Cat Health is a subject close to the mind of most cat owners. We do not like to see our pets suffering and often go to a great deal of effort and expense to keep them fit and healthy. However, just like people a cat can be prone to accidents and mishaps and for that reason it is advisable to have a feline first aid kit available in the house. Just like the first aid kit we keep for general medical emergencies it does not have to be elaborate.
Most of the items found in a human first aid kit can prove useful in a cat emergency although you should be cautious using human remedies for cats as they could be harmful to your pet. Some of the items that you should consider including in a feline first aid kit are:
Olive Oil which can be useful for cleaning out your cats ears and it is also a good treatment should your cat become constipated.
Thermometer. It is best to use a rectal thermometer which should be available either from your vet or local pet store. Before using it make sure that you shake it down so that you get an accurate reading. A cat’s temperature normally should be between 38.3 and 38.9C (1201-102F) and just a little lower for kittens.
Disinfectant A mild disinfectant would be useful and your vet should be able to ad vise on a suitable one for use on your pet.
Cotton wool, guaze pads and cotton wool buds are also useful items as are a couple of suitable sized bandages.
Cats are prone to bite sand scratches and a useful addition to your first aid kit would be a tube of an antiseptic cream formulated for cats.
IN addition a pair of round ended scissors and a pair of tweezers to remove any kind of splinters would more or less complete the basic cat first aid kit. However, to avoid infecting yourself whilst treating your cat you might like to add a pair of thick gloves to the kit to avoid being scratched whilst treating your cat.
One final consideration is that if your cat becomes suddenly sick or injured you will need to get them to vetinary help as soon as possible. Therefore, you should make sure that you have a suitable carrier in which to transport your cat.
It is always hoped that you will not need your feline first aid kit but it is always better to be prepared just in case.
How can you tell when your cat is sick? It is not an easy question to answer because your pet cannot tell you when it is unwell. However, there are signs that you should be on the look out for. In addition you should regularly check out your cat for signs of scratches or abscesses. This can be done whilst you are playing or stroking your cat.
One of the surest signs that a cat is not well is if it shows significant changes in behaviour. For instance a cat that is a good eater suddenly goes off its food. There are several reasons for this and the first thing you should do is examine your cat’s teeth. It might be that it has a piece of bone has lodged in the teeth or a tartar build up on the teeth that is causing toothache. Another reason your cat may be off its food is if it get a blocked nose and loses its power of smell. Cats are reluctant to eat if they cannot smell their food and this could be a sign of cat flu.
Cats like some humans like to be alone when they are not well and if your cat suddenly starts hiding away this should be a warning for you to check it out. You should give your cat a physical check for signs of injuries and look at the eyes and ears for signs of other problems.
Cats that go out doors can often get involved in fights and sustain scratches which can either turn septic of develop into abscesses. These can be extremely painful and although hidden by fur can be detected by gentle stroking. These will need some vetinary treatment.
Bleeding from any orifice should be treated as a serious matter and professional advice sought as soon as possible. Equally so vomiting should also be taken as a sign that your cat is not well although you should be careful not to confuse vomiting with your cat bringing up a hairball. This is perfectly natural, especially with long haired cats.
There are two final points on this subject, the first is that if you have any doubt in your mind as to whether your cat is sick or not then take it for vet advice as soon as possible. Secondly the cost of vetinary treatment is rising all the time and it makes sense for all pet owners to insure their pets for such treatments.
Unlike humans cats cannot tell us when they are not feeling well. They may be miserable and not their usual selves but they cannot tell us exactly what the problem is. Therefore it is our responsibility as cat owners to monitor our cat’s health and do our best to keep our cat healthy and happy.
Prevention is always better than cure so the first stage to ensuring that your cat has a healthy life is to ensure that you feed your cats properly. There has never been such a wide range of specialist cat foods available. You can buy canned, packet, dry food, special foods for kittens, senior cats, food in gravy and food in jelly. Your cat will quickly show you which foods it prefers. An important point to remember is to ensure that your cat has plenty of water available to drink. This is particularly true if your pet favours dry food when it essential that the cat has plenty to drink if it is to avoid kidney problems.
Cats, even the domestic variety are natural hunters and as such still retain the natural instincts of the hunter. Therefore it is important to give your cat the opportunity run around, chase and generally take exercise. If your cat has access to a garden then this should not be too much of a problem as the cat will run around, climb trees and chase naturally. If however, yours is basically a house cat you should get some simple cat toys and equipment to both counteract the cat’s possible boredom and give it an opportunity to exercise.
The two key words for cat owners when it comes to monitoring their pets health is observation and examination. All cat owners should put some time aside each day to spend with their pet. Even older cats become quite playful if their owner spends time with them.
When you are tickling your cat you have a perfect opportunity to check their skin for cuts or abscesses. These are most common if your cat has been involved in a fight with another cat. Abscesses can be very painful for your pet and not always obvious to spot but your cat will let you know if you touch an affected area.
Lethargy or lose of hair can also be signs that all is not well with your cat. If you have any reason to think that your pet has a health problem then you should take it to your local vet because early treatment can often solve the problem before it becomes serious.
During a fight a cat’s principle weapons are its claws and teeth. These can inflict puncture wounds or bites that can easily become infected. The problem for the cat owner is that these injuries are not easy to spot in the first instance as the wounds can be hidden by the fur.
Unless you tend to inspect your cats skin on a regular basis the first sign that your cat has been bitten may be when a swelling appears. This is an abscess which can be both unpleasant and painful for your pet. The cat will often be off its food and generally feel sorry for itself. Abscesses often appear on the cats head as this can be the main target for another cat in a fight. If you suspect that your cat has an abscess as the result of a bite you should take it to your vet. It may need surgery and or antibiotic treatment.
Another concern is that a cat bite can infect your cat with other microbes such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) or Feline Aids which can be fatal.
An unneutered tom is far more likely to wander and become involved in fights than either a Queen or a neutered cat. Unless you intend to breed from your pet then the case for having neutering is over whelming.
To try and avoid the problems that come with cat bites you should regularly check your cat for signs of fight injuries. Initially you can treat scratch of bite marks with an antiseptic but keep a watch for any sign of infection. Should you have any doubts then a trip to the vets is advised. The earlier treatment is commenced the better it is for the cat.
It is also advisable to make sure that you get your cat vaccinated. There is no current vaccination for FIV but you can get a vaccination against Feline Leukaemia Virus and this should be arranged through your vet. Providing that you keep a regular check on your cat and possibly chase off any battle scared toms that come into your garden you should hopefully not have too much of a problem.
Most cats scratch themselves on occasions and it is often part of the cleaning ritual. However, if you spot your cat scratching itself on a regular basis then it needs to be investigated. This is especially true if the cat scratching concentrates on one particular area.
Continual scratching in one particular part of the body can cause skin trauma and bleeding which can then lead to infection. So it is important that you investigate the cause before it becomes serious. The first step is to inspect the area to see if there is any obvious reason for your cat scratching. Using a flea comb you should brush your cats fur to see if there is any sign of flea infestation as this can often the most common cause of cats scratching.
Some cats seem to be able to ignore the presence of fleas whilst to others they cause intense irritation. A cat can become sensitive to the saliva from a flea and develop a flea bite allergy. This can be painful and cause the cat to persistently scratch the area. You may well have to take your cat to the vet to have the skin infection treated and have your cat disinfected.
Another cause of scratching is ear infestations caused by ear mites. These tend to go well down inside the ear canal. Your vet may use an aural scope to look for the little devils. If your cat starts shaking its head a lot or scratching at its ear you should take it to the vet as soon as possible. Thee sooner treatment starts the less likely it is that the problem will become severe or recur again later.
The problem with mites and fleas is that they will easily transfer from one animal to another so if you discover that one of your cats has fleas or mites you should treat the others as well. Ear mites can transfer between cats and dogs, especially if they are in close proximity to one another.
There are a variety of treatments for the removal of fleas including treated collars, powders and sprays. One of the easiest and most effective flea treatments is called Frontline. This comes in a small plastic pipette and you just squirt the fluid onto the cats neck in a couple of places. This is a very quick and effective treatment which should be repeated on a monthly basis to keep your cat flea free.