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Several Classic Cat Health Warning Signs

Feb 26, 2008
As a cat owner, cat health problems are at the top of my list of concerns. The various illnesses your cat may face are many and varied, and your cat can't tell you how she's feeling, at least not in words. Feline illness symptoms, like that in humans, often overlap.

As a rule, your cat is at higher risk for developing a disease if she has been stressed recently. Pre-existing health problems, recent surgery, or a life change of some type can all add stress to your cat's life. Life changing events may include the addition or removal of a family member or other pet, or perhaps a change of homes.

Be aware that your cat can catch a cold or a flu, just as you can. She can also be hit with parasites, certain cancers, and diabetes or heart disease. In addition, there are any number of feline specific conditions. Some of these cat health issues will require treatment.

If your cat is not acting right it may turn out to be nothing. Even so, if you see any of these signs, call your veterinarian and get instructions on the best course of action. If things get worse, your vet will already be engaged. Below are some problems to watch out for.

General signs -- Your cat may exhibit some of the same signs that you'd expect to see in people if she has the flu, a cold, injury, or infection. General symptoms of cat illness include sneezing, coughing, lethargy, and nasal discharge. Your cat may experience excessive drooling if she has an infection or the flu, and may also have a fever.

Some more serious indications of feline illnesses are signs of pain, excessive vomiting, evidence of worms, or blood in the vomit. If your cat experiences any of the following, contact your veterinarian immediately: fainting or falling down, difficulty breathing, walking, or jumping. In addition, rapid weight gain or loss, or a bloated belly are also points of concern.

Behavioral changes -- A dramatic change in behavior or routine in your cat may be a sign of illness. Excessive scratching or licking behavior, a change in sleeping habits, or unusual aggressive tendencies may be signs that something is wrong. If your cat is normally social, but decides to hide in a room all day, that is probably a sign that something is wrong.

Eating and drinking -- Loss of appetite is very common in sick cats, as many animals will refuse to eat when they're not feeling right. Also on this list would be difficulty in chewing or eating. Failure to drink or excessive drinking are indicators as well. Dehrydation, which can be life threatening, results from failure to drink. Refusal to drink while leaning over the drinking bowl is a definite sign of a problem, and increased thirst is a symptom of a number of diseases, including diabetes.

In order to stay alert to cat health problems, you'll want to be alert to your cat's usual behavior patterns. Cats are very good at hiding some of these warning signs. Pay attention to your cat's habits including sleeping, drinking, eating, litter box usage, and levels of activity. If you see a change, keep a closer eye on your cat to see if there's a problem.

Checking your cat regularly will help you work with your veterinarian to keep on top of any cat health problems that may crop up. A good time to check your cat over from head to tail is during weekly (or more often) grooming sessions. That way you can get a feel for your cat's flexibility, and how she reacts to being touched.
About the Author
Kurt Schmitt has created a 150 plus page website for cat lovers. Once there, you'll find many articles on cat health problems , as well as cat care information, and funny cat pictures too.
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