As a responsible cat owner, you take your cat in to your vet for routine physicals and keep their shots up to date. But those yearly physicals only catch the problems present when the cat is with the vet.
To truly monitor your cat’s physical health, a good pet owner will perform some simple checks monthly to catch problems early when they most easily treated.
Before we get into this check, just a reminder this is not a replacement for veterinary care. It is essential that your cat visit the vet yearly for a checkup and vaccinations.
This checkup is merely an adjunct to that to gather information for the vet should a problem be discovered or arise. If you notice a change from one month to the next, seek veterinary care immediately.
Your cat can’t tell you what’s wrong so you have to go with what you see, smell and hear. Look your cat over carefully and know what is normal for your cat. Cats are fanatical about their fur and this is the first place ill health will show up.
If you notice your cat is not looking as smooth or groomed as usual, this is a cause for concern. When cats are not feeling well, they will spend more time sleeping and less time grooming leading to a shaggy, unkempt appearance.
Cough, Hack, Hairball!
Also cats suffering from hairballs will let the grooming slide, not willing to add more hair to an already aching belly.
Hairballs are easily treated at home or at the vets but first the pet owner must be aware of the problem. So if Fluffy isn’t looking as fluffy as normal, it might be a cause for concern.
If your cat suffers from hairballs frequently, you might want to help him or her out with brushing. A good cat brush will help remove dead hair that can end up in the digestive tract and cause problem. Cats enjoy being brushed once they are used to it so this can be a special time for you and your pet.
After a general check of the cat overall, focus in on the ears, nose, chin and claws. Again, know what is normal for your cat so you will know if things change. Any detrimental change might indicate a trip to the vet but it’s a small price to pay for a happy healthy pet.