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August 21, 2023 3 min read

Cats are masters at hiding pain, and they will do their best to hide any discomfort. When they have obvious symptoms, then they must be very sick. Paying attention to some subtle changes and preventing them in advance can get twice the result with half the effort.

Cats are creatures of habit, with a penchant for set routes, and even the slightest change could signal a potential disease brewing. For example: increased/decreased appetite, changes in drinking habits, abnormal toilet behavior, grooming, and even changes in vocalization may be a precursor to disease.

In addition to these, it is helpful to give your cat a simple home check-up every month. It mainly includes the following aspects:



Your cat's weight is a good barometer of your health -- if you know it. This metric is not very meaningful without continuous tracking. You can buy a cheap electronic hook scale. After weighing the cat in the cat bag/air box, subtract the weight of the cat bag itself to get the accurate weight figure. This method tends to be more accurate than regular scales.

Skin and coat


A normal cat's skin should not feel dry and flaky, and the coat should be shiny and thick. When there is white scale or dry skin, the possible situation is lice, vitamin B deficiency. A matted coat indicates possible internal parasitic infection or malnutrition. (Vitamin B complex, copper, zinc, omega3 fatty acid deficiencies) The matting and sparse coat of senior cats may even mean hyperthyroidism or diabetes.


Except for individual cases such as just waking up, the cat's nose should usually be moist and clean. Prolonged dryness or heavy discharge are not normal.


The ears are often neglected to check. Normal cat ears are neat and clean, with a small amount of ear oil secretion. The usual cleaning method can use cotton swabs/cotton balls with warm water + white vinegar. If you smell something up close and you see discharge, this could indicate a bacterial infection in the ear canal. If you clean up a lot of brown and red dirt, it's ear mites.


Normal cat eyes are bright and clear, and there should be no sticky secretions and a lot of eye droppings. Except occasionally during drowsiness, prolonged nictitating membrane visualization represents a cat in a state of extreme discomfort. Pupils should be the same size and responsive to light. There is a lot of mucus and eye droppings, and it turns green when illuminated by a purple light/money detector pen, which means feline herpes virus (Feline Herpes Virus) infection.



If your cat allows it, open his mouth to look at the teeth and gums. Gums are bright red, or have a strong, foul odor, and your cat has oral disease. Other behaviors that may indicate oral disease include difficulty eating, profuse drooling, fiddling, and mouth slapping.


Normal breathing is smooth and effortless. A cat's breathing rate at rest is approximately 20-30 breaths per minute. Noisy breathing bands and frequent coughing are two signs of an underlying disease. In the absence of intense exercise, rapid, strenuous, and panting occur, requiring immediate medical attention. This situation is often life-threatening.


How to detect whether a cat is dehydrated is an important part of disease care. Gently pull the skin on the neck, if it springs back immediately, it means you are not seriously dehydrated. Another way is to touch the gums, if the gums are very dry it means dehydration.


Is your cat moving normally? If you're limping or have an odd posture, it could be arthritis or an injury.

Touch detection

With a little force, he stroked the cat all over his body. If the cat has obvious discomfort, pain response in a certain area, or finds abnormal bulges and lumps, consider sending it to the doctor for examination. With your hands parallel, stroke the ribs. If you can't feel the ribs at all, it means the cat is overweight.

Richard Liu
Richard Liu

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