Cats are masters at hiding how they feel, and often even hide away at times of illness or discomfort. Our handy guide will give you an indication of what to look out for to identify signs of trouble as early as possible.
Eating and drinking
By having set mealtimes for your cat, it will be easy to spot a lack of appetite. Monitoring your cat’s water intake might be a bit more difficult, but do try to keep an eye on her. A healthy cat would be keen to devour her meals. If anything seems out of order, there might be a problem.
A healthy cat has bright, beautiful and shiny eyes. If her eyes seem dull, without that typical clarity, red flags should rise. There should also not be an excessive discharge coming from the eyes – if that is the case, make an appointment with your veterinarian.
Have a look inside your cat’s ears once in a while – despite the fact that she might not appreciate it! Ears should be clean, with no strong smell emanating from them. Signs of trouble are if she struggles to move her ears, keeps scratching them or shakes her head continually.
A healthy cat has a clean nose, which might be either cold or warm. If she paws at her nose or sneezes a lot, there might be some discomfort. Irregular discharge, mucus or crusting is a definite sign that the nose knows something is wrong.
A relaxing petting session with your cat can help you to pick up irregularities. Look out for lumps, scratches, scabs or swelling. Fur that is oily or contains dandruff or bald patches can also indicate a medical issue. A healthy cat has a full, shiny and clean coat.
Once again you might have to endure a few scratches, but checking out your cat’s mouth can give you a good indication of her health. Healthy gums are generally in shades of pink, but bright red gums are not healthy. Also look out for drooling and pawing at the mouth. Check that kitty’s teeth are free of brown streaks and tartar build-up, and if her breath is particularly offensive, it’s time to have her checked out by a professional.
Give your cat’s tail the occasional rubdown to check for wounds, lumps and other abnormalities. These occur more often than expected, especially if your cat has access to the outdoors.
Your cat’s paws should be soft, clean and free of thorns, ticks or anything else between her pads. There should be no injuries. If you notice your cat limping, take some time to pause and look at those paws.
Underneath the tail
Lift up your cat’s tail to see if there are any signs of parasites. These might look like grains of rice or spaghetti. These are easily treated, but it should be done as soon as possible to prevent them from spreading to your other pets.
Be aware of any changes in your cat’s loo habits. Health problems might lead to her urinating and defecating in different places than usual, such as your bath. If you notice any discolouration of the urine or faeces, a vet visit is in order.