Some alarming surveys have shown that cats visits to the vet are decreasing, when diseases that are otherwise easily preventable are increasing, such as hypothyroidism, high blood pressure and diabetes. This month is Adopt A Cat Month and on that occasion the CATalsyt Council, a national initiative comprised of animal health and welfare organizations working on behalf of cats, encourages pet parents to reverse the trend and take back their felines to the vet, to get them checked up and make sure that theyr are not suffering for any underlying medical conditions, especially if they were recently adopted.
“All cats need at least an annual preventive care exam to verify that they’re healthy and not harboring some hidden illness,” says Dr. Jane Brunt, executive director of the CATalyst Council. “It is extremely difficult to tell when a cat is sick or hurting, so when owners are unaware of what to look for, they may be missing vital clues that their cat is not feeling well. One of the easiest ways to ensure your new cat is healthy is to take it to the veterinarian immediately after adoption and then once a year for a wellness exam.”
Here are 10 signs that might show you need to take your cat to the vet quickly.
1. New routine: A change your cat’s daily routine or level of activity could indicate that he or she is under the weather or has a medical condition like arthritis.
2. Drinking habits: Drinking more or less water can be a sign of kidney disease, diabetes or other health issues.
3. Different behavior: If your cat used to be rather independent and suddenly turns into your shadow, or the reverse, it may be a sign that your feline isn’t feeling well.
4. Gain or loss of weight: Weight doesn’t always go up or down with a change in appetite. There are disorders that cause weight loss or gain even without a change in food consumption
5. Signs of stress: Cats like routine and enjoy a stable environment and are prone to stress-related illness. Anxiety can cause cats to exhibit behavioral changes (like stopping using the litter box) as well as physical changes.
6. Grooming habits: We all know cats work hard to look their best, which is why if you notice your cat’s grooming becomes less insistent, it can be a sign of dental disease or arthritis.
7. Bad breath: Halitosis in cats have different explanations: dental disease, kidney disease, and digestive disorders.
8. Sleeping cats: if your cat sleeps more or less than he or she usually does, or if you notice a change in his or her sleeping habits, your cat may not be feeling its best.
9. Eating or chewing habits: If your cat eats more than usual, it might be a sign of diabetes or hyperthyroidism, while the contrary may point to dental problems or even cancer.
10. Meowing: If your cat starts talking to you more than usual or the reverse, anxiety, feline cognitive dysfunction, high blood pressure and hyperthyroidism can be for this change.
We encourage you to take your cats to the vet at the very least once a year, to get your feline vaccinated and to establish a relationship with your vet. Track your cat’s behavior, so that you know when something is wrong.
More information about the CATalyst Council is available at www.catalystcouncil.org.