Take your cat to the vet each year for their annual checkup, but you can also watch your cats health between those visits. Cats are masters in hiding their secrets, their pains and illnesses, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye out.
Your cat’s coat should be smooth, thick (depending on the cat breed. Sphynx cats don’t have a thick fur…) and shiny. If you find fleas, start using methods to get rid of those fleas. If you see dandruff, a greasy coat or bare patches there might be something going on with your cat and you might want to consult your vet.
Cat dandruff is common with cats. It occurs most of the time on the back, and closer to the tail than to the head and it’s often in combination with greasy hair. Dandruff is most of the time — even when severe not seen as a disease. But skin parasites (Demodex) and fungal infections such as ringworm can lead to dandruff and so can glandular disorders such as hyperthyroidism, allergies to fleas or food and even lymphoma. You can take your cat to the vet to rule out the serious problems.
The face of your cat can tell you a lot about how she is feeling and her health. A healthy cat’s nose should be free of dirt and sores. Her eyes should be bright and clear and a healthy cat does not have a bad breath. Her ears should also be free of discharge and swelling. Cloudy eyes, and pupils that aren’t evenly dilated (like one dilated, and one isn’t) and third eyelids that are showing are signs to contact your vet.
Eye boogers is something cats sometimes have from time to time and it’s usually not a big deal. But if you don’t clean it, while your cat has it a lot, her eyes might become infected. If the eye boogers are yellow or green, or there’s a lot more than usual, it’s time to contact your vet.
A bad breath can be caused by various health problems.
Most of the time bad breath is caused by a build-up of odor-producing bacteria in your pet’s mouth. This can be a result of dental or gum disease. Diet and dermatological issues can also be contributing factors. Bad breath can also mean more serious medical problems such as abnormalities in the mouth, respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, liver or kidneys.
Your cats dental health is very important because infected teeth and gums can cause heart and kidney disease(!!), among other dangerous life-threatening problems.
Lift up your cat’s cheek and look at her gums. They should be nice and pink, with no redness and swelling. Her teeth should be tartar-free and with no sores or other strange things in her mouth.
If plaque is not removed, minerals in the saliva combine with the plaque and form tartar. Plaque starts to mineralize 3-5 days after it forms. The tartar is irritating the gums and causes an inflammation. This can be seen as reddening of the gums.. It also causes bad breath.
Some cats do fine with free-feeding, and some cats don’t and might become fat — just like we humans, if we eat too much or get too much treats.
Put your thumbs on your cat’s backbone and run your fingers along her rib cage. If you can easily feel her ribs, she’s doesn’t need to lose any weight. If you cannot easily feel her ribs, you might want to cut down on the treats or watch her eating-style.
If you look at your cat from above, you should see a bit of a “tuck” at her waist, then look at your cat from the side; her abdomen should be tucked up behind her rib cage. If your cat needs to lose weight, talk about with your vet, and maybe about a nutrition plan.
Drinking and Eating
Changes in your cat’s eating and drinking can be a sign of (serious) illnesses. If your cat is always hungry or thirsty, or if she has lost her appetite, call your vet. Just like when her business in the litterbox changes, it could be a sign of some serious problems.
How to find out if your cat is dehydrated.
Causes of dehydration are vomiting, diarrhea, sickness, heat stroke, shock, blood loss, fever and lack of water.
Signs of dehydration are a dry mouth, sunken eyes, Poor skin elasticity (check here for instructions), lethargy, increased heart rate, Poor capillary refill time, constipation.
Is your cat sleeping more than usual? Does she seem lethargic? All a sign of fever or illness. If your cat seems more aggressive than usual, it can be a sign that she’s hiding something, for example: pain! Does she starting to meow more, or peeing outside the litter box? It’s not just bad behavior, it could all be a sign of a medical issue.
How do you check your cat’s health?