When you have a pet, it’s important to be able to judge when you need to take them to the vet, and when you just need to give them time to recover. A trip to the vet can be stressful for the cat, and for your wallet too, and while an online consultation could be a useful step, it’s even more useful for you to know some of the ways you can spot signs of serious illness so you don’t dismiss the suffering of a cat in need of help or worry unduly about a pet with an upset stomach.
Even very domestic cats sometimes get the call to go hunting and foraging out in the wild, and what they find doesn’t always agree with them!
If you’re dealing with a cat having diarrhea or vomiting then most likely you’re dealing with a cat that’s eaten something and regretted it. The key warning signs to look out for are vomiting, diarrhea, or either with blood in, and changed behaviour: sluggishness, fever, and symptoms that continue for days.
For most cats, simply offering them a highly digestible diet, or boiled chicken and rice, little and often, then gradually reintroducing them their normal food can help them return to normal. The most important thing you can do is make sure your cat remains well hydrated, as vomiting and diarrhea both deplete the fluid levels.
It’s not hard to spot if your cat has fleas: there’s the obvious scratching and grooming, as well as the fleas and eggs themselves. If you’re not sure, try combing your cat’s fur on a white sheet or towel: the fleas, eggs and dirt will show up clearly against a pale background.
You don’t need to worry about fleas if you catch the infestation early: there are plenty of over the counter medications and spot treatments that can help to deal with them. If it goes on for a significant period of time, there’s a risk of infection – if you don’t know when your cat picked up its flea passengers, or the symptoms of itching and distress don’t seem to be going away, it’s time to make an appointment at the vet.
Injuries and Pain
If you think your cat is injured, then you should make an appointment with the vet right away – the risk of infection and more serious injury is too great for you to wait. Cats tend to try and hide their injuries, so look out for changes in behaviour: unexpected aggression, becoming quiet and withdrawn, hiding away where they’re normally sociable. All of these can signal that a cat is masking pain from an injury.