How Do You Know If Your Cat Is Sick?
Excerpt from Think Like a Cat by Pam-Johnson Bennett
Your cat depends on you for his health and comfort. Cats don't really have nine lives, so it's up to you and your veterinarian to be responsible for his health and welfare.
Become familiar with your cat's normal routine. Notice how much water he usually drinks. This will be important information because an increase or decrease in water consumption can be a symptom of certain diseases. Are you familar with your cat's litter box habits? If so, you may be able to detect diarrhea, constipation, and potential urinary tract problems early. Become familar with his usual volume of urine or feces, as well as its color.
A regular grooming schedule gives you the opportunity to examine your cat's body so you'll be alerted to changes in the norm such as lumps, sores, external parasites, bald patches, rashes, etc. Check your cat's ears, eyes, teeth, genitals, stomach, under his tail, and even the pads of his paws on a regular basis.
Cats are experts in hiding the fact that they don't feel well. Sometimes you'll have to rely on the slightest change in his behavior. When you talk to your veterinarian, provide the following information:
- A description of the problem
- How long the cat has had the problem
- The frequency of the problem
For example, don't just say, "My cat is vomiting." The veterinarian needs to know what the vomitus consists of: Food? Liquid? What color is it? Did the vomiting start today? Last night? How often is it happening? Did the cat vomit immediately after meals? Has he thrown up five times today in the space of an hour? An accurate description by the owner provides valuable diagnostic clues to the veterinarian.
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