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Cat Health Check

Hints & Tips

Cat owners spend so much time with their animals, either grooming, stroking or observing their movements. So often, if something is wrong with your cat, you will be the first to know if their health is suffering.

Very often, merely looking at your cat will tell you quite a lot about their overall health and fitness. It is important to know the things one should observe when looking for a new pet, especially kittens. Please remember when adopting a new cat, that even one with less than excellent health may be a wonderful pet once it gets the proper medical treatment. The key is always to observe, do not get blinded by the cuteness of a new kitten.

Once you bring your new cat home, it is important to keep an eye on its health and to pay attention to changes in its condition. Cat's cannot speak and tell us when something hurts or annoys them, and it is our duty to be alert. When a medical problem is suspected, do not hesitate. The veterinarian should be called and consulted at once. Do not wait to see if your cat gets well on its own. Many medical problems can be treated easily early on, while postponing treatment causes suffering to the animal and higher treatment costs.

Here are some things to look for when trying to assess your pet's health.

Behaviour

The level of activity may vary from one cat to another. Some perfectly healthy cat's are very calm and do not easily respond to external stimuli. Still, kittens are in most cases particularly active and curious - one that is indifferent and does not move around much might be ill. After keeping your cat for some time and coming to know its nature, you can identify with relative ease any significant change in the way they behave.

Coat

Your cat's coat directly reflects its state of health. The fur of a healthy car is smooth and pleasant to touch, and does not show bald patches, wounds, or fleas. A dry and coarse coat may be a sign of unbalanced nutrition. The presence of fleas usually indicates the presence of worms in the animal's intestines, as well as possible skin problems that might be directly caused by fleabites.

Ears

Your cat's ears should be pink and clean. If you see a waxy brownish-black secretion in the ears, check for the presence of ear mites (a miniscule ear parasite common among cats and dogs). Very often, an animal infected with ear mites will also scratch its ears and shake its head. A vet needs to give the final diagnosis and will also guide you about the treatment.

Eyes

A healthy cat's eyes are shiny and clear, and lacking any secretion. Cats have a third, inner eyelid, which is usually wide open and not exposed. If the third eyelid is not fully open, it can be seen covering a part of the eye. This situation can indicate a health problem, since it is often a sign of physical or emotional stress.

Nose

The nose of a healthy cat should be velvety and pleasant in texture, and without any discharge. The nose can be moist to varying degrees, but never very wet.

Mouth

Your cat's mouth should be pink, clean, and without any bad breath. The teeth should be whole, white, and without excess tartar. It is recommended to have your pet's teeth regularly examined, and teeth problems dealt with in a timely fashion. Other signs of possible mouth disease are drooling and an apparent grooming problem - cats that suffer from infections in the mouth area often avoid self-grooming.

The Rear

Your cat's rear end and genitals should be clean - dirt in that area might indicate a problem of diarrhoea. Diarrhoea may be a sign of poor nutrition, worms or even some form of disease.