cat ailments and symptoms

How to Do a Health Check on a Cat

Cat Health Check

Cat Health Check

One of the biggest problems with caring for a cat is that they can be very stoic and will suffer a great deal of pain and discomfort BEFORE they let their human friends know anything serious is wrong.

Which is why cats can appear to become very sick “suddenly” without you noticing anything being wrong right away.

So catching possible health problems early is an important aspect of cat care. It is a good idea for cat owners to learn how give their cat a health check (at home) at least once a month or whenever their pet appears sick or hurt.

Below it is a good video on how to hold a cat and then perform a quick check. Yes, I have used the scruff & towel method – sick or hurt cats are NOT good patients. I have scars to prove it.

An article from Cat-World on doing Cat Health Checks recommends the following…

Ears: Check for signs of bleeding, debris, dirt or wax. Look for signs of ear mites (reddish/brown discharge in the ear, bleeding from the ear, coffee-grounds like appearance in the ear, scratch marks, odor). You may notice a small amount of wax which is normal. Your cat’s ears should not have an unpleasant odor. Check the edge of your cat’s ears for thickening, scaling, lesions & redness. Look for lumps, bumps or any swellings on the ear.

Eyes: These should be bright & clear with no redness, swelling, weeping or discharge.

Nose: This should be free of discharge. Check for lumps, bumps, swellings & ulcers which don’t heal.

Mouth, Teeth & gums: The teeth should be white with no signs of chips or lesions. Gums healthy looking & pink without receding, redness, bleeding or swelling. Check for signs of tartar around the gum line. Check around the mouth, lips & tongue for ulcers, lumps, bumps, swelling & lesions.

Chin: Check for lumps & bumps on the chin. A dirty appearing chin may be a sign your cat has feline acne.

Respiration: Observe your cat’s breathing. This should be even & appear to be easy & effortless. Increased respiration & or effort should not be observed. Also check for panting, wheezing, coughing, suffering shortness of breath.

Skin & Coat: This should be healthy looking, fur should be shiny. Gently pull up the skin at the shoulder & release. It should spring back immediately, if it doesn’t your cat is dehydrated.

Claws: Check the length, if they are too long (especially in indoor only cats) give them a trim.

Body: Run your hands along the head, body, limbs & tail checking for lumps, bumps & signs of pain.

Mobility: Put your cat down & observe it’s movements. Does it appear stiff or uncomfortable? Is it avoiding using any limbs?

Weight: Keeping a record of your cat’s weight is a good idea. Run your hands along the cat’s ribs. You should be just able to feel the ribs. If they can be easily felt, your cat may be underweight, if you can’t feel them at all, he may be overweight.


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