Aug
8
2018

If you can’t convince cat-owning clients to bring their pets in for a visit, maybe Ian Somerhalder can.

A telegenic actor best known for his role as a vampire in The CW’s supernatural drama The Vampire Diaries and for being the first major character to be killed off in ABC’s hit series Lost, Somerhalder was recruited by Royal Canin to help promote National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day, coming up later this month.

Joining Royal Canin and Somerhalder in their efforts to raise cat-owner awareness about the importance of preventive veterinary care is the American Association of Feline Practitioners, which offers free materials on its website to help veterinary hospitals promote National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day to their clients.

Although National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day is celebrated annually on August 22nd, the initiative aims to encourage cat owners to take their cats in any time that’s most convenient for the owners; the date doesn’t matter.

Bottom line: Just schedule the darn visit.

Cat owners avoid scheduling veterinary visits for all kinds of reasons, whether it’s because they’re of the common (but mistaken) belief that indoor cats are less susceptible to illness or disease than other pets or because getting their cat to the veterinarian can be an incredible pain.

It doesn’t help that cats are masters at disguising their discomfort, which makes it easy for their owners to miss health-related problems: According to Royal Canin research, 21% of cat owners said they take their cat to the veterinarian only after it’s showing signs of illness, which means many cats could be in the advanced stages of an illness by the time they finally get in to see a veterinarian.

Royal Canin’s research turned up other interesting statistics:

  • While 95% of dog owners say their pet’s vaccinations are up to date, the percentage among cat owners drops to 85%
  • Dog-only households are more likely than cat-only households to receive reminders from their veterinarian regarding annual checkups (89% to 73%)
  • Transportation to the hospital is a much bigger deal for cat owners than dog owners—only 5% of dog owners said it was an issue, while 16% of cat owners said just getting their pet in and out of the travel carrier was enough to scuttle the idea of scheduling an exam

And it’s not just the transportation hassle that’s discouraging—almost half of cat owners said they would be more willing to bring their cat to the veterinarian if the whole process was less stressful.

Maybe the undead can make a difference.

“Cats are incredible animals. They teach us so many lessons about life, including how to care for something other than ourselves,” said Somerhalder, who has two cats and various other foster animals. “They rely on us. And we need to make their health a priority. That’s why I'm really passionate about [the] Take Your Cat to the Vet Day initiative and hope more cat owners will schedule regular vet appointments for their cats.”

Somerhalder has more to say about teaming up with Royal Canin in a video on his Facebook page.

Sometimes it takes a cutie to advocate for a kitty.

Photo credit: © iStock/AnatoliYakovenko

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