In order to conceal their vulnerability from potential predators, animals living in the wild rarely exhibit symptoms when they are sick or in pain. Like their cousins, our domesticated cats tend to mask their pain until it becomes serious. Hence, it is very important to get your cat an annual wellness exam to give your vet a baseline for preventing disease and detecting changes in general health. Ultimately you are responsible for monitoring your cat’s health and noting any changes you may observe.

Here are a few tips to help you spot trouble immediately, while it’s still treatable.

Changes in appetite can be a clue that something is wrong. Like the rest of us, a cat may not be hungry one day and demand extra food the next. But if these changes persist, a vet should be consulted, especially if your cat is losing or gaining weight. If your cat has eaten little or nothing for more than a day it should see a vet as soon as possible, since this can lead to a disorder known as hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver) which is often fatal. Vomiting, apart from an occasional hairball, is also a signal that professional advice is needed.

If you clean your cat’s litter box regularly, you’ll be familiar with what your cat normally deposits there. A vet should evaluate diarrhea and constipation, especially if accompanied by blood or mucus in the stool. Increased thirst and urination can be symptomatic of kidney disease or diabetes. Inability to urinate, a relatively common condition in cats, especially males, is life threatening. Changes in litter box habits, such as suddenly starting to eliminate outside the litter box, may also be a sign of illness.

Look for changes in your cat’s appearance. A healthy cat will have clear eyes, clean ears and nose, and pink gums. Bad breath or drooling can be an indication of dental disease or kidney problems. Fur should be well groomed. If your cat is over-grooming, it may indicate skin problems, allergies or stress and too little grooming may mean it is feeling too sick to take proper care of its fur.

Finally, pay attention to your cat’s behavior. The cat should be normally active and moving without apparent discomfort. Sleep patterns should be consistent from day to day. Breathing should be regular and quiet, and the cat shouldn’t cough or pant. Cats that show atypical behavior, such as seeking solitude, showing unusual aggression, howling, or demanding extra attention, may be trying to tell you something is wrong.

You know your cat better than anyone else. If your instincts tell you that something is not right, it’s worth consulting your vet.

Our Cats of the Week are Gracie and Murphy, another bonded pair. They are sweet domestic short hair cats who are both 8½ years young and are as friendly and gentle as can be. Gracie has a brown tabby coat accented with dark brown tiger stripes and spots and big green eyes that implore you to love her. She is a lovely lady who takes a little while to warm up, but then she is affectionate and merrily purrs away. Murphy has a gleaming black coat accented by pale yellow eyes. He is a big, handsome, lovable and goofy boy who absolutely adores all the attention he can get. This guy also purrs up a storm at the slightest provocation. They both came to PFC when their previous owner had to move and could not take them along. Since Gracie and Murphy are bonded and have lived together since they were kittens, we are looking for a home that will adopt both of them. So, if you are seeking a pair of friendly, affectionate cats, come in and meet these two sweethearts.

Several new cats came in since our spectacular adoption day two weeks ago when we adopted four kittens and six cats. There are two new bonded pairs that will just melt your heart. Agatha and Lulu are a sweet and affectionate pair. Lulu, a female tortie who so far hasn’t exhibited any tortitude and Agatha, a perky calico who immediately comes to the front of the cage to greet and welcome you. Both girls are 2 years old and have tails in the shape of question marks. The other new bonded pair is Greter and Gingi, an approximately 6-year-old brother and sister team who were adopted together as kittens and were recently abandoned. Greter is a calm and sweet domestic short hair female calico who loves to cuddle and Gingi is a domestic short hair orange and white male kitty who likes to play with his sister and to sit on laps. Both pairs would love to be adopted to “furever homes”. Also new to the shelter is Mittens, a tall 6- to 7-year-old black-and-white tuxedo kitty who is calm and affectionate and has quickly won the hearts of the volunteers.

Still with us is the bonded pair of Oreo and Mittens, adorable 6-year-old tuxedo domestic shorthair females. Oreo has a gleaming black coat accented with tuxedo marking of white on her bib, tummy and muzzle and a cute pink nose. She is a sweet kitty who loves to cuddle and is quite vocal in letting you know she wants attention. Mittens sports a shiny black coat highlighted by the classic tuxedo markings of white bib, tummy and paws, with a cute little swirl of white by her nose. She is reported to be quite the love bug, playful, and a total purring machine.

Fiona is a 6-year-old tuxedo female with a short shiny black coat accented by white on her face, bib, chest, belly and paws. Fiona loves everyone she meets. She has an irritable tummy which is kept in check with daily medication she seems to enjoy taking! We are looking for a special person who is willing to offer this little princess a “fur-ever” home of her own.

Addie and Lola were admitted on Saturday and we will post more information about them as soon as they are seen by the vet and cleared for adoption. Watch our Facebook page for information about kittens coming into the shelter ready for adoption.

The PFC shelter is located at 44 Beagle Lane, Teaticket. Our mailing address is PO Box 422, West Falmouth, MA 02574.

The shelter is open for adoptions and visitors Wednesday from 4 to 6 PM and Saturday from 10 AM to 1 PM. If you need to get in touch with us when we are closed, call our hotline at 508-540-5654. We have added a new option to our hotline mailbox to make surrendering a cat or kitten more efficient. Press #0 if you have cat related issues, questions, are interested in volunteering or for additional information about People for Cats. Press #2 if you need financial assistance for veterinary care or spay/neuter assistance. Press #3 if you have a cat or kitten to surrender and be sure to leave your name, telephone number and a brief description of the cat. All calls are returned as quickly as possible.

Check us out on our website at www.peopleforcats.org, look for our available cats on Petfinder and like us on our Facebook page.

All for the love of cats…

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