Your Cat's Full Body Health Checklist
Cat's - Commonly Know As "Evil, But We Love Them"
As you already know, cat's are a mysterious bunch and it can be hard to tell when something is bothering them. When you regularly check in with your cat and maintain particular aspects of their health, it's easier to note when something could be amiss or to chalk it up to a funny cat being a funny cat. It also is comforting in that it gives you the ability to catch anything early if there is something wrong.
- 1. Your Cat's Eyes
- Just like dogs, your cat's eyes should remain bright and clear and slightly but not overly, moist. If you see any discharge, bloodshot eyes or a “third eyelid” (a white film over the eyeballs), be sure to contact the vet for a checkup.
- 2. Your Cat's Ears
- The same goes for your cat's pretty, perky ears. Take a peek in their ears at least once a week to ensure proper levels of wax. Make sure that it's clear of any particles of dust or debris, that isn't red or irritated, and to ensure it isn't smelly.
- If there appears to be dirt inside their ears or too much ear wax then it’s a good idea to give them a clean to prevent infections and excessive wax build up. You’ll need cat ear cleaner which can be purchased from your local pet store or vets, and you’ll also need a moist, lukewarm cotton wool ball to apply the cat ear cleaner. To clean their ears, simply apply some of the cleaner to the moist cotton wool ball and carefully wipe away any wax or dirt.
- 3. Your Cat's Nose
- Cat's are a little different than dogs when it comes to a healthy nose being wet or dry. A healthy cat's nose can vary between wet and dry several times over the course of a day. And there are many reasons your cat can have a dry, warm nose that have nothing to do with health.
If your cat's nasal skin is flaking, a dermatological problem may be to blame. Ask your veterinarian to check it out.
Another thing to look for is nasal discharge. If your cat's nose runs, the mucus should be clear. If your cat is producing thick, yellow, green or black mucus, see your veterinarian.
- 4. Your Cat's Mouth
If you've noticed that your cat has terribly bad breath, trouble chewing, or visibly broken or cracked teeth, call the vet. Gum disease is fairly common among cat's so it's important to take a peek at both their teeth and gums weekly. They should receive a formal dental cleaning at least once a year.
- 5. Your Cat's Skin & Coat
- Your healthy cat will have thick fur without any bald spots or patchy areas. Healthy cats shed regularly especially during the Spring and Fall season but excessive shedding could be signs of other issues and you may want to consult a vet.
- Overly dry, flaky or oily coats can also be an indication that that something could be amiss such a thyroid issue and is worth contacting your vet.
- 6. Your Cat's Paws & Legs
- We know this can be a pretty touchy area for our kitties, along with their stomachs - but it's important to try and get a good glimpse at the pads of your cat or kitten's feet and the condition of their knees and legs from time to time. You can make sure nothing is stuck in or around the pads of the feet, that they don't have scrapes or abrasions and that they aren't suffering from a limp or nursing one leg over another.
- 7. Your Cat's Bones & Joints
- The best way to check in on your cat's bone and joint health is to keep any eye on their activity levels. If they're quick to stand up, run, and jump then it's safe to assume that your cat is feeling good and has healthy joints and bones.
- If your cat struggles to shift their position or jumping up to or down from an area, you may want to consult with your vet to look into foods and medications that can improve your pets bone and joint health.
- Arthritis has become a more and more common ailment among older cats so it's best to always have your vet check on this area during your visits, especially since cat's aren't that best communicators when it comes to sharing whether or not they're experiencing aches or pains.
- 8. Your Cat's Digestive System
- If your cat is consistently receiving a balanced and nutritious diet and hydration resulting in regular urination and solid stool quality, then it's likely their digestive system is in check. If you witness frequent diarrhea or vomiting, this can be sign for concern. This can often be a parasite of some kind that can easily be remedied by medication from your vet.
- You also want to pay attention to changes in appetite, wanting to eat more or less or, feel that their abdomen isn't swollen or appearing larger than usual. If they are, this should be a sign to contact your vet.
- 9. Your Cat's Urinary System
- If your cat is having regular accidents in the house (if they're house-trained), urinating in large quantities or with greater frequency, passing urine that smells or looks different than usual, or having trouble urinating means that they need to see a vet. This is especially true if your pet is trying to urinate but nothing is happening, this could indicate a life-threatening blockage and should be addressed rapidly.
- 10. Your Cat's Heart & Lungs
- Cat's are pretty quiet about most things unless they don't want to be but it's important to pay attention to your cat's breathing in moments where they're relaxed.
- Changes to pay attention to include overt things such as coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing or wheezing. Some signs of heart or respiratory problems can be harder to detect, such as being reluctant to exercise or play, or getting tired or winded more easily than normal. Contact your vet if your pet seems to be having breathing problems.
So now you have a few more tools in your tool-belt when it comes to monitoring and maintaining your pet's health. But knowing these doesn't override your gut feeling - you're a pet parent so trust your gut! If something seems off with your dog or cat with their behavior, call your vet - trust us, your vet would want you to. If you have encountered any helpful health tips send them our way! We love hearing from our fellow pet parents!