When it comes to cat health, the saying that prevention is better than cure definitely applies. If you take a moment to give your cat a health check each month, you will have a better chance of spotting any warning signs, and therefore catching any illnesses before they become serious problems. Here is a quick checklist that you can use as a starting point:
Take a moment to run your hands over your cat. If your cat is a healthy weight then you should be able to feel their ribs fairly easily. Anything more than a thin layer of fat is too much. When looking down on your cat from above, it should have a clearly defined waist and there should be a slight padding of fat on the belly. If you notice that your cat has suddenly gained or lost a lot of weight, you should take him to the vet because weight fluctuations can be a sign of an underlying health condition.
Look out for brown or green waxy discharge from the ears. A healthy cat has clean ears that are free from redness, have no visible sores and should be odor free. If you notice that your cat is rubbing its ears a lot, then you should make an appointment with your vet. Cats with white-tipped ears or with thin coats of hair tend to get sunburn on their ears easily. Ask your vet to recommend a sunscreen lotion that is safe to apply on the ears.
A healthy cat has bright, clear eyes. If the eyes are red or weeping, this could be a sign of ill health. Another thing to look out for is if your cat starts bumping into objects suddenly or if he or she begins squinting a lot or becomes averse to bright lights. These are all warning signs which indicate that you should take your pet to a vet for an eye exam.
Your cat should have a soft nose that feels damp to the touch. It should not be producing thick or runny discharge and it should not be bleeding. Crusts forming on the surface are also a warning sign. If your cat’s nose is producing discharge or if the cat starts sneezing a lot, a visit to the vet is needed
Underneath the fur, the cat could have pink or black skin, depending on the breed. Either way, the skin should be smooth and free from spots, scales and crusting. If you notice any signs of irritation, get them looked at immediately. Different cats shed their hair at different times of year but most shedding happens during the summer and the autumn. When grooming your cat, look out for inflamed areas of skin and bald patches. If your cat is scratching a lot this could be a sign of fleas. These should be treated aggressively and as quickly as possible to protect your cat’s coat.
Be sure to keep an eye out for any of these symptoms and a yearly check-up to the veterinarian is important to keep your cat in tip-top shape. Knowing these things about cat health can prevent serious illnesses or complications for your pet.