The Healthy Cat – Eight Things You Should Check

Looking at a cat can tell you a lot about its health. But what should you look for exactly? That's a question we're diving into today! Our article is your go-to guide on how to spot signs of a healthy cat.

We'll walk you through what normal cat behavior looks like, what their posture should be, and what a healthy coat feels like. We'll also guide you on checking your cat's ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and even the rear end!

Ready to become a cat health expert? Stay with us to learn about the eight key checks for a healthy cat. Let's make sure your pet is purring with good health!

Assessing Your Cat's Health: Key Checks

Very often, merely looking at a cat will tell you quite a lot about his or her overall health. It is important to know the things one should observe when looking for a new cat.

Please remember when adopting a new cat, that even a cat with less than excellent health may be a wonderful pet once he or she gets the proper medical treatment.

Here are some things to look for when trying to assess a cat's health.


Healthy Cat Checkpoint #1: Behavior

The level of activity may vary from one cat to another. Some perfectly healthy cats are very calm and do not easily respond to external stimuli. Still, kittens are in most cases particularly active and curious -- an indifferent kitten that does not move around much might be ill and you need to consult your veterinarian at once.

Always keep an eye on the basic behavior patterns such as using the litterbox, grooming, and of course, eating and drinking. If anything strikes you as odd, consult your vet.

After keeping a cat for some time and coming to know his or her nature, you can identify with relative ease any significant change in the way the cat behaves.

If you're a first-time owner, and not sure what to expect as "normal" you are welcome to ask experienced owners in our cat forums.

Healthy Cat Checkpoint #2: Posture

Cats are the masters of balance. A healthy cat's gait is steady and fluid. A cat showing signs of losing balance could be suffering from various health problems. It doesn't have to be as dramatic as cerebellar hypoplasia.

Limping, difficulty with jumping, or any other problem related to movement, can indicate anything from nutritional deficiencies to fractures or even eye or ear problems.

Healthy Cat Checkpoint #3: Coat / Fur

The cat's coat directly reflects his or her state of health. The fur of a healthy cat is smooth and pleasant to touch and does not show bald patches, wounds, or cat fleas. A dry and coarse coat may be a sign of unbalanced nutrition.

The presence of fleas can be detected by tiny black dots, hidden down deep near the roots of the hairs. Read more about fleas, how to find them, and how to treat them in our article about cat fleas.

Their presence of fleas usually indicates worms in the cat's intestines, as well as possible skin problems that might be directly caused by flea bites.

Healthy Cat Checkpoint #4: Ears

The cat's ears should be pink and clean. If you see a waxy brownish-black secretion in the cat's ears, check for the presence of ear mites (a minuscule ear parasite common among cats).

Very often, a cat infected with ear mites will also scratch its ears and shake his or her head, and you may be able to see scabs in that area. You will not be able to see the mites themselves, as they are microscopic.

A vet needs to give the final diagnosis and will also guide you about the treatment.

Healthy Cat Checkpoint #5: Eyes

The healthy cat's eyes are shiny and clear and lack any secretion. Cats have a third, inner eyelid, which is usually wide open and not exposed.

If the third eyelid is not fully open, it can be seen covering a part of the eye. This situation can indicate a health problem since it is often a sign of physical or emotional stress.

More about cat eyes here: cat-eyes

Healthy Cat Checkpoint #6: Nose

The nose of a healthy cat should be velvety and pleasant in texture and without any discharge. The nose can be moist to varying degrees, but never very wet.

Healthy Cat Checkpoint #7: Mouth

The cat's mouth should be pink, clean, and without any bad breath. The teeth should be whole, white, and without excess tartar. It is recommended to have the cat's teeth regularly examined, and teeth problems dealt with in a timely fashion.

Other signs of possible mouth disease are drooling and an apparent grooming problem -- cats that suffer from infections in the mouth area often avoid self-grooming.

Read More on cat-dental-care.

Healthy Cat Checkpoint #8: The Rear

The cat's rear end and genitals should be clean.  Dirt in that area might indicate a problem of diarrhea. Diarrhea may be a sign of poor nutrition, worms, or even some form of the disease.

Even without diarrhea, worms can sometimes be spotted around the anus, particularly tapeworm, which often looks like small white and soft grains of rice.

Wrapping It Up: Your Cat's Health Matters

Keeping your pet cat healthy doesn't have to be a guessing game. By understanding the basics of cat health, you're already taking a significant step toward ensuring your pet's well-being. From behavioral signs to coat condition, posture, ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and even their rear end - each detail tells a story.

Your responsibility doesn't stop after bringing your cat home. Monitoring your cat's health becomes a continuous journey from that point. Any subtle change might be your pet's way of signaling that something's off. Remember, your cat relies on you to notice when things aren't quite right.

After all, a healthy cat isn't just about avoiding illness. It's about providing your pet with a quality life, full of playful moments, restful naps, and lots of purring.

Now that you're armed with the eight key health checks, you're well-prepared to give your pet the best care possible. Because a healthy cat is a happy cat, and isn't that what we all want for our pets?


Comments? Leave them using the form below. Questions? Please use the cat forums for those!

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5 comments on “The Healthy Cat – Eight Things You Should Check

wooddy tomson February 15, 2022
Afton Jackson February 22, 2021
You caught my attention when you talked about how a cat's eyes should look and how they should not have any secretions. The cat we brought in from our friend's adoption house has one eye that's constantly more closed than the other, and I feel like this is the reason why he was put up for adoption in the first place. If I can find a veterinarian in the area that can figure out why this is happening, I can nurse this cat back to its healthy state.
Anne January 19, 2012
Please post your questions on the cat health forum - thank you!
angelalice January 9, 2012
You should chat to your vet right away & get the correct advice. My Persian boy had kidney failure & lived to 15 years, but the end was not pleasant
golondrina January 9, 2012
My cat Cucumella is 9 years old and so far as I can see she is in good health. I'm told that elder cats often suffer from kidney problems. Is there a way to prevent this while they are still healthy?

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