Cats are very independent pets. They mostly groom themselves and can also occupy themselves for hours with a toy. It will take a practiced eye to tell if they are sick.
You may think that your cat speaks to you in meows and purrs but it is a foreign language. There is no translation to let you know when they are in pain or not feeling well. So, how will you know if your cat is under the weather?
One way is to pay attention and listen. You are around your pet every day. From the time you get them home with a clean bill of health, take note of their usual behaviors. Vets can give you instruction and literature on normal cat activity and body functioning. Now, you are armed with the tools you need to identify when something is not right with your pet.
Signs of Sickness
For many cat owners, they don’t know that something is wrong until it is too late. This doesn’t have to be the case with you and your cat. Here are some signs that you can be on the lookout for.
1. Appetite – Your cat usually eats all of his food but now he is eating less. It could be that he doesn’t like a new food that you are offering. On the more serious side, he could have a digestive ailment that has changed his appetite. Use this measure. Grasp the skin between your cat’s shoulder blades. If it bounces back into place once you let go then he is well-hydrated. If not, your cat could be dehydrated. Offer him more water to drink each day.
2. Litter box business – This is kind of stinky but you might have to check the litter box droppings if you notice any changes in appetite. Think of it this way – you scoop out the droppings when you clean the litter box anyway. Next time, pay closer attention to the droppings. If your cat is eating more but eliminating less, that is a sign of possible illness. Also, if stools are loose or hard with traces of blood, this is another indicator that something is wrong. Check the color as well.
3. Eyes – The eyes have it. Cats have three lids: upper lid, lower lid and nictitating membrane. It’s much like a lizard where the third membrane comes across the eye and back as the other two close. You don’t normally see it because it closes so fast. If you can see halfway covering the eye, take him to the vet. Notice the normal coloring of your cat’s eyes. Any cloudiness to any area of the eyes could signal ulcers, cataracts or other problems.
4. Coat – Look for bald patches or a dull sheen to the coat. It could signal an allergic reaction, stress in your cat or a flea or other infection.
5. Ears – Take a look. Are they perky as usual? If there is a bluish or yellowish tint to them, it could signify a problem with oxygenation or liver damage.
Is your best friend feeling down? Use these guidelines to determine if you need to raise the alarm or just give your cat a little bit of loving.