Is My Cat Sick?
Keeping our pets happy and healthy is every pet owners responsibility. The “happy” part is typically easier than the “healthy” part. A new toy, a yummy treat, a belly rub – all those things help keep your pet happy. We can feed them right, make sure they get exercise, but just like with children, sometimes our pets get sick.
The difficult part with pets is that they can’t talk to us and tell us that their stomach hurts, or their paw is throbbing – we have to learn how to read our pets and their behavior in order to detect possible illnesses.
We’ve put together a list of clues that may indicate a health-related issue:
- Know your cat’s body – give your cat a good pat down at least once a month looking for bumps or growths that are out of the ordinary. Check their skin – what color is it normally, are there patches that are a different color? Is their skin dry and flaky? Any signs of fleas or ticks? All of these should be checked out.
- Monitor your cat’s appetite. Of course what you actually feed your cat is important, but so is how your cat eats. If your cat is a “picky eater” it’s may be they don’t care for the food, or you are overfeeding. Every healthy living creature has a normal appetite. A warning sign of potential problems is when your cat suddenly stops eating or starts being extremely hungry all of the time.
- Check eyes & ears. Your cat’s eyes should be clear with no signs of redness or irritation. Discharge from the eyes or cloudiness in the pupil could signal a problem. Their ears should be clean and odorless. If you see any wax buildup or dirt, it could be a sign of ear mites and should be checked asap.
- Bad breath could be a sign of gum disease or a gastrointestinal disorder. Their gums should be pink and moist and their teeth white without tartar build-up.
- Watch the litterbox. You know what your cat’s normal elimination behavior is, so if he varies from his normal patterns for an extended period, it could be a sign of trouble.
- Poor grooming. Cats are natural groomers, keeping themselves clean and tidy all of the time. Take note if your cat stops taking an interest in grooming themselves and seek to understand what the cause may be.
- Change in behavior. Any change in your cats normal behavior, be it activity levels, sleep patterns or their interaction should be monitored and changes examined for a potential cause. They may be health related.
Remember, as a cat parent it is your responsibility to keep your cat healthy, so be aware of the warning signs, monitor them regularly and if you detect a potential problem, get in to see your vet. Better to be safe than sorry.