You can spot a healthy kitten by looking out for a few tell-tale signs.
Assessing your kitten’s body condition
Regular home check ups help to identify any early signs of illness. Remember some cats are very good at hiding illness or pain, so you need to be vigilant. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, contact your vet.
- Body condition – you should just be able to feel, but not see, your kitten’s ribs. Your pet should have a recognisable waistline and a distinct tummy tuck. Watch for signs of unusual weight loss or gain.
- Ears – these should be clear of any thick brown or black wax and have no smell. For thinly-haired kittens or kittens with white-tipped ears, consider using sunscreen lotion to prevent sunburn.
- Eyes – should be bright and clear, with no redness, discharge or apparent soreness. Shying away from light is a sign it could be hurting the eyes.
- Nose – your kitten's nose is usually soft and damp to the touch. Nostrils should be free of discharge or crusting.
- Mouth – teeth should be white with no excess tartar, with pale pink or black gums. Dropping food, excess salivation, clawing at the mouth or bad breath are all signs of dental problems.
- Skin and coat – skin can be pink or black, depending on the pigments normally found in your kitten’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 to prevent ingrowing.
- Digestion – occasional vomiting of hair or grass can be normal. However, persistent sickness or choking when eating should be checked out. Make sure your pet's stools are normal in colour and consistency, with no diarrhoea or constipation.
- Thirst – If you notice any sharp increase in water intake, consult your vet
- Attitude – kittens that feel unwell often shy away from human contact or act aggressively. Keep a close eye on things, as cats are very good at hiding illness.
Learning about your kitten’s health is one of the best ways to ensure a happy and healthy kitten.
About the Purina 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.