A Healthy Cat Characteristics
All kittens and cats are given an examination and vaccinations. Every attempt is made to ensure you are getting a healthy animal. Listed below are some basic things looked for during this examination. Your cat should be seen by a veterinarian every 6 months. You may want to periodically check your cat's health yourself in between time. This can be done quickly and casually while grooming your cat.
The eyes should be bright and clear. The haws (skin at inner corner of eye) should not be swollen, covering part of the eye. There should be no lumps on the lids.
The ears should be clean in appearance, free of discharge and odor. Ear mites cause a black discharge.
The nose should be wet, clean and without discharge or sores.
Examine the mouth periodically. The gums should be pink and healthy. The roof of the mouth and the lip areas should have no sores, possibly black, white or red.
Start at the head and feel the cat's body for tumors, lumps and ticks. Ruffling your hand against the hair will disclose fleas, dandruff and dirt. Frequent grooming will help remove matted hair.
Inspect for swollen joints by running your hands down the legs. Check for hair and objects between the toes. Inspect the condition of the nails.
Examine the anus for swelling which could mean possible infection. Also check for intestinal parasites. Tapeworm segments look like rice particles. Both of these conditions require a veterinarian's care.
Handle the kitten. It should have good muscle tone, a clean coat, and bright, clear eyes. The kitten should not be sneezing or sniffling. Its eyes should be free from discharge and its ears should be clean and pink inside. There should be no bald patches or signs of dry, flaky skin. Check behind its ears and low on its back, at the base of the tail, for flea dirt (which looks like black sand).
If you have just took a new kitten home - After a period of normal caution toward strangers, the kitten should relax into a friendly, active and playful attitude. Many perfectly friendly kittens would rather play than be held; however, after becoming acquainted with you, the kitten should let you hold it for a short time.