Caring for pets can be tricky, especially cats; they are usually more independent animals to begin with, so it can be tough to be able to tell when our cats aren’t feeling well—if only they had the ability to talk! The best way to notice if our kitten isn’t feeling their best is to monitor their behavioral patterns and look for signs or symptoms of compromised health. Kittens are especially vulnerable to illnesses and diseases before vaccination, so it’s particularly important to know what signs to look for that they might not be feeling well. Here are some of the most common tell-tale signs that your kitten isn’t feeling their best and they need veterinary attention.
It can be tough to gauge if your kitten is sleeping more than usual, because kittens typically sleep a lot—it’s tough growing up! What’s most important is recognizing a change in their sleeping behaviors, or how frequently they nap. If you notice that your kitten is sleeping for a majority of the day, it might be wise to have them checked out by the doctor. While excessive sleeping alone might not indicate a health issue, it can certainly accompany other troubling symptoms, alerting the need for concern.
These two symptoms are common of digestive tract infections and parasites, which can occur when your kitten has been exposed to other dangerous forms of bacteria or parasites found in other animal’s urine or feces. It is important to keep your kitten away from other animals while they are young, but particularly before they have been vaccinated. These illnesses can lead to serious illness or death in some cases. Keep your eye out for these concerning tummy troubles—they might indicate something serious is going on.
Another common sign that your kitten isn’t doing so well health-wise is that you experience difficulty getting them to eat or drink anything. Kittens are growing creatures, and they usually have an insatiable appetite for a tiny thing. If your kitten doesn’t seem to want to eat or drink, it could point toward something temporary or more serious in terms of their health, and it could be linked to other issues like vomiting or diarrhea. In such instances, it is critical that you take your kitten to the veterinarian immediately—they can become severely dehydrated, which can lead to death if not treated right away.
Another concerning symptom for cat owners is when their furry friend is having difficulty breathing. Breathing issues can be expressed in various symptoms, including: coughing, sneezing, wheezing, or panting. In these cases, it could be that your kitten simply has allergies, or the breathing issue is a symptom of another more serious problem of lung functioning. The range of potential issues is vast, so it is helpful to have a professional opinion when you notice your kitten having breathing issues. It is also important to pay attention to their eyes and nose—if you notice any odd-colored discharge or smell, they could have a serious infection in need of treatment.
One of the first things that your veterinarian checks when you bring your kitten in for a check-up is the color and health of their gums. While most healthy kittens have light pink gums, kittens who are ill or unhealthy may have red and irritated gums or even white gums—both instances aren’t a good sign, but they point in different directions in terms of the source of the issue. Red and irritated could mean they have an infection, or white gums could mean they’re not getting the nutrients they need from their food.
At Dr. Ron’s Animal Hospital & Emergency, we focus on preventive care and pet education for our clients, especially those with developing animals like kittens. Since our animals rely on us to care for them and keep them healthy, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs when they aren’t feeling well. Serving the areas of Simi Valley, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Chatsworth, and other areas nearby Ventura County, we have a wide range of experience in pet health issues and treatment. For more information on how we can help you care for your kitten, contact us directly—it is our passion to help prepare our clients to be proactive pet owners, helping their animals thrive.