Regular visits to the veterinarian are crucial for ensuring the good health of your cat. However, did you know that you can also keep an eye on their well-being between vet appointments through simple at-home examinations? By incorporating nose-to-tail checkups into your routine, you can detect any potential problems early on and seek veterinary assistance promptly. Let’s dive into this easy and effective way to monitor your cat’s health.
Performing a Comprehensive Cat Health Exam
1. Spend some time on your cat’s skin
While cozying up with your adorable furball, take a moment to run your hands gently over their body. Feel for any unusual lumps, scratches, scabs, swelling, or other irregularities. Additionally, keep an eye out for signs of skin or internal issues, such as dandruff, oily or missing fur. Part their fur to check for fleas; those black specks resembling pepper are actually “flea dirt,” which consists of flea feces containing your cat’s blood. If you come across any concerning lumps, especially following a vaccination, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian.
2. Examine your cat’s ears
A healthy cat’s ears should be clean and free from any unpleasant odor. If your cat is experiencing ear problems, they may shake their head frequently or display excessive scratching. Inspect their ears for flaking, scabs, foul odor, or discharge. If you notice a black, gritty substance inside their ears, it’s possible they have ear mites, which are highly itchy parasites that can be transmitted to other cats.
3. Spy into your cat’s eyes
Take a closer look at your cat’s eyes. Healthy eyes should appear bright, clear, and evenly focused. Watch out for redness, discoloration, discharge, squinting, or the presence of the third eyelid, as these signs may indicate an underlying issue that warrants a call to your veterinarian.
4. Make time for your cat’s mouth
Healthy gums should have a pink, pale, or bright color. Red gums can be a cause for concern and may indicate a problem. Additionally, be alert to any drooling or pawing at the mouth. Pay attention to brown streaks or tartar build-up on your cat’s teeth, as these can be signs of dental issues. If your cat’s breath becomes unbearable, it’s likely time to seek veterinary assistance.
5. Don’t be shy—get nose-y with your cat
Observe your cat’s nose closely. It should be clean, without any unusual discharges. Depending on their activity level and the surrounding temperature, their nose may feel cold or warm. If your cat frequently paws at their nose, sneezes excessively, or exhibits mucous or other discharge, it’s advisable to contact your veterinarian.
6. Take a look under your cat’s tail
This step may require a bit of courage, but it’s important to check underneath your cat’s tail. If you spot what appears to be grains of rice or spaghetti, you’ve discovered signs of parasites, some of which can be transmitted to you or your other pets. Consult your veterinarian to obtain appropriate medication for your cat’s parasite infestation.
7. Focus on your cat’s feet
While most cats are not particularly fond of having their feet touched, if your feline friend doesn’t mind, take the opportunity to inspect their paws. Look out for stuck-on litter, torn claws, cuts, swellings, or infections. Additionally, remember to regularly check and trim your cat’s claws to prevent them from inadvertently scratching you, getting caught on furniture or carpet, or growing into their paws.
By incorporating these simple at-home exams into your routine, you can ensure that your beloved cat stays in top-notch health. Remember, if you ever have any concerns or discover any abnormalities, it’s vital to consult with your veterinarian promptly. Show your feline friend how much you care by keeping a watchful eye on their well-being.
Katten TrimSalon wants to help you keep your cat happy and healthy!