Know the Signs Your Cat May Be Sick
October 8, 2012
Know the Signs Your Cat May Be Sick
Recent surveys have shown that cat visits to the veterinarian are going down while easily preventable diseases and conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and hypothyroidism are on the rise.
October is National Pet Preventive Healthcare Month and the CATalyst Council, a national initiative comprised of animal health and welfare organizations working on behalf of cats, is urging cat owners to take their cats to the veterinarian for a preventive healthcare checkup.
“All cats need at least an annual preventive care exam to verify that they’re healthy and not harboring some hidden illness. It is extremely difficult to tell when a cat is sick or hurting, so when owners are unaware of what to look for, they may be missing vital clues that their cat is not feeling well,” says Dr. Jane Brunt, executive director of the CATalyst Council, “One of the easiest ways to ensure your cat is healthy is to take it to the veterinarian for regular exams.”
But just in case, the CATalyst Council is offering these clues that may be a sign that your cat needs to see a veterinarian … now
1. Changes in Interaction. If your cat is generally independent and suddenly turns into your shadow, or the reverse, it may be because your cat isn’t feeling well.
2. Changes in Activity. A change in daily routine or in your cat’s activity level could be an indication that your cat isn’t well or has a medical condition like arthritis.
3. Changes in Chewing or Eating Habits. An increase in consumption may be a sign of diabetes or hyperthyroidism while a decrease may point to dental problems or even cancer.
4. Changes in Water Intake. Drinking more or less water may be a sign of a health problem such as kidney disease or diabetes.
5. Unexpected Weight Loss or Weight Gain. Weight doesn’t always go up or down with a change in appetite. There are disorders that cause weight loss or gain even without a change in consumption.
6. Bad Breath. Dental disease, kidney disease, and digestive disorders can all lead to halitosis in cats.
7. Changes in Grooming Habits. Your cat works hard to look its best, which is why if you notice your cat being less fastidious than it usually is, it may be a sign that your cat has dental disease or arthritis.
8. Changes in Sleeping Habits. An increase or decrease in the amount of sleep your cat gets, or a change in sleeping habits, all indicate that your cat may not be feeling its best.
9. Changes in Vocalization. If your cat starts “talking” to you more than usual or suddenly becomes very quiet, it may be because of a medical condition. Anxiety, feline cognitive dysfunction, high blood pressure and hyperthyroidism are all reasons behind a change in vocalization.
10. Signs of Stress. Cats like routines and a stable environment and are prone to stress-related illness. Anxiety can cause cats to exhibit behavioral changes (like eliminating outside of the litter box) as well as physical changes.
“During Pet Preventive Healthcare Month, we encourage owners to take their cats to the veterinarian not only to ensure they are healthy, but to establish a health profile or baseline for their cats,” said Dr. Brunt. “At the same time, owners should be tracking their cat’s normal behaviors so that they know if they are exhibiting subtle signs that they are ill. Once a year – on your birthday, during Preventive Healthcare Month, near a holiday -- just pick a date and get your feline friend to the veterinarian at the same time every year. It’s a good habit to form and one where you – and your cat – will benefit!”