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Feline Owner's Manual and Maintenance Guide, Ch. 2

Part 1: Diagnostics; Breakdown

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The Cat Model - Its Basic Parts

The Cat Model - Its Basic Parts

Franny Syufy
Your Cat is a well-oiled machine, capable of many years of top performance, However, the time may come when you think your cat isn't operating efficiently, or worse, that one or more of its parts are damaged. When these concerns arise, there are a few things you can do to eliminate serious malfunctioning conditions, but in most cases, you will need to take the Cat to the shop, or "veterinary office," as they're commonly called, for professional diagnostic and repair.

The following list includes some of the common symptoms of minor or major malfunction of your Cat. If your Cat develops a symptom not listed here, it is better to err on the conservative side. When in doubt, call the Vet!

  • Vomiting
    If hairballs are present, try Laxatone or another over-the-counter hairball remedy. If your Cat vomits undigested food right after eating, try giving him smaller meals. If the vomiting continues, is forceful, or is more often than once or twice a week, take your cat to the veterinarian.
  • Sneezing
    As a solitary symptom, sneezing may just be allergy-related. Try using a dust-free litter in his box, and a Hepa filter on your vacuum. If sneezing is accompanied by coughing, runny nose, and/or watery eyes, take your cat to the veterinarian. He could have a URI (Upper Respiratory Infection), which is highly contagious to other cats.
  • Runny Eyes (alone)
    Persians and other short-nosed cats commonly have teary eyes, due to the configuration of their tear ducts, which can become blocked. Other cats also can get blocked tear ducts, which can be treated by your veterinarian. If this is an ongoing problem, take your Cat there. Of course, runny eyes, coupled with other symptoms (see Sneezing), warrant a trip to the Vet.
  • Limping
    Wash your hands well, then gently press your Cat's Running Gear (see diagram) and watch for signs of tenderness. Swelling or heat, accompanied with pain indicate a possible fracture or sprain, and you should take your Cat to the Vet. Examine the Tread for cuts, imbedded stickers or glass. Remove any foreign objects carefully, then clean around the edges of the wound with a moist gauze pad. Flush the wound with fresh water. Minor wounds can be treated with an antibiotic ointment, available without prescription at pharmacies and drug stores. If swelling or oozing occur, an infection is present and your Cat needs to be seen by a Vet.
  • Lethargy, Loss of Appetite
    These are not good signs, and prompt veterinary care is needed, particularly if accompanied by the presence of the "third eyelid", which is a red flag.
  • Difficulty Urinating
    This is an emergency situation, and your cat needs to be seen immediately by a veterinarian. A urine blockage can kill a cat by building up toxins in the blood.
  • Pawing at Ears, Shaking Head
    If the ears appear dirty, this is a common sign of ear mites, which can be difficult to eradicate. Best to get the Cat to the Vet.
  • Drooling
    Some cats drool when extremely happy. However, if the drooling is accompanied by pawing the mouth, or there is an ugly smell coming from the Fuel Injection System, (you guessed it), take the Cat to the Vet. The symptoms could indicate tooth decay, mouth or gum irritation, or stomach trouble.

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  • Diarrhea
    Runny stools may be the result of a momentary dietary indescretion, and that cause is more often seen in kittens. Some breeders recommend the addition of plain, canned pumpkin (not the pie mix) to add roughage to the diet and firm up the stools. However ongoing diarrhea, particularly when accompanied by vomiting, can not only be indicative of a more serious condition, but can cause dehydration, which is dangerous for your cat. Take the Cat to the Shop.
  • Constipation
    Constipation is more likely to occur with older Cats, as their digestive system slows down, and the lower bowel becomes "lazy." One or two extra-firm bowel movements might be a temporary dietary glitch, but if they continue, or you observe your Cat straining to defecate, he needs to be seen by your Veterinarian, as impactions can be very dangerous. Your vet may manually clear the fecal matter, give an enema, prescribe medication to soften the stool, or recommend baby suppositories.
Graphic is adapted from a jpeg file from ArtToday.com, used with permission

Next > Part 2: Getting your Cat to the Shop

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