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A vet visit may be the kindest thing to do for your cat

Seems like every other year we spend a ton of money (by that I mean 4 figures) to repair my truck. Don’t get me wrong. I love my pretty red truck, I’m just not as “in tune” with the mechanics as I should be. Of course I have the oil changed regularly. It’s those other things that add up; things that may not cause the check engine light to illuminate until it is really bad and my husband has to step in and take care of it.

Don’t let your cat be like my truck. Cats are masters at hiding how they really feel. They will still eat, sleep in “their” spot, and generally be part of the family. However, if you’ve ever looked at the cat on your lap and thought “hmmm something doesn’t seem quite right.” Please don’t shrug it off with the next natural thought: “maybe my cat is just (fill in the blank).”

By waiting until something is really wrong with a pet, owners can find themselves overwhelmed – emotionally and financially – when deciding on the appropriate treatment.

Of all the beloved pets in Portland, cats are the least likely to visit a veterinarian on a regular basis. Driving this point home to Dr. Chea Hall, with Murrayhill Veterinary Hospital and an AVMA spokes vet, was when she discovered that a long-time client actually had pet cats. Dr. Hall had been treating their dogs for years without them mentioning their cats.

Visit the vet

Bi-annual visits to the vet for wellness (routine) examinations will keep you informed and your cat healthy. You may be think that this will break the bank. However, Dr. Hall explained that one visit may include routine vaccinations and some diagnostics (depending on the age and overall health of your cat), while the second visit could be a quick checkup. Your vet would do a physical examination of your cat that includes a look into the ears, eyes, and mouth, and taking your cat’s temperature.

Because your cat can’t give the veterinarian the blow by blow of all the aches, pains, and upset tummies recently experienced, these examinations coupled with your observations, are key to keeping your cat as healthy as possible and even averting suffering caused by undiagnosed diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, or even just worms.

With good and regular health care, one remarkable feline patient at Dr. Hall’s clinic will be celebrating her 28th feline year!

Check the teeth

Dental exams may be the miracle your cat is looking for, in my opinion (and remember I am not a vet, vet tech, or medically inclined).

Did you know that this simple look-see in your cat’s mouth could be the best thing you do for your kitty?

Consider this. A feline patient who was normally a friendly and sociable cat, was withdrawing and even lashing out at her family. She was eating normally and still using the litter box. Concerned about her behavior change, they brought the cat to see Dr. Hall. Never did they suspect the root of her unsavory demeanor was pain caused by bad teeth. Eighteen were extracted and two weeks later the family had their playful and affectionate cat back!

If your vet recommends a diet change to help your cat’s mouth, here’s why. Dental diets (cat food) are specially designed to scrape away the tarter on your cat’s teeth. The kibble is a little harder than regular cat food and doesn’t dissolve or disintegrate when in the mouth. It breaks up in to pieces to clean the teeth. It also contains an enzyme to prevent bacterial growth in your cat’s mouth.


Being informed is good. In fact, one of the questions Dr. Hall recommends asking your cat’s vet is “where do I go to get more information about….”

Some pet owners can go a little crazy by being overly informed. The internet has loads of information about any and everything. Before making your head spin and causing an ulcer worrying about all the things that could go wrong with your cat, your vet can provide you with links to succinct information about diseases and conditions discussed during your cat’s visit.

The clinic’s website may be a good start. You can also go to or

Top two things to maintain optimal feline health

The number one thing to make sure your cat is as healthy as possible is to schedule regular vet visits.

The second was surprising to me. “The hallmark to so many health problems in cats is obesity,” explained Dr. Hall. Pleasingly plump just doesn’t do a cat good.

Helping your cat lose weight will go a long way towards reducing or eliminating chances of diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease.

Thank you to Dr. Chea Hall for providing me with great information to share with you.

by Kathy Covey

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