Our feline friends are very stoic – they are slow to show signs of illness. This can result in cats getting very sick before problems are detected.
Having your cat checked by a veterinarian regularly is important, but it is also important to pay attention to your cat’s health at home so that potential problems can be addressed early. Here are several useful tips to check your cat’s health.
External Wellness Check
To detect obvious problems, check the condition of your cat’s fur, ears, eyes and teeth. The fur should be soft and well groomed. Dryness, dullness, matting or balding spots may indicate an underlying health problem. Visible fleas or dried blood in the fur should be addressed immediately.
Your cat’s ears should be clean and clear. Dark-colored matter in the ears can be caused by ear mites. If the cat has been shaking his head or scratching his ears, have your vet check for these common parasites.
Eyes should be clear and show no signs of discharge. A cloudy looking eye, frequent blinking or the appearance of a half-closed eye needs attention. Teeth should not be loose, and the cat’s gums should be pink. Pale or reddened gums, discolored teeth or bad breath can be signs of dental or health problems.
Checking for Gastrointestinal and Urinary Issues
Your cat’s eating and elimination habits also reveal a lot about his health. He should be eating and drinking regularly. Excessive drinking can be a sign of diabetes. Occasional vomiting is usually not cause for alarm, but if it is frequent or he is losing weight, see your vet. Stools should be firm, well-formed and free of blood or excess mucus.
Urinary problems can manifest in several ways. A cat who seems to be straining to urinate, cries during or after using the litter box, or urinates in unusual places may have an infection or urinary crystals. This should be investigated without delay as urinary problems can be dangerous.
Keep an Eye on Your Cat’s Behaviors
Any substantial changes in your cat’s behavior warrant concern. Certain behaviors are more worrisome than others and should be taken seriously. These are: extreme lethargy, unusual aggression, long-term lack of interest in food, play, or affection, frequent crying, unusual hiding, unusual vocalizations, strange postures, frantic grooming or changes in gait.
When to Call the Vet
All changes do not point to serious problems, but it is better to play it safe. If you observe a possible sign of illness, call your vet clinic and ask if a check-up is indicated. When you keep an eye open for important health clues, you can help your cat live a long and healthy life.