Happy Cat Month was established by the CATalyst Council and other interested parties to promote and educate cat owners regarding what they can to do ensure their pets are healthy, happy and valued. Over the month of September, CATalyst Council covers a range of topics including health, enrichment, multi-cat households and the value of companion cats.
Part of the mission is to help overcome common barriers to cat care, such as the belief that cats are aloof, independent and don’t require regular veterinary visits. The fact is — although 42.9 million households own cats (85.8 million cats total) according to the American Pet Products Association — the health, welfare and value of cats are given a lower status, something the Happy Cat Month proponents hope to help combat with your help.
There's so much opportunity in cat health — just to bring it up to the level of dogs.
As you may recall, the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study revealed that "feline care represents about 80% of the growth potential for veterinary practices." That's astounding. It means your customers have a HUGE opportunity in attracting more cat visits.
The following issues need attention for starters. You can bring up these issues during your visits with customers.
- Heartworm and other parasitic threats are still prevalent in cats across the US. Prevention remains an under-served market, and it's so easy to do. Practices can make a huge impact by making a stronger effort to reach local cat owners and encourage prevention.
- Feline oral disease is widespread as well. Cats are simply not being brought in for regular oral exams and cleanings. Instead, cat owners are calling the vet when their pet shows signs of pain, drooling, oral abscesses and other serious problems. Preventive oral exams are another big opportunity for practices.
- Even though there's been a lot of emphasis on preventive care for cats, many veterinary practices haven't taken the first step. The Bayer-AAFP study also found that "78 percent of veterinarians see cat care as a key to practice growth, but many are slow to make practices more cat-friendly." Practices clearly need your help in adopting new cat-care protocols for promoting visits.
If you come in with one new cat-health fact and client-education tip or resource during each visit in your cycle, it might start discussions about increasing feline visits, procedures and preventative sales.
The CATalyst Council offers amazing resources on their website, including the popular video: "Cats and Carriers: Friends Not Foes." Carriers can be a big difficulty for many pet owners… and one of the reasons they don't want to visit the vet.
Before each visit with customers in your territory, prepare to walk them through the CATalyst Council resources and other solutions provided by various manufacturers.
- Start by making yourself familiar with all the resources available to you. In addition to the CATalyst Council website, ask your manufacturer reps if they have feline-friendly materials to help educate practices and their clients.
- Set up a presentation on your iPad to point out these helpful tools to veterinarians, practice managers and other staff members you meet with.
- Discuss the major potential of increasing cat-care visits based on prevention, screening, treatment and follow up related to common feline health issues. For instance, if a customer can add just two oral exams to their schedules each week, the extra revenue can really add up over a year!
Make the most of September Happy Cat Month to increase feline visits and grow revenue as a result!