Your feline friend may not appear to look much older year on year, but inside her body, changes are happening at a much more rapid rate than you probably expect. Unfortunately, all of our pets age much more quickly than we do, and cats are no exception.
Felines mature incredibly quickly in the first two years of life and are considered to be 15 in human years by their first birthday, and 24 by the time they reach 2 years old. However, after this their age progression slows and one human year is considered to be the equivalent of four years in your cats’ life.
Fortunately, cats are living longer than ever before, and it is not unheard of for an outdoor feline to reach the human age of 15 or older. In cat years that is the ripe old age of approximately 76 – not bad for a kitty that spends a great deal of time facing the daily dangers of the big wide world. Indoor cats can live even longer.
However, in order for your furbaby to live as long as possible, you will need to do everything possible to support the health and wellbeing of your cat. One of the best ways to do this is to ensure that she undergoes annual early detection testing.
What is early detection testing?
Early detection testing is the name given to a series of assessments which are performed with the intention of monitoring certain aspects of your cat’s health. This is done so that your veterinarian can determine if there are any patterns emerging that could be cause for concern and possibly indicate that there is some sort of disease or health condition developing.
What is involved in early detection testing?
Early detection testing can vary between veterinarians and is often based on the specific needs of your cat. For example, younger felines probably won’t have their thyroid tested, while cats aged 8 or older will almost certainly have this included in their testing. This is because thyroid function tends to decrease as animals age, meaning thyroid disorder is more likely to develop.
Nevertheless, most veterinarians include the following basic elements in their early detection testing:
FBC or full blood count, designed to check the numbers of red and white blood cells present in the sample your cat gives.
Blood chemistry panel, which looks at how well her major organs and body systems are functioning.
Urinalysis, which is used to check for bacteria, crystals or abnormal cells as well as assess kidney function.
Fecal testing, to check for the presence of internal parasites.
Thyroid function, which is usually only requested for older felines.
Why should my cat have early detection testing prior to boarding?
Early detection testing should be performed as part of your cat’s annual wellbeing checks regardless of whether you have any plans to board her. However, they can prove to be especially valuable if she does need to go into a cattery at some point.
There are several reasons for this. Firstly, many boarding services require the animals that stay there to be up to date with their preventative health and require proof of this. This doesn’t only include vaccinations and things like flea and tick prevention but can also include evidence to show that your cat is in good health before she arrives. Another important reason for having your cat undergo early detection testing is for her own protection. Whilst any good shelter will endeavor to ensure that cats that aren’t from the same household don’t mix, a large population of felines all in one place is the perfect way for diseases to spread. If your feline is immunocompromised or has an underlying illness, catching a contagious disease from the cattery could put her health at even greater risk.
If your cat has never had early detection testing before, it is never too late to start, and we would be delighted to assist you. Please contact our offices in Miramar Beach, Florida to register your feline and arrange a consultation appointment.