How to Tell if Your Cat is Sick Caelli Edmonds, DVM
Cat owners often admire their beloved pets for being self-reliant and for having independent personalities. But it is also true that when cats don’t feel well, their symptoms can be subtle and hard to recognize. In fact, it is said that our little feline friends are very good at hiding illness. Therefore, it is important to know the quieter symptoms that your cat may not be feeling well. Without regular veterinary visits, a disease could go unnoticed for months or years, until severe symptoms finally appear.
Here are some things to look for in determining if your cat may be sick:
- Changes in your cat’s social behavior: Cats may become clingy because they don’t feel well, or conversely, hide away somewhere so no one will detect their illness.
- Activity level: If your normally active cat becomes lethargic or has difficulty with normal tasks, such as jumping up on counters or furniture, it may indicate a health problem.
- Changes in eating and /or drinking: Changes in water intake or eating habits are also often early signs of illness. It’s a good idea to know how much your cat eats and drinks each day and to also monitor his or her eating. Sometimes early dental problems can be seen as odd chewing behavior, such as a cat who only seems to chew on one side of the mouth, possibly to avoid a painful tooth (just like somethings we humans might do too).
- Bad breath: Bad breath can be a sign of a metabolic disease or dental disease. Annual dental health exams, home care and cleanings with radiographs (x-rays) as recommended by our veterinarians can keep dental disease at bay.
- Changes in weight: Sometimes changes in weight can occur without any significant change in food intake. Unexplained weight loss or weight gain should always be investigated. In older cats, one cause of weight loss is hyperthyroidism.
- Grooming habits: A cat who doesn’t want to groom is definitely not feeling well. This could be due to arthritis, obesity, or even dental problems.
- Sleeping habits: A change in sleeping habits is a sign that your cat may be experiencing some unrecognized problem. Cats often sleep about 75% of the day, so a sudden decrease in the time spent sleeping can be cause for concern.
- Changes in routine: Cats prefer a stable routine and a calm environment. Situations that can cause stress for our cats include new people or animals in the home, changes in the normal events of a day, or a move to a new home.
- Changes in behavior: If you notice any changes in your cat’s behavior, such as changes in litterbox habits (e.g. not using it), scratching (shredding the couch when the cat used to only scratch the scratching post), and even including changes in vocalization (meowing or yowling), it’s a good idea to see one of our veterinarians.
If you notice any changes or signs similar to the ones listed above, please give our office a call to make an appointment so that your cat can be examined by one of our veterinarians.
Our cats can’t talk to us (at least not in human language) and let us know what’s going on, but his or her doctor can help get to the bottom of your cat’s distress. Ideally, older dogs and cats should be seen every six months by a veterinarian. A thorough exam will help identify a health concern before it turns into a more critical health issue.
- Sonny’s Sunshine Fund Update: The fundraiser for Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in Tumalo was a grand success, and to top it off, there were two raffle winners. Our client Tim Dooley won the camping kit, and another client was thrilled to win the custom hand-painted portrait of her dog. Cinder Rock, our generous clients and other friends and families were able to raise over $4,000 to help support this fine organization in our community.
- We would like to introduce two new members of our staff and welcome one back. The first, a new employee, is Ryly, who is working at our front desk. Ryly is a Bend native and now lives in Redmond. She is a 2018 graduate of OSU in Corvallis where she earned a BS degree in Agricultural Sciences. From the first day, Ryly has felt at home helping our clients and their pets. The second new employee is Jamie, who joined our staff in June, 2018. Jamie is working both at the front desk and also as a veterinary assistant. She is originally from Silverado, CA, attended Heritage College in Lake Forest, CA and a completed the Vet Technician Assistant Program in 2014. She had worked at two veterinary clinics in California before moving to Powell Butte and coming to Cinder Rock. And on Sunday, September 9, 2018 Jamie and her fiancé Nick were married in a beautiful ceremony at Smith Rock State Park. We are also excited to welcome Patsy back to Cinder Rock’s front desk!