The cat’s whiskers…
Do they look clear and bright? The pupils should be an equal size and the surface of the eye smooth and shiny. Visit the vet if you see any cloudiness, dullness, irregularities or discharge, excessive blinking or redness around the edges. Runny eyes may indicate a virus.
Cats’ whiskers (vibrissae) are highly sensitive sensors that help them navigate. Never pull or cut them.
Should be velvety smooth, with no discharge. Visit the vet if you notice runny eyes and nose, which may indicate a virus or other condition affecting the upper respiratory tract.
Indications of a chest
problem include panting, gasping, breathing quickly, coughing or a noise when breathing in or out.
Mouth, teeth and breath
Teeth should be bright to off-white, gums a healthy pink colour, breath not offensive. Get to the vet for redness, bleeding and tartar on the teeth. Red or swollen gums and redness at the corners of the mouth, particularly when associated with bad breath, are an indication of oral disease. This can be very painful and cats may also suffer a reduction
in appetite or weight loss, eat on only one side of their mouth or drop food while eating.
Feet & claws
Pads should be soft and free from injury. Claws should retract fully and taper evenly from the base to a sharp tip. Visit the vet if you notice ‘thick’ claws (with no taper) or nails with discharge. Frayed claws
May indicate that a cat has been involved in a traffic accident.
Ear canals should be clean. Visit the vet if you notice any scabs or narrowing of the canal, brownish discharge or redness in the ears.
Visit the vet if your cat is slow to get up or lie down, limping or reluctant to jump on higher pieces of furniture or fences, or has difficulty using stairs.
Should be fully mobile.
The business end! Cats produce small amounts of highly concentrated urine on an infrequent basis. Increased urination volume may indicate conditions such as kidney disease or diabetes, while increased frequency or the presence of blood could suggest an infection or inflammatory condition. Faeces should be well formed so seek advice if your cat has persistent diarrhoea or if faeces are black or contain fresh blood or mucus. You should also seek veterinary advice if you cat seems to be having difficulty passing motions or finds it painful.
Skin and coat
In general it should be even, smooth and shiny with no bald patches or sore areas. Skin condition is a good general indicator of health. It shouldn’t be flaky, dry or inflamed. Visit the vet if your cat is scratching scabs on its skin. Pulling out fur may also indicate skin disease.