Despite the popular saying, cats have only one life, as a loving cat owner, you want your pet to have as long and happy a life as possible, and that should include care from your veterinarian.
Your cat should visit the vet every six months for a routine checkup and, when necessary, to receive its vaccines and boosters. During the checkup, the vet will examine the cat from tip of nose to tip of tail, take its weight, check eyes, mouth, teeth and ears, and listen to the cat’s lungs and heart. The veterinarian will also check the coat and skin for any growths, mange or other abnormalities. The vet might adjust your cat’s diet if it’s weight isn’t ideal.
In terms of vaccinations, kittens receive shots for rabies, distemper and respiratory disease. Cats who go outdoors may also receive vaccinations for feline leukemia and other infectious diseases. Other vaccines may be administered every one to three years. It’s a good idea to make regular vet visits starting in the kitten stage so that your pet gets used to the routine. Pack a favorite toy or treat in the cat carrier, and cover the carrier with a towel if your cat gets upset.
An obvious trauma needs emergency care from your veterinarian, whether it be an encounter with a moving object or stray dog, or perhaps an eye injury, allergic reaction or seizure. But at other times, the need for veterinary care might not seem as obvious. Here are five warning signs that may indicate your cat needs attention from the vet:
Vocalizations: Some cats are talkative, while others are the strong silent type. A change in vocal habits could indicate a problem. A normally quiet cat who starts meowing frequently might be in discomfort or pain. If feeding or attention are not the problem, a vet visit is in order. If your female cat has not been spayed, it might be calling out for a male cat. We recommend all cats be neutered, for their health and the health of the species. Finally, if your normally talkative cat goes silent, it might be depressed or bothered by some physical pain. If the silence persists, let the vet have a look.
Cold symptoms: Cat cold symptoms aren’t very different from those of humans. They include sneezing, coughing, running nose and crusty eyes. The danger is that your cat has caught a more serious disease that mimics a cold. These include feline calicivirus and feline herpes. Monitor your cat’s condition and gently clean its nose and eyes with a damp, warm cloth. If the symptoms persist for more than a week, or if the symptoms worsen, bring your cat to the vet for a medical exam.
Listlessness: Cat’s normally sleep about 16 hours a day, so it’s not unusual for them to seem sleepy much of the time. But cats also have active periods in which they love to play, eat and drink. If its normal habits change and it becomes more interested in sleeping than in eating, something might be seriously wrong. Failure to eat can cause your cat to develop metabolic problems that can trigger liver disease and even death. Contact your veterinarian if your cat is listless and refuses to eat for more than a day.
Litter box: A cat who isn’t feeling well might decide to do their business away from their litter box. Ensure it isn’t a protest against a dirty box by fastidiously cleaning the box as necessary and changing the litter frequently. If that’s not the problem, or if you cat has loose stool or is straining to urinate, bring it to the vet right away. It might be harboring an infection or have some other problem. Also be on the lookout if your cat suddenly starts drinking excess water.
Grooming: Cats are excellent self-groomers, and it’s not unusual for them to experience a small amount of fur loss. If you cat stops grooming itself or you notice excessive fur loss, it might have a skin infection, flea infestation, or an internal problem. Take care that your cat doesn’t ingest too much hair, as an intestinal blockage may occur, accompanied by vomiting. Notify your vet and schedule a visit right away.
Dr. Paul has a strong interest in avian and exotic animal medicine and surgery, as well as small animal internal medicine and surgery.
He has provided services for numerous breeders, kennels, aviaries, and mini zoos.