Feline Veterinary Care: Cats Are Not Small Dogs 

cat being pet

Elegant, discerning, and quietly mischievous, cats pack a lot of personality into their tiny bodies—and we simply can’t get enough! At Berkeley Veterinary Center, we love cats, and we pride ourselves on being a Certified Cat Friendly practice. We understand and respect the unique needs of cats, and we provide customized feline medicine. Why all the fuss over specialized cat care? Because cats are not small dogs. 

If you’re new to cat ownership, or you’re simply wondering if your tabby and your terrier can share food, read on for some differences beyond size between cats and dogs.

Cats Have Specific Nutritional Needs

A dog diet would be nutrient-deficient for cats. Cats are obligate carnivores (meaning meat is a biological necessity), whereas dogs are omnivorous. Cats need meat-based protein (hold the carbs) and plenty of taurine, Vitamin A, arginine, niacin, and arachidonic acid. 

Feline Illnesses Can Be Hard to Spot

Cats have been programmed since the beginning of time to bottle-up their symptoms when they’re unwell. This instinctive stoicism, coupled with the fact that feline illnesses like feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia don’t manifest symptoms for years, underscores the importance of routine veterinary care for cats.

Flea and Tick Preventives Are NOT Universal

Year-round parasite prevention is important, but cats must NEVER be exposed to flea preventives that are labeled for dogs. Dog products contain permethrin, a synthetic compound that is safe for dogs but potentially fatal to cats. If you have dogs and cats in your house, keep your dog separated from your cat after applying flea meds, and store the medications separately so you don’t get them mixed up.

Cats Are Fearful of the Unknown

We would love it if cats bounded into our clinic with their tails wagging, but that isn’t the case. New places, new people, and sometimes just new pieces of furniture can cause anxiety in cats. Be patient when introducing your cat to something new, plan ahead for vet visits so you’re not rushed (your cat will sense your stress), and learn the signs of pet anxiety.

Cats Need More Mental and Physical Enrichment Than You Might Think

Cats may be masters of napping, and they manage their own potty breaks, but they still need interaction with their favorite human. Make sure your favorite feline has cat trees, scratching posts, and toys; and schedule daily playtime and snuggles. 

Cats Need Feline Vet Care

Treating cats is not the same as treating dogs, so consider entrusting your cat’s care to a Certified Cat Friendly practice, such as Berkeley Veterinary Center, where the team members have received specialized training in feline vet care. 

At Berkeley Veterinary Center, we want to help keep your cats healthy and happy for all nine of their lives! Please contact us at (732) 269-3600 if you have any questions or to schedule a checkup for your cat.

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