Cats are intriguing and mysterious creatures. They possess a remarkable ability to conceal their illnesses, making it challenging for pet owners to detect when something is amiss. In this blog post, we will delve into the reasons behind cats' secretive behavior, explore common feline diseases, and highlight crucial symptoms to be aware of.
Cats differ from dogs in how they handle illness due to their innate instinct to hide any signs of weakness or vulnerability. This behavior stems from their evolutionary background as solitary hunters, where displaying illness could make them an easy target for predators. Consequently, even when cats are unwell, they often feign normalcy, masking their discomfort and making it harder to identify their health issues.
Common Feline Diseases:
Although cats are good at hiding their illnesses, there are several health problems that frequently affect them. Learning about these common diseases can help you ensure your cat gets the care they need:
1. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD): This term covers various urinary system issues, like infections and bladder stones. Look for signs such as peeing often, struggling to pee, blood in the urine, and excessive grooming in that area.
2. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): Older cats are prone to CKD, which means their kidneys gradually stop working well. Early signs include drinking more water, peeing more, losing weight, and reduced appetite.
3. Hyperthyroidism: Some cats have an overactive thyroid gland, causing increased metabolism. Weight loss despite a big appetite, restlessness, excessive thirst, and more peeing are common symptoms.
4. Diabetes Mellitus: Cats can also get diabetes, just like humans. Watch for obesity, increased thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, and a big appetite.
5. Dental Disease: Dental problems are common in cats, including gum disease, tooth decay, and swollen gums. Pay attention to bad breath, reluctance to eat, drooling, and pawing at the mouth.
Recognizing Signs of Illness:
Even though cats try to hide their ailments, there are clues that attentive owners can notice. Keep an eye out for these symptoms that might indicate a health problem:
1. Changes in appetite: If your cat suddenly eats more or less than usual, it could be a sign of trouble.
2. Litter box changes: Pay attention to frequent or difficult urination, or if your cat strains in the litter box, as it could mean a urinary issue.
3. Weight changes: Significant weight loss or gain shouldn't be ignored.
4. Grooming habits: Cats groom themselves, but excessive licking, hair loss, or tangled fur might indicate discomfort or pain.
5. Behavioral changes: Unusual aggression, hiding, being less active, or seeming tired all the time may be signs of an underlying problem.
Importance of Veterinary Care
Regular check-ups with a veterinarian are crucial to keep your cat healthy and catch any issues early. Since cats are experts at hiding illness, professional expertise is essential for diagnosing and treating diseases before they become severe or life-threatening.Regular check-ups are important to keep your cat healthy and catch problems early. Cats are good at hiding illness, so it's crucial to have a professional check their health. During a check-up, your vet will carefully examine your cat from head to tail. They will listen to their heart and lungs, check their eyes, ears, and mouth, feel their abdomen, and look at their skin and coat. This helps us find any hidden issues or signs of illness that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Sometimes, the vet may suggest additional tests to learn more about your cat's health. Bloodwork can show how the organs are working and detect infections or other problems. It helps find conditions like kidney disease, liver issues, diabetes, and thyroid imbalances. Urinalysis is another important test that can find urinary tract infections, kidney problems, and other urinary disorders.
By combining physical exam findings with tests like bloodwork and urinalysis, we can better understand your cat's health. This helps us make accurate diagnoses and create treatment plans just for your cat. Finding problems early means better chances of success, less suffering for your cat, and often - less expensive and less invasive treatments.
Cats are remarkable creatures with a unique ability to hide illness, making their care more complex than dogs. As responsible pet owners, it's our duty to remain vigilant and attentive, noticing subtle changes in behavior, appetite, and grooming. Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for early detection of potential issues. Veterinarians, with their specialized knowledge, can uncover hidden illnesses that cats may try to conceal.
Contact us at Allegheny North Veterinary Hospital today to book your cat's check-up. Our experienced team is here to provide the expert care your feline companion deserves. You can call or text our office at 412-364-5511, or conveniently request an appointment online or through the Pet Health Network app. Act now and give your cat the best care possible!
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