Naturally, pet parents want their furry friends to be happy and healthy. In between annual vet visits it’s important to give your pet an at-home checkup to ensure they’re still in tip-top shape.
Cats are particularly important to keep a close eye on. As a species, they’re known for hiding signs of being sick or in pain and often don’t show symptoms until they’re quite sick. Knowing what’s normal for your cat and being able to discern when something is off is an important skill to master.
We’ve put together a checklist for cat parents to follow for their next at-home checkup. You may be able to identify anything unusual for early treatment. Whether you have cat health insurance or not, early detection is a win for your cat’s health and a win for your peace-of-mind!
Keep an Eye Out for Changes in Behaviors
Cats are classic creatures of habit. They generally like to stick to their daily routine, so changes in their behavior may be cause for concern. Areas of major change could be in their sleeping, eating and drinking habits, litter box routine, and self-grooming.
If something seems off keep a closer eye on your feline friend and use your best judgement if you think a trip to the vet is necessary.
Weight Out of Whack
Weight is a tricky area to eyeball fully, especially if your pet is growing, there are seasonal changes, etc. We recommend purchasing an inexpensive scale meant for babies to track your pet’s weight underneath all of that fur. Major fluctuations in weight can be an indicator of a health issue.
Coat Check Your Cat
Give your cat’s coat and skin a good once-over. Their fur should be shiny and full, and their skin should be neither dry nor flaky. If you notice your cat is not self-grooming like normal, it could be a sign of a neck or back issue where they can’t reach spots they normally groom.
Know Their Nose
Make sure your cat’s schnozz is clean and moist. Just like your own nose, it shouldn’t be dry, chapped, or runny.
Ears are Important Too
Similar to our nose tips, ears should be dry and clean. Small amounts of ear wax is normal and can be cleaned with a warm, wet cotton ball. If something smells or looks off, it could be a sign of an ear infection.
Monthly Mouth Check
If your cat will let you, gently give their mouth a once-over paying close attention to the color of their gums, teeth and any strong odors. If their teeth appear to be infected, gums are bright red or if there is a strong smell, it’s worth checking with your vet. Other signs of underlining issues include trouble eating, excessive drooling and if your cat is continuously pawing at their mouth.
Pay Attention to Their Paws
In addition to regularly trimming your cat’s claws, be sure to check for torn nails, nail bed health and the condition of their paw pads. Not sure you’re the right manicurist for your cat? You can always have your vet help you.
Make Sure Your Cat is Mobile
This one’s pretty straightforward. Make sure your cat is able to move! While your feline friend may be on the lazier side, it’s important to make sure they’re getting their steps in just like you. If they’re having trouble moving or seem overly lethargic, something may be up.
Tails Can Tell All
Don’t forget this last step in your cat’s at-home health check. Give under your cat’s tail a peek to ensure there aren’t parasites, which look like small long grains of rice. Not only can parasites affect your pet, but they can also spread to other household dwellers,pets and humans alike - yikes!
We hope your pets always feel their best, however giving them an at-home health check is a great way to make sure if an issue does arise you catch and treat it early.
For your unexpected vet visits, such as when an accident or illness occurs, consider covering your pet with our Bivvy pet insurance. Cat health insurance and dog health insurance coverage can make a difference when treating your furry friend. Signing up takes a matter of minutes and approvals are instant!