Whether you’re a new cat owner or you’ve had cats around for years, there is one important thing we all have in common: the desire to keep our fur babies healthy, groomed, and well fed. Knowing what a healthy cat looks and feels like can help us spot any changes that may require a trip to the vet. Sometimes it's obvious when our pets need medical attention, and sometimes it’s not.
Cats have the extraordinary ability of hiding signs of being unwell, so, unfortunately, an unhealthy cat can sometimes go unnoticed. It’s an instinct that helps cats to survive in the wild; weak animals become prey to larger animals.
What Signs Should You Watch For?
When cats are healthy, it shows in playtime, feeding time, and downtime. It shows from head to tail. Here is a summary of the ten common signs of illness in cats (be attentive and give your vet as much detail as possible; source Pet Health Network):
- Change in appetite – eating too much or too little
- Stinky breath – can mean gum disease or tooth decay
- Going outside of the litter box – can indicate a bladder infection or urinary blockage
- Behaviour change – a normally social kitty suddenly becoming anti-social
- Grooming change – lack of grooming or overgrooming can indicate a skin condition or stress
- Activity change – lethargy in young cats or a sudden burst of energy in older cats
- Sleeping pattern change – roaming the house meowing when they would normally be asleep
- Stress-induced behaviour – such as biting or other aggressive behaviours
- Voice change – a chatty cat that goes quiet or a quiet cat that suddenly becomes vocal
- Weight change – being underweight or overweight requires attention
Ways to Keep Your Cat Healthy
If your cat gets a clean bill of health from the vet, what else can you do to ensure they stay healthy and happy?
- Always make sure your cat has access to fresh water 24/7
- Keep your kitty’s life interesting with a variety of toys and cat furniture
- Keep them free of parasites such as fleas, worms and ticks
- Stay up to date with their vaccinations (discuss this with your vet)
- Provide enough clean litter boxes or ensure that your cat can go outside
- A good diet, that includes meat, is essential for your cat (obligate carnivore)
Cat Food That Maintains Healthy Digestion
Cats generally require a high protein diet and are unable to manufacture certain important amino acids (taurine and arginine) and vitamin A themselves and must get these from food.