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Is Your Cat Healthy? 9 Things to Check

October 6, 2012

Sometimes I feel like a total baby when I don’t feel my best.

Photo courtesy Barbara Willi

Thankfully, thanks to my two CH cats, a simple headache can be put into perspective when I see one of them crash into a wall or hit their chin on the floor. And how do they respond? Generally by getting back up and continuing to run around as if it had never happened.

The fact is, while they can be sources of inspiration when it comes to dealing with pain, cats are notorious for hiding their illnesses. Often we may not realize that there’s anything wrong with them until the issue is quite serious.

Since our cats can’t tell us when they’re feeling poorly, it’s up to us to know how to monitor them so we know when there’s an issue. To do that, here are 9 things to monitor on a daily basis. Just like with our own health, the more familiar you become with these things, the better you’ll be able to tell when something’s wrong.

General Appearance: Become familiar with how your cat gets around. Granted all of our CH cats may have their own swagger, so this is almost like learning your cat’s specific walking language. This will help you identify if and when your cat is limping or favors a paw.

Photo courtesy uncle.capung

Similarly, keep an eye on your cat’s weight, alertness and disposition. If any of these vary, it could be a sign that something may be amiss.

Ears: Peek into your cat’s ears now and again to check for discharge, redness and irritation. A yellowish or bluish cast can be a sign of a major health problem. Also smell the years. If you think your cat tends to get dirty ears, check with your veterinarian to see if there’s a cleaning product you can use to help.

Eyes: Check the eyes for unusual discharge, redness, inflammation and cloudiness. Eye boogers or crusties, as I call them, may be normal in small amounts. Keep an eye open for excessive amounts of gooey discharge, especially if it’s colored. Also watch for signs that your cat may be having issues with his eyesight. Is he not seeing toys? Is he bumping into things?

Nose: Continue down your cat’s face to his nose. Does he have nasal discharge? Is his breathing congested? Does it sound like he’s wheezing?

Mouth and Throat: Lift your cat’s lips so you can see his gums and teeth. Check the gums for inflammation, and look for broken or missing teeth, as well as tartar build-up. Swelling around the face or throat may be a reason to take your cat in to your vet.

Neck and Spine: Take a moment and run your hands down your cat’s back from the neck to the end of the tail to see if it causes him pain. Also watch for limitations in movement, such as your cat no longer wanting to climb onto your couch or jump down from her perch.

Abdomen: Also run your hands over your cat’s abdomen. Check to see if it causes her pain, as well as if you feel any unusual lumps or bumps.

Photo courtesy ex.libris

Appetite and Elimination: Keep an eye on what goes into your cat’s body and what comes out. Become familiar with how much your cat eats and drinks daily, as well as their bathroom habits. This will help greatly if your cat begins to have elimination inconsistencies.

Skin and Coat: Watch your cat to see if he grooms himself often and properly.  Check the coat for dry skin, excessive grease and hair loss. A cat who’s out of his grooming habit or routine may not be feeling well. You can help your cat, especially if she has long hair, by brushing her often.

If you think something is amiss, start taking specific notes. Make a note in your smartphone or leave one on the fridge that you can update daily. The more detailed your notes, the better your vet can help.

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