Compared to dogs, cats can be a little more challenging to care for and monitor due to their tendency to be so independent. They tend to keep to themselves more than dogs, and so a change in demeanour might not be as obvious when cats begin to feel unwell.

There are many obvious signs that your cat is unwell, for example you might be able to clearly see that they are not eating, not drinking, or are not toileting as usual. In many cases, it may be so subtle that you are unsure if they are unwell or not.

Regularly checking your cat all over will give you a better idea of any subtle changes, and help you monitor their health and wellbeing.

Choose a time that your cat is relaxed and happy to be petted. While you are petting them, feel their chest and try to get an idea of what their normal breathing pattern feels like. Leave your hand on their chest to feel their heartbeat. Doing this regularly will mean that you know when their breathing changes and you should be concerned, for example if their breathing seems more laboured than usual or their heartbeat seems to be racing.

When you pet your cat around their head and under their chin, get them used to you having a look in their mouth at their gums. Check to make sure they are a healthy pink colour so that you can recognise a change to this if they are very unwell.

Weigh your cat regularly. This will give you a great indication of their health and wellbeing, and also help you to make sure their waistline is kept within a healthy range.

If you ever need to leave your cat with your local cattery, doing these regular health checks at home with them will make it much easier for the staff to be able to check your cat’s physical signs. It also makes it more likely that you cat will allow strangers to handle them, making it easier for your vet during routine health checks and more likely that staff at a cattery can handle them to show them the affection and love they deserve while you are away.

Sponsored article provided by Australian Pet Care Association (APCA).

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