Growing up I have always had pets, I got a kitten for my 10th birthday and ever since I have been animal mad. I don’t think a house feels like a home without a cat or dog. At present, I have a ginger cat named Rua, she’s adorable, mischevious and a little madam at times, but I love her to bits and would be devastated if anything happened to her.
I like to think I know my stuff when it comes to caring for animals, especially my favourite animals – cats. When I got Rua she was vaccinated and spayed as soon as she was old enough. She now gets her annual boosters to ensure she’s protected from any diseases she could catch, which could be fatal. She is also regularly given preventative flea treatments to make sure she doesn’t pick up any pesky hitchhikers.
Having pets is a huge learning curve, we don’t start off being experts and have to learn along the way. But, I was surprised when research conducted by veterinary experts at Merial Animal Health showed 48% of 2,000 pet owners surveyed said they ignored veterinary advice and didn’t get their pets annual boosters, whilst a shocking 28% aren’t vaccinating their cats at all. This means there are millions of British domestic cats who are at risk of catching and passing on potentially life-threatening diseases such as feline flu, leukaemia and chlamydia.
The most common diseases found in the UK cat population are Feline Upper Respiratory Disease, commonly known as cat flu. It causes severe flu-like symptoms, fever, depression, eye ulcers and even pneumonia. Another common disease found in the UK is the Feline Leukaemia virus (FeLV). Sadly, FeLV is a lifelong infection and most cats will die within 3 years of diagnosis. It’s typically spread from cat to cat via grooming and bites.
That’s why Merial Animal Health is raising awareness of the importance of vaccinating our cats regularly by launching the Viral Cats campaign. Merial has created a fantastic cat health checker quiz which will tell you if your cat is at risk of diseases and any necessary steps you can take to help prevent your cat from catching these diseases. You can take the quiz over at the Viral Cat website, www.viralcats.co.uk.
If you’re a new cat owner, or if you’re not sure whether your cat is at risk then the 2-minute quiz will tell you whether your cat needs a check-up and to be vaccinated. If the results suggest your cat needs a check-up then you will have the option of receiving a text which will entitle you to a 2-for-1 vaccination at participating practices.
Rick Edwards, who is a self-confessed cat lover has pledged his support to the Viral Cats campaign. Rick has a gorgeous cat named Tippi Edwards who regularly makes an appearance on his Twitter and Instagram feeds.
Rick commented: “I decided to join the Viral Cats campaign because I was honestly staggered when I read the research about how many people aren’t getting their cats vaccinated. I’d do anything to protect Tippi, and I’m sure all other cat lovers would too if they knew more about the risk of serious disease. I don’t believe that the cat owners who aren’t getting vaccinations realise how vital it is. If they did, they’d be getting down the vets pronto!”
I think Rick has hit the nail on the head. Many people aren’t aware of the diseases their cats can get and if they knew the risks they would ensure their cat was protected. After all, we all love them. That’s why I’m glad Merial Animal Health have created this great campaign to raise awareness and educate cat owners and protect the UK’s cats.
Do you have any pets?