Cat Doctor SOS

August 12, 2012

The veterinarian examines Buddy.

Pet owners must know the danger signs that signify a cat is in trouble and unlike dogs, it isn’t always easy to decipher Fluffy’s body language.  Cats are famous for hiding any illness or injury.

Four years ago our cat, Jake, became suddenly ill on the night before Halloween.  We took him straight to our veterinarian the next morning.  Jake was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection and grew progressively worse as the day went on.  Late in the afternoon, our vet decided that Jake was in too much pain to continue and our beloved kitty was euthanized.  We learned after he died that Jake’s heart was abnormally small and probably made it impossible for him to fight off the illness.

I beat myself up for a long time, wondering what had I missed.  Did Jake show me signs that he felt ill.  No, he just managed to hide any symptoms.  Cats are experts at that kind of camouflage.  So how do you know when it is time to call in the experts?

Is your kitty eating?  How is her appetite?  Any sudden changes might signal a problem.  Is she losing weight?  It only takes 2-3 lbs. less to cause a problem for a cat.  If there’s no reason for a sudden weight loss, call the vet.  Is she vomiting?  It goes without saying that if she vomits more than 2-3 times, she needs help.  A cat will occasionally throw up trying to hack up a hairball, but repeated barfing signals distress.

Are there changes in Fluffy’s litter box behavior?  Is she having trouble urinating?  Could be a urinary tract infection.  Those are common problems with some cat breeds.  If you notice blood in the litter box, get her to the vet’s office.

Is she limping?  Have you noticed any new lumps or bumps on her body?  If so, your veterinarian should examine those issues.

Any respiratory problems should be looked at.  Runny nose, watery eyes, or coughing all suggest an upper respiratory infection.  Those are red flags.

Those are just some symptoms that could signal a need to call your veterinarian.  Various diseases could display as other unusual signs that Fluffy needs help.  Should your cat become ill after normal clinic hours, you can call the emergency vet clinic in your area.  That’s a phone number you should keep handy.  Most importantly, pay attention to your gut.  If something doesn’t seem right to you, it may require investigation.  Fluffy depends on you to make such decisions for her.

 

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