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    Ways to find out if your cat is sick

    Articlecat health and wellbeingFriday 19 April 2013
    Unfortunately pets cannot tell us when they are sick or it would make all our lives a lot easier… to add to the problem, cats are notorious for hiding illnesses until it gets serious and possibly too late. Fortunately there are things you can do so you can check your cat and make sure they are healthy and well. Aside from this advice it is of course always recommended to do regular checkups with your vet to make sure everything is ok and well. They are of course the best at recognising problems in your cats. 
    Believe it or not there are many warning signs that your cats give off in their behaviour, body language and communication. If a cat behaves in a strange manner at home then they might not be the same in the vet’s surgery because it may be too nervous to display the same behaviour.  Of course with this information it can provide useful to the vet. This can help him work quicker to come towards a solution. 
    The Diet
    The first thing you have to look at is eating habits. Is your cat eating more or less than usual? Does it simply ignore its food or come up to it but eat much less than normal?
    Is your cat drinking enough? A good way to test this is to grasp its skin between its should blades and gently let go. If it goes back to place slowly then this means they are very well hydrated. If not then it means they are not getting enough fluids.
    You have to check your cats stools. Are they correctly formed? Furthermore if there is any blood coming out then this is a problem. A change in colour or smell can mean danger. 
    The Skin and Coat
    Cats are usually very attentive to their cleanliness and appearance. If your cat is no longer maintaining itself or their coat if dry, oily or dull then it may be a sign that they are under the weather. If on the other hand your cat is grooming itself like crazy then it can mean something else for example a skin problem or a nasty reaction to flees. Study the places where your cat licks to have a further inspection and check the condition of the skin. 
    If your cat has any patches on their body without hair then these should be checked. There should be enough hair on its body to cover all the skin with the exception of the area between the eyes and ears.
    The size and weight of your cat is very important. Underweight could mean a serious condition and with a cat being overweight then it means it is vulnerable to a host of problems. Realistically you should be able to feel the ribs but not easily see them. This is the right sort of shape you want your cat to be. 
    The Mouth
    Gums and teeth are an incredibly good indicator of a cat’s health. You should look at the colour of the skin inside your cat’s mouth. Ideally you want it to be slightly pinkish. White skin can suggest anemia, yellowish could mean a liver problem and bluish means they are not getting enough oxygen. 
    Check the cat’s teeth for tartar build up. Unfortunately overtime it can lead to pockets of bacteria within the gums. This can travel through the body and cause lots of problems. You can ask your dentist for advice on cleaning your cat’s teeth and also to get a regular dental check from the vet.
    The Ears
    Your cat's ears will need checking too. Again, like the mouth, if the colour is a sort of yellow or blueish then seek your vet’s advice. It is normal for a cat to have some sort of wax in there but any skin that seems damaged or inflamed is a sign that something has gone wrong. 
    If there are dark “crumbs” like soil or coffee grounds in the ear then this is a sign of ear mites which are tiny insects in the cat’s ears. 
    Unfortunately cat's ears are made up of pretty much skin and cartilage. Therefore in cold weather frost bite can be a huge problem as cat’s ears are prone to freezing. Monitor this when your cat is outside in cold spells. 
    If your cat has fought with other cats then apart from the obvious problems, the ears are an easy target. Tiny punctures can appear in the ear that seal up quickly. Interlocked can be bacteria and dirt which a few days later can cause serious infections. 
    The Eyes
    Cats pupils can vary from slits to big black dots. This is normal depending on the cat. However what is a problem is if they suddenly change size. You should bear this in mind. Another sign is if the eyes become cloudy or milky coloured. This can be a symptom of many issues.
    The iris is the technical name for the coloured part of the eye. Normally these are yellow, green or blue. If you start to notice other colours appearing in tiny blobs or patches then contact your vet. The iris of older cats can change colour gradually over time however.
    If you notice anything different with the eye or slight injury then this is of course a problem. There is for example a third eyelid and this only appears when there is a problem. If you notice this then go to your vet.
    The Temperature
    Naturally a cat’s temperature is higher than that of a humans so do not be alarmed if you cat is warm all the time. In fact a cat’s body temperature is said to be 38.6 degrees Celsius, a few degrees higher than a human's.
    A mild fever is nothing to be worried about and is a normal part of their natural disease-fighting system. Unfortunately finding out if your cat has a fever is quite difficult. You cannot do this easily from touching them like you can a human’s forehead. Nor is a thermometer in the mouth sufficiently accurate. You may not like the next part but you know what it is going to be; the most reliable and accurate way to tell is rectally with a thermometer.
    Armed with this knowledge you now know how your cat is feeling and can forsee any issues before they get serious. Remember if you have any sort of hesitation or doubt then always contact your vet. Even a phone call even if you just want reassurance can be great.
    Source: Discovery
    Photo: Hey Rocker
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