More Cat Owners Today Are Pro-Active When It Comes to Their Cat's Health!

...however some old habits die hard - more educational work to be done!

If you follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletter, we released a 7- question survey focused on cat health and wellness. Respondents could check more than one answer that applied to their cat household taking into consideration the multiple cat homes. As a result, the percentages will not necessarily add up to 100% – and can in fact add up to more than 100%.

Depending upon the demographics and varied age groups that responded, some readers will find certain percentages surprising and often in opposition to what they think is the “norm”. 

We can tell you that the survey clearly resembles our cat customers who range in age from teens to 80 years +…urban, suburban and rural…and all ranges of household incomes. We have met so many of you at the events and enjoyed sharing our mutual love for our cats. We could hear you “speaking” to us through this survey!

To set the stage, we asked you to tell us how many cats you have!

  • 34% of you reported having 2 cats
  • 24% said they had 1 cat
  • 18% said they had 5 cats
  • 3 and 4 cat households accounted for 24% combined

Clearly multiple cat homes dominate at 76% in total

The question that inspired the survey was “how do you view your cat’s health and well-being” and we are very excited by the responses!

Almost every survey taker, 92%, said they knew it was their responsibility to stay up-to-date on feline health so that they can take better care of their cat.

60% said that they knew that cats can hide pain and illnesses, and they knew what signs to look for and 48% agreed that cats are like toddlers and they create a cat-proof home to keep them safe and healthy!

This was all good news because, overwhelmingly, a large percentage of cat parents recognized the need to be proactive in managing their cat’s health.

However, 16% felt that cats are pretty tough and take care of themselves and will let their owner know if something is wrong.

Clearly, we have more work to do to inform the cat community that cats hide pain and health issues can come out of nowhere. With cats, things can spiral out of control before you know it. 

A pro-active viewpoint is better for your cat’s long-term good health!

The question of when do you take your cat to the vet, gave us pause and reflected what we heard from our vet friends – which did not make us happy and didn’t really fit with the above findings!

  • 63% reported that they only take their cat to the vet when they have symptoms of something that is not normal
  • 18% said only when they need to get vaccinations
  • 55% said they took their cat to the vet once a year
  • 16% said every 6 months
  • 8% stated they took their cats to the vet every couple of years

Clearly, one group (81% combined) feels those visits are based on “need” because of a possible illness or due dates for vaccination boosters. 

And the other group (71% combined) sees the yearly and 2X a year visits as a pro-active approach to their cat’s health.

We also think that in the multiple cat households, there are different levels of health management depending upon the health history of each individual cat and whether it is a “low or high maintenance” cat. 

When asked how you feel about your vet and do you trust everything they tell you:

When asked if you always trust your vet – no questions asked – 18% responded yes.

Over 50% said that they like their vet and listen to them most of the time depending upon the topic.

And 50% said they like to do their research and come prepared for the vet visit. 

25% voiced concern about the high vet bills and are a bit skeptical of the various treatments or drugs suggested – they question if they are all absolutely necessary.

And 20% admitted questioning their vet a lot when they weren’t sure of some things. 

We say never be afraid to ask questions – vets are not invincible. And today there are many alternative pet care practices we can try before needing more drugs or surgery. 

Speaking of costs – we asked you how you were handling the vet costs today.

Let’s start with 58% of you stated that you would pay anything to keep your pet healthy – no cost was too high! We can relate!

71% said they are proactive and eliminate certain things in order to keep their cat safe and healthy.

15% said that they believe in having pet insurance. And 10% save money each month towards their yearly vet bills.

Lastly, 13% said they were afraid of the vet bills and that it dictated as to when they took their cat to the vet – in other words, it had to be serious!

For this last group, we recognize this concern of some pet parents and hope that as pet insurance companies become more prevalent (over 25 companies now) and competitive in their pricing, and more employers offer pet insurance coverage to their employees, this way more pet owners will be able to get their cats to the vet regularly for a wellness check – and not have to wait until it is too late.

When it came to nutrition and that cats are obligatory carnivores, the answers were very divided on opinions.

  • 42% agreed that cats are carnivores and believe in the raw food diet.
  • 42% said that cats like to graze on dry kibble and its fine for them.
  • 40% said they feel that cats are flexible and can eat anything and don’t need a “special” diet.
  • 5% said cats like table scraps and human food and that’s okay for them.
  • 10% admitted to giving into their cats when they cry for treats even though they are aware of cat obesity issues. We all can be a little bit guilty of this!

While opinions are all over the place, the “fresh raw food” community is growing larger every year as more people are recognizing that our cats are what they eat! And they cannot choose for themselves. We are the only ones who can choose for them.

When we started the Best Life Pets blog 5 years ago (which is now on MeowMiniMart.com), the interest in feeding raw or at least HUMAN grade food versus FEED grade was a very small percentage. Raw feeders were considered “outliers” and on the fringe.

In a very short time, however, it has become “the #1 movement” in the pet food industry and now commands over 16% of the national sales of pet food and growing every year. 

The last question asked about your cat’s water drinking habits since dehydration and kidney failure is becoming a big problem for cats particularly over the age of 3 years.

Good news! 79% said their cats drink water all the time with no issues.

30% said they put water in their cat’s food bowl daily with good success.

21% reported that their cat rarely drank water until they got it a water fountain and now it drinks regularly.

And 13% reported that their cat drinks water occasionally just when thirsty.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We feel that the awareness of best practices for cat health and wellbeing is growing and spreading amongst the cat community. And a lot of that credit can go to the Millennials and Gen Z who are the largest group of pet owners today and who generally are more interested in their own health and diet – and in turn transfer that same mentality when they consider their pets wellbeing. 

We want to thank everyone who took our first-ever cat owner survey and truly appreciate your time and responses.

As a shop and blog, we are committed to continuing to share what we have discovered to be the simple things that can give our cats their best life.

Everyone who answered our survey was entered to win our Kitty Kat Jamboree Toy Box – and we want to congratulate Kyle S. for winning!