Thursday, June 30, 2011

How to Tell if Your Cat is Sick - Part 2

In my last post, I discussed some ways in which you can tell if your cat is not feeling well. In this post, I will continue that discussion so that you have the best chance of spotting illness or pain early in your feline.

Skin and Coat: Changes in your cat's skin and coat is one sign that your furry friend may not be feeling well. A healthy feline's coat is slightly lustrous, clean, and soft, according to the website How Stuff Works. If your cat's coat is looking unkempt, dry, oily, or dull, he or she may not be feeling well.

If you see bald patches or spots with thinning hair on your cat, he or she could be experiencing an allergic reaction, flea infestation, or obsessively grooming oneself in reaction to stress.

As you probably already know (if you are a cat owner), cats are very diligent about keeping themselves clean. If you suddenly see your feline stop bathing or grooming himself or herself, he or she may be ill or in pain.

Of course, sometimes when a kitty looks unkempt, it is merely a sign that he or she needs more grooming attention from his or her human. It is always best to ask your veterinarian about changes you notice in your feline's grooming habits.

Ears: The appearance of the ears is another way in which you can determine if your pet is healthy. You should look inside your cat's ears periodically. Checking your pet's ears during grooming time is a good way to get into a routine. Ear mites look like dirt or coffee grounds in the ears. While some felines will itch or rub their ears if they have ear mites, not all of them do. Seeing a blue or yellowish tint in or around the ears indicates something may seriously be wrong with your kitty and you should call your vet immediately if you notice this.

Cats who spend time indoors and outdoors or who stay outdoors all the time also need to have their ears inspected regularly. In winter, a kitty's ears can develop frostbite in as little as an hour's time. Additionally, if your cat gets into a fight, his or her ears are easy targets for scratches and bites. Examining your pet's ears regularly will help you avoid infection if injury occurs.

Gums: Changes in the gums are another sign that something is wrong with your pet. In order to open your cat's mouth, How Stuff Works recommends placing one of your hands on top of your feline's head with your thumb on one side of the mouth and fingers on the other side. Lift your cat's head up so that his or her nose is pointed upward. Next, take your other hand and put one finger where your cat's front teeth meet. Push down on the lower jaw gently to open the mouth.

It is not uncommon for a feline's gums to take on the color of his or her coat. Additionally, orange cats can have harmless freckles on their lips, noses, and inside their mouths.

Your cat's gums should be a pink color (if not the color of his or her coat). White gums may mean your kitty is suffering from anemia. If your cat's gums have a bluish tint, he or she may not be getting enough oxygen. Finally, if you notice the gums have a yellowish tint, there may be something amiss with your furry friend's liver.

Eyes: A cat's eyes are also a good source of information about his or her health. Cat pupils come in different shapes naturally. However, if the shape or size of your feline's pupils change, it could be an indication that something is amiss. Additionally, if your pet's eyes appear milky, cloudy, or filmy, your furry friend may be suffering from cataracts, viral ulcers, or another type of vision problem, asserts the website How Stuff Works.

The iris, the colored part of the eye, is often a shade of blue, yellow, or green in cats. Some cats even have two different colored irises. If you notice changes to your pet's iris or if you notice the appearance of spots or splotches in the iris, call your veterinarian. Sometimes the iris looks like Swiss cheese, as if it's falling apart as a feline ages, even though it isn't.

The sclera, the white part of the eye should be white; you may also be able to see some small blood vessels as well. However, you should be concerned if the sclera is "bloodshot," contains ulcers or splotches of color, is yellow, or has obvious signs of injury like scratches, bruises, or scrapes.

Felines also have a third eyelid known as the nictitating membrane. Normally, you probably do not notice this eyelid very much. However, one of the ways you can tell your cat is sick is if his or her third eyelid is up - partially occluding the eyeball.

Finally, the pink fleshy part under your furry friend's eyelids is known as the conjunctiva. As with the third eyelid, you probably don't usually notice the conjunctiva. If the conjunctiva swells, it may give your cat's eye a "meaty" appearance and is an indication that something may be wrong.

If you notice any of the signs or symptoms discussed in this post or my last post, it is best to call your veterinarian for his or her opinion and recommendations on your cat's health.

May all the beloved felines and their humans remain healthy :)


How Stuff Works: How to Tell if Your Cat is Sick

1 comment:

  1. I think that my cat is sick. She has been acting weird for a week or so now but I thought it was just something that would pass. Her irises have spots or splotches in it and her ears sort of have a yellowish tint now that I think about it. I will definitely be checking her into a vet asap . I feel bad that I've let this go on for as long as I have. I thought she was just under the weather and it would go away in a few days.