Is My Cat Under the Weather? The Importance of Proactive Cat Health
If you’re lucky enough to have a cat, you know what unique and beautiful creatures they are. Cats are agile, intelligent, and loving… but they can be sneaky, too. Since February is Cat Health Month, here we will focus on keeping our feline friends healthy, share ways they might mask discomfort or pain, and explore why it’s essential to ensure they get the care they need before it becomes an emergency.
Natural Instincts – Signs and Symptoms That Something Is Not Right
Cats are predators and, in the wild, adopt an “eat or be eaten” mentality. As a result, wild and domesticated cats have evolved with an instinct to hide signs of pain or weakness as a survival mechanism. As protective as this may be for cats in the wild, it can hinder cat owners from ensuring domestic cats get veterinary care as soon as they are injured or ill.
When not feeling well, usually friendly and playful cats may begin to physically hide and become antisocial, while an ordinarily aloof cat may start to act clingy. A departure from grooming habits, having accidents outside of the litterbox, and abandoning the use of stairs or play towers are more red flags.
Noticing these changes in your cat’s behavior can give you a clue that something may be wrong, and a visit to your primary veterinarian ensures there isn’t a medical reason for your cat’s change in behavior..
Other signs that your cat may be sick or in pain:
- Changes in appetite (increase or decrease)
- Changes to water intake (increase or decrease)
- A reduction in activity, such as playing, jumping, or walking
- Less interaction with the family
- Hiding more than usual
- Aggression or flinching when touched
- Accidents outside the litter box
- Increased heart or respiratory rate
- Dilated pupils
The Case For Regular Cat Health Care
Many cat owners make the mistake of allowing too much time to pass between routine wellness visits. Monitoring your cat’s overall health through annual or biennial preventive exams and screening tests will provide a baseline of health for comparison with future results. If the results are abnormal, your primary care veterinarian may refer you to a board-certified veterinary specialist for advanced care.
Like us, cats might have an occasional bad day. You know your cat best, so if you’re worried about them, it’s always appropriate to err on the side of caution and have them seen by a veterinarian. By taking note of any behavior changes, you can ensure they get appropriate care before their condition (if applicable) becomes more advanced.
Is Your Cat Sick or Injured?
Some symptoms may indicate an emergency, such as repeated vomiting, breathing difficulties, limb weakness, or straining to urinate. Call your family veterinarian or the Emergency service at The COVE immediately if you believe your cat has a life-threatening injury or illness.
The COVE’s veterinarians and staff wholeheartedly embrace the core values of community, collaboration, commitment, compassion, and integrity. This focus ensures that pets, the people who love them, and their primary care veterinarians have as positive and affirming a healthcare experience as possible, regardless of the circumstances that bring us all together.