Cats are remarkably good at hiding their feelings, especially pain, so it can be tricky therefore to pick up on when your pet isn’t well. While our pets are as liable as we are to the odd “off day”, a delay in seeking medical help for a real problem can be fatal. Therefore, here are some tips on what to look for.
#1 A visible ‘inner eyelid’. Cats have a nictitating membrane that provides extra protection for kitty eyes. Usually, it’s hidden but if your pet has an eye infection, it becomes visible. It sometimes appears with other conditions too, some of which are totally innocuous, but if you spot it, be safe and talk to your vet.
#2 Panting is a common sign of distress signalling extreme heat, stress or pain. Don’t be fooled if it comes with a purr because some studies suggest that cats try to calm themselves with ‘emergency purring’ – just like we whistle a happy tune to cheer ourselves up when we’re sad.
#3 Funny toilet habits. Changes or problems with urinating or defecating are a sure sign something is wrong, so police the litter box as part of your routine. Be aware that missing the box altogether is often a sign of unhappiness, mental illness or physical sickness.
#4 Warm spots. If your pet has a tiny cut, it may heal over the top but be infected underneath. Called an abscess, there may or may not be distinctive swelling. Spot them by petting your cat all over. Careful, though: these hurt and must be dealt with by a vet as soon as possible.
#5 Hiding. Some pets will come and tell you if they’re ill but cats are very prone to isolating themselves when they feel bad. So if your kitty becomes unsociable, and you don’t have visitors, start looking for sore spots and inspecting the litter box.
by Ellen Whyte