Cat sickness

How to tell if a cat is sick. These are my notes from a workshop I attended on taking care of cats.

How to know if they’re sick?
-losing weight
-bad coat/fur condition
-look for water
-does not approach for usual feeding
-unsteady gait

Common diseases:
FIV/FELV (feline immuno virus, feline leukemia virus)
-drooling, skinny, general weakness
(sharing food and water won’t transmit; won’t transmit to humans too)

FIP (feline infectious peritonitis)

check for fleas:
-comb through fur to get a sample and crush against white paper. If there’s brown/red stuff, that means there’s fleas on the cat.

ear mites: black discharge, scratch face area

cat flu
contagious. Any body fluids can infect others already.

kidney failure
gradual weight loss, really bad breath (uremic breath), less eager about food, try to drink more water, salivating, vomiting, nauseous
(look for low protein, low mineral content food)

dehydration check: when you pull the skin behind the neck, it doesn’t bounce back quickly = dehydrated.

look at gums: pale and dry gums can be kidney failure (how is it like normally vs now?)

main gist is, check for deviations from normal behaviour.

older cats don’t necessarily get skinnier as they age! The getting skinnier may be due to illness.

separate feeding so that you don’t promote diseases. (felv)

Suggested medications:
dewormer + cat flu vaccine annually, anti-parasitic stuff monthly

if there’s vaginal discharge, it’s abnormal. Cats don’t have periods.

Slowly approach and let them get used to your smell.

Need to support both front and bum. The back of the cat should face you: 1 hand below the front arms, 1 hand below/supporting the bottom legs. Face them downwards like their natural standing position. Scoop up from back legs first.

*use a towel in case you get scratched.

slowly pat and check ears and eyes (press a bit backwards from forehead)

open mouth: lay cat on side, then peel back the top part of the mouth, then the bottom part of the mouth.

use a forcep to get stuff out of throat if need be.

if you don’t have proper carrier, use a box (something stiff). or you can loan a carrier from the clinic.

have a first aid kit:
-gauze (square gauze) NOT cotton pads (so it doesn’t stick)
-saline (but not suitable for eye area)
-conforming bandage (put a light bandage around the injury)
-cotton wool, buds for around the eye, and ear infections (gentle swab in ear)
-antibiotic cream
-pill popper for cats (push the pill into the throat. pill popper: put popper into the side of the mouth and pop. Then gently close their mouth then blow at the nose so that they’ll swallow) and massage the neck
-Elizabethan collar

check for reflexes:
-eye – see if it blinks
-if tongue is out, pull it a bit to see if it retracts
-pinch paw in between claws to see if it retract claw
-if cannot, check mouth for obstruction

-face head forward and nose pointing straight
-pump chest area 5 times
-blow through the nose for 10 times for 1 min, then repeat

if around 3 times can’t, then can’t liao.

choking cat:
remove actual objects from mouth manually. can’t do the heimlich maneuver thingy.

get cat into cage:
have 2 cages if possible, then try to lure cat in: put food into the cage, or pick it up a bit with the head facing the cage so that it’ll jump into the cage.

How much should we feed the cats?
Don’t feed too much. Don’t give a lot at one go. Feed based on bodyweight.

Old cats: their health can change within 6 months, so take note.

What checks should we be doing? Like when we feed them, what should we also be looking out for?
-speed of eating, dropping food that it was eating, way of eating, rubbing around mouth area, salivation, cries when eating
-eye area: nasal discharge, eye discharge, swelling, constant scratching, biting themselves
-observe gait
-feel around: pain, cries, abnormal lumps


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