Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Top 5 Cat Symptoms and What They Mean

You know your cat and her behavior but lately, she's just not herself. Here are 5 common symptoms and what they could mean.

Top 5 Cat Symptoms and What They Mean

You know your cat and her behavior but lately, she’s just not herself. Here are 5 common symptoms and what they could mean. (iStock)
You know your cat and her behavior but lately, she’s just not herself. Here are 5 common symptoms and what they could mean. (iStock)

You know your cat and her behavior but lately, she’s just not herself. Here are 5 common symptoms and what they could mean.

She’s Stopped Eating

Dr. James R. Cook, Jr., a veterinary neurologist at Lauderdale Veterinary Specialists, warns, “Cats who suddenly stop eating will be extremely ill within 72 hours if not taken to see a vet.” Never ignore this symptom; it must be addressed right away to potentially save your cat’s life. If kitty hasn’t eaten for a full day, get her checked out by her veterinarian immediately. Whatever the reason for turning up her nose at food, Fluffy’s body will use her fat stores for energy instead, and her liver will fail from its inability to process fat. Don’t assume she’s just being picky and will eventually eat when she gets hungry enough.

She’s Eating or Drinking or Urinating More (or all 3)

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Significant overeating can be a sign of diabetes, especially when accompanied by excessive drinking and urinating, with larger-than-normal urine clumps in her litter box. Diabetes occurs when a cat's body is unable to produce adequate levels of insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. If it’s left undiagnosed, diabetes can significantly shorten the life of your cat by causing ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition. Simplified, ketoacidosis happens when the body is unable to use glucose for energy and breaks down fat to use instead. This over-acidifies the blood. These symptoms warrant an immediate trip to the vet to diagnose and treat her isues.

She’s Having Trouble Going Potty

If Kitty meows while in the litter box, has blood in her urine, and frequently licks her genitals, she may have feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). Her lower urinary tract becomes inflamed, making it painful to pass urine and causing a buildup in her system of toxins. FLUTD is caused by many factors, including neutered cats eating dry food, decreased water intake, urine retention, viruses or bacteria. The only way to determine the cause and address it is by taking your kitty to the vet and having some tests run. If you’re unsure about the extent of her issue, keep an eye on her for a couple of days before trotting her off for an exam.

She’s Not the Same

Your formerly active, playful, alert, and talkative Fluffy has become lethargic, uninterested and quiet. If your cat experiences a sudden personality change-especially if it lasts for more than a day-something is amiss. Felines are hardwired from their wild and woolly days to hide illness in order to protect them from predators waiting for a weak moment to pounce. Cook advises that a cat who suddenly turns shy is probably sick and needs to be checked out to find out what’s wrong. This is one problem that a lot of love is not likely to fix. Since there is no way of knowing on your own if the cause of her behavior change is serious or something minor, bring her to the vet sooner rather than later.

She’s Sneezing More Than Occasionally

Cats, like us, sneeze every now and then because some dust goes up their noses or the season change releases an excess of pollen. A sweetly said “bless you” and perhaps a wipe of her kitty nostrils with the tissue are all she will need. But if her sneezing has increased to a daily basis, or several times a day, she may have a cold. Cats get colds just like humans do with similar symptoms, like runny noses, watery eyes, and maybe an occasional cough. Fluffy will slink around and lay low and generally look like she feels miserable, probably because she does. Your vet can give her some medication to help her get over it a little quicker and feel better while she’s going through it. Unfortunately, chicken soup and orange juice just won’t work in kitty’s case.

Spending time getting to know your cat’s personality and regularly observing her behaviors will help you keep your kitty healthy, happy and ailment free.

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