Health

What to Look For

Health

You should take your cat to your veterinarian at least once a year for an examination and annual vaccinations. Preventative medicine is the best medicine. Also, if your cat suffers an injury or appears to be sick, you should immediately call your veterinarian. Cats tend to be great at hiding problems so by the time you realize something is wrong, it may have existed for a while.

Ear mites

These tiny parasites can be transmitted from cat to cat. If your cat is constantly scratching at the ears or shaking the head, he/she may be infested with ear mites. You nay notice a waxy build up in the ear that resembles coffee grounds. You will need to call your veterinarian for proper treatment.

Urinary tract infection

Frequent trips to the litter box, crying or straining when urinating, blood in the urine, going outside the litter box may be an indication of a urinary tract infection. If a male cat can’t urinate, he may have an obstruction that can be fatal if not quickly treated.

Constipation

The definition for constipation is the infrequent passage of small, hard, dry stools. Feces retained in the colon for two to three days become hard and dry. This results in straining and painful elimination. Most cats have one or two stools a day. Cats having a bowel movement once every two or three days may very likely be constipated. Many cats will not defecate when in strange surroundings; others may refuse to use a dirty litter pan. Older less active cats may experience reduced bowel activity.  If you suspect your cat may be constipated, contact your veterinarian for treatment.

Fleas

These parasites feed off the cat, transmit tapeworms and irritate the skin. If there are fleas on your cat, please contact your veterinarian for proper treatment. Not all over-the-counter products that you may pick up at your local pet store are compatible or safe for cats. Flea collars can be toxic and may adversely contribute to known, and unknown, health issues. Cats die every year from improper treatment due to use of these products.

Worms

Cats can be infected with several types of worms each requiring a different type of treatment. It is always a good idea to take a stool sample at the annual check-up to rule out the existence of these parasites.

Medicines and poisons

Never give a cat medication that has not been prescribed by a veterinarian. Some across-the-counter medications can be fatal to cats. Keep rat poison and other rodenticides away from your cat. If you suspect your cat has been poisoned, immediately take your cat to your veterinarian and, if you can, take the poison container with you.

Dental care

If your veterinarian notices a buildup of calculus and plaque, he or she will recommended the teeth be cleaned. Undetected or untreated dental problems can lead to other major health issues especially for the older cat.