The first time you decide to take in a pet cat feels similar to taking home your first baby. You're excited, scared, happy and unduly proud of your newest addition to the family – all at the same time. And just like taking care of a newborn baby, taking care of a kitten would require an equal amount of attention and affection. When I first got our cat, with which my daughter named Miming, my daughter and I had a long talk with the veterinarian on how to take care of little Miming.
Among the first things we wanted to learn about were the illnesses that cats acquire. My daughter was quite vocal about her confusion whenever cats also get colds and stomach aches just like she does. And she continued to ask about about the food that we could not give Miming. And yes, cats also get sick.
Here is a list of the most common signs that your little kitty may not be feeling too well:
1. Refusal to eat and loss of appetite – Most cats are always eager to eat; you would often hear them purring when they hear utensils and plates clinking or when they smell food cooking. Once there are changes in your cat's pattern and environmental factors such as stress, outside home feeding, and change in surroundings are eliminated, there is a high probability that your cat is really sick.
2. Refusal to socialize, or in such bad humor – a cat has always been keen to keeping her place high on the ground. More often than not, a cat may be playful and sweet, but a cat will always be demanding. Once a cat retreats to its cot or to a quiet and dark place, without the usual playfulness and upbeat character, she is most likely suffering from an illness of some sort.
3. Unimpressive fur or "Bad Hair Day" – Cats are known to keep their furs at tip top shape. When you notice your cat having a "bad hair day" for consecutive days, and hair is erect and separated, the cat is trying to regulate its body temperature. Yes, cats can also have fevers.
4. Profuse vomiting – Hair balls tend to grow in their stomachs and vomiting is the cat's way of eliminating the foreign object from their system. When they have eaten too much, or have ate something that upsets their tummy, vomiting is the first aid that cats resort to.
5. Difficulty in urinating and constipation – Cats have urinating and defecating patterns, and once these patterns are altered, cats usually are not feeling well. Changes in the behavior including the above mentioned, suggests an illness or your cat may be suffering from stress.
Different cats exhibit different symptoms when they are sick. However, feline illnesses are usually diagnosed once or two of the above symptoms manifest.
Common illnesses of cats include ear infections and ear mites, which are marked by foul odor, inflammation of the ear cavities, itching and scratching, continuous head shaking, and swollen ear flaps; Ringworm and other skin allergies are characterized by continuous scratching and itching, head shaking, scaly and darkened skin and hair loss; and Flu and Respiratory Tract infections signaled by sneezing, nasal mucus discharge, loss of appetite and refusal to eat and excess saliva.
Cats can also have degenerative illnesses like Fatty liver disease, which stemmed from over consumption of high cholesterol food and is characterized by vomiting, seizures, reduced muscle mass and depression; and Cancer, which is characterized by severe loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, frequent urination, depression and enlarged lymph nodes.
Our cats are similar to us human beings, they also suffer from bouts of upset stomachs, colds and flus, diarrhea, skin allergies and yes, even depression. Most cats will eventually feel better after a day of full rest and proper food and water intake.
Once you feel that your cat has remained unresponsive, has refused to eat or unable to urinate and have bowel movements for more than 24 hours, it is best to bring her to a veterinary clinic away.
It is important to be observant of your cat's daily routine and be mindful of her health so that these symptoms can easily be spotted and cat illnesses easily cured.