complete blood report on a cat patient and inform the cat owner specifically the things that can be potentially be found on blood work.
I can say confidently, that very few cat owners know that kidney issues, for example, could be detected in a cat’s blood work and possibly reversed, if their cat’s blood values were consistently measured and tracked regularly. Vets know the blood tests are pricey and may not want to scare a client away by suggesting what may be viewed by the client as unnecessary testing.
I don’t believe it is up to a vet to decide for their client whether the cat is worthy of the cost of blood work or further testing at a wellness check. Vets should not assume the value of the cat to the owner. A responsible veterinarian should present the pros and cons of blood testing to the cat owner and let the cat owner make the decision. They should offer the same level of care and treatment to a cat patient as they would offer to their dog patients.
I don’t think most cat owners know the value of early blood work and regular blood work reports.
DOGS AND CATS MAKE EQUALLY AWESOME PETS
I have no intention of debating the hot button debate about whether dogs or cats are better pets.
After speaking to several vets and cat owners and checking the statistics, I was upset to find that dogs may well be the preferred pet by many.
But let me say this.
I’ve been a life long cat owner and cat lover. All of my cats have been part of my family. They have fantastic personalities and are a joy to share life with. They are soulful creatures with eyes that speak volumes.
My vet said to me upon a recent wellness visit for my new Ragdoll kittens, when I said I’d never have another cat after loosing the last ones, ” I knew you’d have more cats. I just couldn’t imagine you not owning cats. It’s part of who you are.”
She had nailed it. She was 100% right.
My cats have brought a lot of joy into my life, lots of fun and a lot of furry love. Each time I loose a cat, the pain can be almost unbearable. If you’re a cat owner and have lost a cat, you’ll know full well the deep sense of loss.
But it warms my heart when I read the many, many comments in some of the closed Facebook Groups I belong to, from cat owners who love their cats in a big, big way, just as I do.
It’s good to know there are folks out there who understand cats. They need our love and care every bit as much as does a dog.
And maybe even more.