A cat is a survivor and, if injured, will often keep going regardlessly, which makes difficult to spot if something is wrong. Knowing the character of the cat, checking it regularly and understanding a little about the strengths and weaknesses of its body will help deal with a sick cat. Vigilance and care will also keep the vet’s bills down. If an emergency arises, knowing how to deal with it can save your cat’s life and increase its chances of full recovery.
The cat’s fur is a barometer of its health. It reflects the quality of its diet and general condition and should be bright and free from dandruff. The healthy cat’s eyes are bright and clear, without discharge, redness or blinking. The surrounding tissue is pale pink, rather cold and slightly moist through the cat’s tear ducts, and licking also keeps the nostrils moist.
It is often just knowing your cat and understanding how it behaves, looks and reacts normally within its usual environment that you can know if something is wrong. You’re the mirror of your cat’s health, so don’t be afraid to mention anything abnormal you’ve noticed, nop matter how small. The veterinarian can only see your cat once a year and does not know its character or normal behavior. Particular points or to take into account are changes in eating or drinking habits.
Signs Of A Sick Cat
The first sign that your cat is sick maybe a change in its normal behavior or appearance that can only be noticeable to you. If a normally friendly cat shows signs of aggression or an outgoing animal suddenly becomes withdrawn, timid and shy, look for other signs of illness. The lack of response to being called may be due to fever or temporary deafness caused by a mite infection.
A stary, ungroomed look at the coat with abnormally raised fur is a general indication of poor health.
If you still have cause for concern, check the cat’s stools, they should be firm and without extreme or pungent odor. If you have an outdoor cat, confirm it if possible and provide a litter tray so you can do this verification.
Where cats have access to dustbins, diarrhea can be caused by an upset stomach as a result of eating contaminated food, but it could be a sign of something more serious, especially if it is persistent. Constipation, which causes the cat to tense, can also be a problem, especially if there is blood in the stool.
If the third eyelid, the eye or the flickering membrane is visible, it indicates an infection or that there is a foreign body in the eye. Any signs of redness or inflammation or excessive and persistent, thick, yellow discharge are cause for concern. If either of the pupils appears dilated or does not react to bright light, this requires immediate veterinary attention.
Transparent ear wax is normal, but a dark brown waxy deposit may indicate mites that need veterinary treatment. Look for seeds, like grass seeds, too. A seed can lodge in the ear and enter the ear canal, causing the cat to shake and scratch the ear. The wall of the ear canal and the flap is extremely delicate and vulnerable to damage in fighting situations. A puncture in the pinna often results in a hematoma (a large blood blister) that could become infected if left untreated. If the ears are very hot, the ear temperature may be high, but before rushing to the vet, verify that this is not because your cat is lying in the sun or next to a radiator.
Mild vomiting is not usually a cause for concern. It may be because the cat had bolted down its food too fast, a reaction to something it has caught and eaten, the grass that has been chewed to clean its system or physiological response to eliminate hairballs. Persistent vomiting, however, especially if it contains blood, is important and is reason enough to consult with the veterinarian.
The caring and wise owner checks the pet regularly to make sure it is in optimal condition. The first signs of conditions such as mite infestation or fleas will prevent more serious problems from developing later. The check-up can be done at a time when you relax with your cat, or if it is one that needs regular grooming, as an integral part of the grooming routine.
Fur And Body
A good reason to groom your cat regularly, even if it is short-haired, is that it will quickly alert you to any lumps or signs of attack by fleas, ticks, mites, and lice. If the grooming process rakes out some grit-like dirt, check more. Comb the cat on moistened absorbent paper. If the grit leaves a red stain, these are the blood-gorged faeces of fleas. if not, the cat just rolled in the garden.
Small gray or whitish raised lumps indicate ticks. These can irritate the cat considerably since the head of the tick is buried deep in the skin, leaving only the visible body. They should be removed as soon as possible, but great care must be taken to ensure that the head is removed since, if left behind, an abscess or a sore may develop.
Ears, Nose, And Mouth
Check that the ears are clean and free of deposits of dark wax and seeds. Even minor scratches should be kept clean to avoid infections. Check for broken or discolored teeth, swollen gums, and bad breath, and make sure there are no lumps around the neck.
The claws of an indoor cat should be checked regularly in case they need clipping and prevent them from ingrowing. Also, check for soreness or wounds on the pads.
A sick cat should be confined in an area that is warm and free of draughts, quite and that can be easily cleaned and disinfected. The first 2 requirements are relatively easy to fulfill, while the third one may cause some to be carpeted, which makes disinfection difficult. If there is no separate utility room with a floor that can be easily cleaned, you should consider buying a large plastic travel carrier that comes apart so that each part can be thoroughly cleaned.
Use a disinfectant agent recommended by your veterinarian, it is very important to avoid any substance that contains coal tar, wood tar, phenol, cresols, and chloroxylenol. These agents are good for use with people, but they can be lethal to cats. If a condition is seriously infectious to other cats, you should put aside some old clothes and shoes to wear when handling the sick cat, and wash thoroughly afterward. Always dispose of any bandage or applicator used immediately. Thoroughly clean any vomit or stool without delay and disinfect the area carefully.
Caring At Home
You can help tremendously to recover your cat with care, love, and attention. Spend time talking quietly, maintaining proper physical contact without being overwhelming, and making sure its bodily needs are fulfilled. It is possible that the cat can not do anything for itself and, therefore, feeding, watering, grooming, and assistance with toilet procedures become your responsibility. While this consumes a lot of time, the bond you have already achieved with your cat will become even stronger. Veterinary nurses will help if you need to achieve the various techniques involved with grooming, feeding and grooming a sick cat.
Your veterinarian will always give you advice and instructions on how much and how often you should administer any medication that your cat needs for treatment. Medicinal preparations come in various forms, such as liquids, pills, capsules, drops, and lotions. The secret of administering any of these successfully and with the least discomfort to the animal is to have confidence in your ability to do so. However, some cats will oppose teeth and claws so that they are forced to introduce foreign objects into their mouths. If this is the case with your cat, you should ask someone to help you and, if necessary, wrap it with a towel to help immobilize it.
Liquid medications can be given with a plastic syringe obtained from your veterinarian or from most pet stores. After use, it should be thoroughly cleaned and then stored for later use in a sterilizing agent such as one of those used for baby feeding equipment.
Withdraw the amount of a dose into the syringe holding the cat’s head firmly, gently insert the syringe between the lips, side of the mouth. Push the plunger gently so that the cat receives the dose slowly and gradually, giving it time to swallow. This reduces the risk of any liquid entering the lungs, which could cause a rapid onset of pneumonia in the case of a sick cat. There are poppers for pills that look like elongated syringes if you have difficulty opening your cat’s mouth. The pill is placed in the popper and a plunger pushes the pill towards the back of the cat’s tongue. Direct the instrument toward the palate instead of pressing the tongue. Keep the cat’s mouth closed and stroke its throat until it has been swallowed.
Eye And Ear Drops
Most preparations designed to be placed in the eyes or ears are supplied with a dropper or drip nozzle. if not, you can buy chemical droppers from a chemist. Always read the instructions on how and when to apply the medication carefully before using it.
The membranes of the eyes and ears are very delicate and the most important thing is that the cat is held securely. Another pair of hands makes the job much easier.
With eye drops, one drop is usually enough. For the ear drops, hold the earflap (pinna) firmly to open the canal and place two or three drops in the ear, then gently massage. ear drops are generally oily and overdoing the drops may result in a greasy head.