When emailing a friend this evening I noted that while Gorgeous has a worrisome spot on his nose he is in great overall health, and I started listing the ways in which he is doing well. As I went through the mental checklist I realized I should post a basic health checklist here.
This is the stuff you should be keeping in the back of your mind at all times, just general awareness of your cat’s health, and some of it is stuff you should be prepared to be asked about if you call to make a vet appointment. And if the receptionist fails to ask, you should volunteer anything unusual on the list.
- Weight – up or down
- Coat – glossy vs dull, matted, thinning, etc
- Eyes – “look in the eye”, discharge, dilated pupils
- Nasal discharge, if any – consistency and color
- Appetite & any change in eating habits
- Drinking water – any change
- Poop – consistency, color, frequency, volume
- Urination – frequency, volume, color
- Activity level – playing, jumping, sleeping, hiding
- Normal interaction vs. withdrawal, shyness, fear or skittishness, unusual aggression or irritability
- Body movement & posture
- Grooming – less or more in general, focusing on spots, pulling hair out
- Unusual lip smacking, drooling, or foaming at the mouth
- Maintaining normal routine
Stash is an unusual case for us (as has her daughter Iris). She’s been here since she was a tiny kitten (early 2008), and made it clear that she trusted me very early on, when she had kittens before I could trap her for TNR. But, she wouldn’t let me touch her.
She has been doing the rubbing up against things, showing her butt and looking over her shoulder like she wants to be pet, for years. But she would dash off if I reached out to touch her.
I’ve managed to touch her back, and even get a little scritching in as she moved along, and to touch her head while she was eating. It just annoyed her a bit, but didn’t totally freak her out.
Then, in early November, she did the rub-by on my shins and the underside of my arms while I was crouched over the food bowls doling out the cat food. And I got to pet her a little, but not much.
Saturday night, about a month later, she did the rub-by again, and I went for it with the full ear rubbing, a little under the chin, etc. She sat still for it all. She didn’t lean into it, but she didn’t move away at all either.
Since then I’ve pet her a little when she’s eating. She’s not crazy about it, but not really offended.
I’ll keep working on it and maybe she’ll decide she likes scritchin. Maybe not. I don’t need to hold her and love on her. We’ve had a great relationship for years. But now I feel much more confident that I can grab her and take her to the vet if she needs it. And that gives me some peace of mind.