How To Tell If Your Cat
The cat's coat will tell you about its
health. If the cats diet is good and in general good condition, the coat should
be gleaming and free from dandruff. The cats eye's should be clear and bright,
with no discharge, redness or blinking. The tissue around the cats eye should be
pink and not red. The cats nose leather should be cool and slightly damp.
Often, it's only by knowing how your cat normally acts and behaves that you
will be able to tell if it is unwell. Your cat's health depends on you, so
don't be afraid to say if you think something is wrong, no matter how small.
The vet many only see your cat once a year, and will not know its general
behaviour. Make sure you note your cats
behaviour with regards to eating and drinking.
The first sign of your cat being
unwell may be a change in its normal behaviour. If your cat is normally
friendly and starts to show signs of aggression then look for other signs of
illness as well. A lack of response to being called may mean a fever or a
temporary deafness caused by an ear mite infestation.
An ungroomed look to your cats coat
with abnormally raised fur is a general indication of ill health.
If you are still concerned, then check
your cat's stools; they should be firm with out a strong odour. If you have
an outdoor cat, try to confine it and provide it with a litter tray to
Diarrhoea may be caused
by an upset stomach, if the cat has eaten contaminated food from a dustbin,
but is could be something more serious, if it is persistent. Constipation
can also be a problem, especially if there is any blood in the stools.
If the third eyelid is visible, it
means that there is an infection, or something has got into the cats eye. Any
redness or inflammation or thick yellow discharge is cause for concern. If
either of the cats pupils appear diluted and does not react to bright light, this needs
urgent veterinary attention.
Clear wax in the ear is normal, but
any dark brown wax is not. This may mean that there are ear mites, which
will need veterinary attention. Also look out for seeds and grass that may
have got stuck in the ear. A cat will shake and scratch its ear should a
seed get stuck in it. The wall of the ear canal and flap (pinna) is very
delicate. A puncture to the pinna often results in a haematoma (a large
blood blister) that could become infected if not treated. If the cats ears get
very hot, the cat may have temperature, but check this is not because your
cat has been lying in the sun or somewhere hot before you rush your cat to
Light vomiting is normal, and no cause
for concern, you cat may have just eaten its food too fast, or it may be fur
balls. But persistent vomiting especially if it contains blood is important
and you should check with your vet to find the cause.
A good indication that a cat has a
temperature, is that its ears are hot. A rectal thermometer is needed in
order to take a precise temperature reading, which should be 38-38.5°C.
Unless you have been taught how to do this properly, you should let your vet
Key pulse points are located under the
forearms (armpits) and back legs (groin). The pulse rate may vary between
120 and 170 depending on how active your cat is. The average is 150.
You should check your cat regularly to
make sure it is in good condition. Early signs of conditions such as mite
infestation or fleas will prevent more serious problems developing later. A
good time to check you cat is when you are both relaxing together. If you
cat shows any signs of ill health or discomfort you can go through the
checking points described above. Then you can take your cat to the vet
should you need to, and give a detailed report of what you have found.
A good reason for grooming your cat
regularly is that you will find any lumps or signs of fleas, mites, ticks or
lice. Comb the cat over with some moistened absorbent paper. If the grit
removed leaves a red stain, these are blood-gorged faeces of fleas. If not,
the cat has probably just been rolling in the garden.
Small, raised grey or
whitish lumps indicate ticks. These can irritate the cat as the tick's head
is buried deep into the skin, leaving only the body visible. They should be
removed as soon as possible, but care should be taken not to leave the head
behind as this can cause an abscess.
The claws of an indoor cat need to be
checked regularly in case they need clipping and to prevent them from
ingrowing. Also check for any soreness or wounds on the pads.