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A healthy cat
"Examine your cat carefully for early signs of illness."

Caring for your cat

To help prevent health concerns in your cat, you should get into the habit of checking your cat regularly for any changes or signs of illness. When checking your cat, it’s important to be vigilant as your cat can’t tell you if they are feeling unwell. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, contact your vet right away.

To help keep your cat healthy, we’ve put together an easy to follow checklist.

Health checklist

  • Body condition: You should just be able to feel, but not see, your cat’s ribs. Your cat should have a recognisable waistline and a distinct tummy tuck. Watch for signs of unusual weight loss or gain.
  • Ears: Cats’ ears should be clean and free from discharge, redness, itchiness and offensive smells. If your cat has thin hair or fair skin, they may require sunscreen to prevent sunburnt ears. Never stick anything in your cat’s ears - if they need cleaning, always consult your vet..
  • Eyes: Should be bright and clear with no redness, discharge or apparent soreness. If your cat is shying away from the light, it may be hurting their eyes.
  • Nose: There should be no crusting, runny or thickened discharges or bleeding. Cats are susceptible to flu, so look out for runniness and sneezing. The nose should be soft and damp to touch.
  • Mouth: Teeth should be white with no excess tartar, pale pink or black gums. Dropping food, excess salivation, clawing at the mouth or bad breath are signs of dental problems.
  • Skin and coat: Skin can be pink or black, depending on the pigments normally found in your cat's skin. There should be no dandruff, fleas, bald patches or sores. The coat should be thick and shiny, with no broken hairs.
  • Nails: Should be smooth and if you have an indoor cat, clipped regularly. If they flake or break easily, your cat may require veterinary attention.
  • Digestion: Occasional vomiting of hair or grass can be normal. However, persistent sickness or choking when eating should be checked out. Make sure your cat's stools are normal in colour and consistency, with no diarrhoea or constipation.
  • Thirst: Healthy cats don’t appear to drink that much, particularly when they eat wet food due to its high moisture content. Outdoor cats will often find liquids away from home. If there is any sharp increase in water intake, consult your vet.
  • Attitude: Cats that feel unwell often shy away from human contact or act aggressively. Cats are good at hiding their illnesses so keep a close watch.

Remember, if you feel that your cat may be unwell, it is advisable to check for warning signs and take her to a vet.

 

About the Purina PetCare Advice Centre

PetCare Advice Centre The Purina PetCare Advice Centre brings together a team with in-depth knowledge, experience and special interests with the skills to advise about health and nutrition, behaviour, training, socialisation, as well as basic first aid for your cat or dog. Our team of dedicated pet lovers can also provide information about Purina products and services to help you give your pet the best possible care. If you've got a question about any aspect of pet care, then ask the Purina PetCare Advice team.

Last updated: 19 February 2013 at 01:49 PM
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