Cats don’t like to tell us when they are sick. Paying attention to their behaviour will give you an early warning signal that something is not right and perhaps your cat needs Veterinary attention to identify and correct the problem.
Cats at Home Wellness Program for Cats
Welcome to the Cats at Home feline Veterinary Wellness Program for your cat. Please review this information to familiarize yourself with our findings and recommendations.
Cats at Home policy is to offer you a comprehensive summary and explanation relating to your cat’s health. As part of our promise to be transparent we will present you with a report on our findings after the exam; a written treatment plan, if necessary, and discussion of our recommendations. Following your understanding and approval, we will complete the tests recommended and give you copies of all of our results for your records. The results of our tests and consultation will help you to maintain your cat’s health. The following list of frequently asked questions may be helpful if you are concerned about your cat’s behaviour.
Cats at Home Frequently asked Questions:
If you observe any of the following changes in your cat’s behaviour at home, there is likely some concern about their health.
1) Change in Activity
Have you noticed that your cat’s amount of activity has changed to either a more active or less active behaviour (sedentary); are they more withdrawn and less interactive with other cats or people.
Most cats are very predictable with their routine behaviour. Daily routines can be easily observed and you should be able to predict a regular schedule of activity. As an example when you arrive home your cat may greet you at the door and begin walking around your legs as you get settled. This could be the pre-activity before feeding particularly if you routinely give them dinner shortly after your arrival. If one day you arrive home and they are not there to greet you, a question should arise as to what caused her change in behaviour. Paying closer attention to her for the next short while may give you clues about a problem that she is hiding. Veterinary advice and investigation may be needed.
2) Weight Change
Once your kitty has reached their adult age of 24 (2 of our years) their weight gain should stabilize. For the next 8-10 years (human time) they should maintain a fairly constant weight. If they continue to gain then you need to review the total daily calorie intake as you may be inadvertently causing them to become obese. If, however, when they are in their early teens (56 to 64 years in their years) you notice that they are losing weight then you should have them repeatedly weighed at the veterinary hospital to determine how much they are losing. Weight loss is a serious indicator of several diseases.
3) Change in Grooming, sleeping, or vocalization
Some cats are very fastidious and constantly groom. This behaviour is somewhat individual to the cat. If you note that there is a change either way to more or less grooming then you should be observing them for a signal. Other noted behaviour changes would be more or less sleeping and more or less vocalization. These again are unique to each cat’s personality so changes may be a signal of a health problem.
4) Inappropriate elimination
This behaviour is one of the most common issues that gets cats into trouble with their owners. When a cat chooses to either defecate or urinate outside the box there are distinct reasons that may not be evident to the owner. This is when you call upon the Veterinarian to try to analyse the problem. Most frequently, this type of behaviour is medically related but if ignored by the owner it can become behavioural.
5) Bad Breath
Some owners will refer to this as fish breath, and may just accept it as a normal situation. Unfortunately, any bad breath is not normal. Health of the oral cavity is very important to the overall health of your cat. Typically we will find plaque, gingivitis (gum infection) or broken and/or missing teeth. Cats are very capable of hiding this discomfort because of their nature, however it does impact on their overall health, particularly heart, liver and kidneys, leading to shorter lifespan.
6) Water Consumption
Checking your cat’s water bowl and refreshing it on a daily basis will help you to notice what their daily regular water consumption is. There is a large variability in drinking between cats which is dependent on their diet of wet versus dry food. This is also a good indirect way of monitoring their kidney function. Cleaning out the litterbox and noting the size of their urine clumps will give you more feedback on their water retention.
7) Signs of Stress
The most obvious and frequent sign that your cat is stressed is usually manifested with excessive grooming or overeating. There can be many factors that initiate stressful behaviour, mostly beginning with a medical issue such as a bladder infection, and sometimes with a behavioural/environmental trigger such as a new cat in the neighbourhood.
Summary of Observable Changes
Change in Activity
Weight Change up or down
Change in interaction with people or other pets
Change in grooming, sleeping habits, vocalization
Change in food or water consumption
Signs of stress
Check out www.petfoodnutrition.com for helpful information.