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The Sick Cat

If you keep an eye on your cat's appearance and behavior, you should be able to detect health problems she's having before they progress too far - you may even be able to avoid serious problems.

Look for changes in behavior and/or appetite, a high temperature, dehydration, and shivering. If your cat becomes quiet and less lively, eats less than usual over a number of days, or generally appears under-the-weather, these are all signs that she may not be feeling well, and you should take her to the vet to be checked over.

Get to know her normal habits and appearance so you'll be alert to any change - but don't panic. If she sneezes, it doesn't necessarily mean she has cat flu - especially if she's been properly inoculated. In that case, it's more likely caused by an irritation caused by dust, for example.

Here's a list of the most common symptoms you should look for. If you think your cat is sick, take her to the veterinarian - he or she can treat her, or set your mind at ease if the illness is not as serious as you feared.

  • Ears
    Scratching, shaking the head, discharge, loss of balance, or swelling may indicate a problem.
  • Eyes
    Discharge, swelling, marked irritation, inflammation, or a film over one or both eyes may indicate a problem.
  • Nose
    Note any sneezing, nasal discharge, lethargy, or change in appearance of the nose, such as reddening.
  • Fur and skin
    Check her for swellings, bald patches, scratching, or any other alteration to the skin or fur condition.
  • Limbs and muscles
    Note any lameness, unusual body movements, or abnormal posture.
  • Mouth and teeth
    Look for over-salivation, inflammation, swelling, or any visible wounds or blisters.
  • Respiratory system
    Watch for labored breathing, coughing or sneezing.
  • Stomach and intestines
    Vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, signs of abdominal pain, abnormal stools, or blood in vomit or stools may indicate a problem.
  • Urinary tract
    Copious urination, abnormal thirst, blood in urine, incontinence, pain, urinating outside of or away from the litter box, or inability to urinate may indicate a problem.
  • Genitals
    Discharge, marked irritation, obsessive cleaning of genital area, or frequent urination may indicate a problem.

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