Vaccinations, parasite prophylaxis, dental care – if you want your cat to stay healthy in the long term, you should take your cat to preventative care. But: Not all cat owners do this. Veterinarian Dorothea Spitzer explains why this is wrong.
Figures from Uelzen Insurance show that not all cat owners regularly take their cats to preventive care. With the right timing for comprehensive health prophylaxis, many diseases can be avoided.
Although the costs are covered, in 2020 only 48 percent of the cats insured with health insurance claimed preventive measures such as wormers or vaccinations from the insurance company. This leads to the conclusion: In the case of non-insured cats, which still represent the overwhelming majority, this proportion will be much higher.
The figures from the insurance company from 2019 show that this low level of preventive care is not due to corona-related restrictions: This year, too, only 47 percent of cat owners took out insurance cover.
Preventive Care for Cats is More Than Just Vaccinations
“A comprehensive prophylaxis for cat health includes several measures that should be carried out regularly,” says Dorothea Spitzer, a veterinarian at Uelzen Insurance.
The expert states: Although the health of their animals is undoubtedly important to cat owners, they also consider necessary vaccinations to be sensible – but preventive treatments against worms, parasite infestation, or dental prophylaxis are often neglected.
But what does a cat preventive measure actually include?
Necessary and Possible Vaccinations
In order to be vaccinated, the cat must have had the basic immunization – that is four vaccinations in the first two years of life, not every year, but every two to three years. This applies in any case to the so-called “core vaccinations” – which are classified as essential by the Standing Vaccination Commission for Veterinary Medicine (“StiKo Vet”).
There are also so-called “non-core vaccinations” that are not recommended everywhere and for every cat but are considered useful in some regions, for example with rabies.
Although there is generally no compulsory vaccination for cats, “most practicing veterinarians follow the recommendations of the StiKo,” says Dorothea Spitzer.
These three vaccinations should always be given:
- Cat flu;
- Cat disease;
Further vaccinations can be important regionally and are also related to the type of keeping: Is it a purely indoor cat that has no company of conspecifics or is the cat an outdoor cat with many contacts?
Prophylaxis Against Worms and Parasites
While vaccinations do not have to be part of the prophylaxis program every year, cat owners should dewormer several times a year and protect their four-legged friends from ticks and other parasites.
“Many cat owners think that worms can only be attacked by worms in the open – unfortunately that is a fallacy,” says veterinarian Spitzer. Because: Eggs or other parasites can find their way into the apartment under shoe soles, for example.
Since the risk of worm and parasite infestation is significantly higher in outdoor animals, the recommendation is to deworm outdoor cats four times a year and indoor cats twice a year and treat them against other parasites such as ticks, fleas, and mites – not just for the benefit of the cat, but also because some parasites can transmit pathogens to humans.
Dental Care for Cats – Only as Needed
Comprehensive health care also includes regular dental checks. Depending on what the cat eats, tartar can form, and gingivitis can also develop, especially in animals with a poor immune system.
“It doesn’t always have to be a complete tooth cleaning, but a preventive examination once a year is recommended,” says Spitzer. Because healthy teeth are essential for a good, healthy diet.