My cat looks fine… but is he?

Cats are well known for their independent nature; however this self-sufficient attitude is also why cats hide their problems from those around them. This behavior will often result in one of the biggest challenges that cat owners have, which is “knowing when to visit their veterinarian.”

Unlike our canine friends, cats are very, very good at appearing normal even when they in fact are experiencing symptoms of disease. A cat can be ill for days or even months before the owner realizes something is wrong. By then odds of recovery have significantly decreased, which is why it is important to not wait until your cat appears sick or ill. Routine preventative wellness visits can tell us what your cat is not able to share… something is wrong.

It is important for pet owners to schedule a visit to the veterinarian as soon as you notice any change in their cat’s behavior or physical condition. This is especially true in older cats and although aging is a natural process, sometimes we assume these changes are merely age related and untreatable. This is a dangerous misconception and though some conditions in older cats are not correctable, they can often be controlled when diagnosed early.

The goal of our veterinary team is to make sure your cat has the healthiest and highest quality of life possible by detecting disease early, eliminating health risks, delay progression of disease, and maintain the health of the body’s systems.

If you can’t answer “yes” to all of the following statements, please contact us as soon as possible.

My cat:
-is acting normally, seems active and in good spirits
-does not tire easily with moderate exercise
-does not have seizures or fainting episodes
-has a normal appetite
-has had no significant change in weight
-has a normal level of thirst and drinks the usual amount of water
-does not vomit often
-does not regurgitate undigested food
-has no difficulty eating or swallowing
-has normal appearing bowel movements
-defecates without difficulty
-urinates normal amounts with normal frequency, urine color is normal
-urinates without difficulty
-always uses a litter box
-has not developed any new offensive behavioral tendencies such as aggression or urine spraying
-has gums that are pink with no redness, swelling, or bleeding
-does not sneeze and has no nasal discharge
-has eyes that are bright, clear, and free of discharge
-has a coat that is full, glossy, and free of bald spots and mats
-does not over groom self, scratch, lick, or chew
-has skin that is not greasy and has no offensive odor
-is free of fleas, tick, lice, and mites
-has no bleeding or discharge from anybody opening
-has no persistent abnormal swellings
-has no sores that do not heal
-has ears that are clean and odor free
-doesn’t shake its head or scratch its ears
-hears normally and reacts as usual to its environment
-walks without stiffness pain or difficulty
-has feet that appear healthy and claws are normal length
-breathes normal without straining or coughing

All in all when it comes to cats, the best means of preventive care is having annual or even semi-annual exams done by a veterinarian routinely.

Animal Hospital of Pensacola is one of the only Feline Friendly Practices, as certified by the American Association of Feline Practitioners, in the area so owners are sure to know that we always strive to make their cats visit as stress free as possible.

By Kelly Camferdam, CVT