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Is your kitty ill?

Let’s make it clear right at the beginning: diseases need to be recognized first. Most cats suffer silently without their guardians perceiving that something is wrong. Get to know your cat(s) as closely as you can and pay attention to changes in their behaviour.

The Health Booklet

Keep a little diary in which you can note anything unusual you may notice with the date next to your observation. This practice makes understanding the chronology of events easier and enables the reproduction of a context subsequently. We keep hearing guardians claiming: “oh sure, I saw something there, there must have been something a ‘X’ days or ‘Y’ weeks ago.” If you have your notes at hand they will provide certainty. Such records will make it easier for a therapist to set up a comprehensive anamnesis.

Check your cat’s coat

Also check your cat’s coat regularly. Cuddle and snuggle times are the most suitable to complete such tasks. Check for lumps on the skin, areas sensitive to touch or pressure, parasite infestation and superficial injuries. It’s easy to examine the ears, eyes, mouth and feet at times like this.

Urinating outside the litter box

Urinating outside the litter box can indicate a disease. First, a pH-test of fresh urine should be made, which in itself often leads to discoveries. Urine pH-test strips are available at every pharmacy with an indicator stripe for pH values ranging from 5.6 to 8.0. The measured pH value of the cat’s urine should be between 6.2 and 6.8. Always take more than one measurement, because the pH value varies. One-time minor deviations over or below normal values are not an issue. A pH value over 7.0 may indicate struvite crystals or struvite stones. In case of alkaline urine please do not follow the usual advice of many vets, namely a transition to acidified dry food. In our experience, as a general rule, dry food is not suitable for taking control over this problem in the long term. It is recommended to make a transition to high-quality grain-free wet food or raw food.

Regular weight check

A regular weight check goes without saying. The simplest way is to check your own weight first and then again but this time with your cat in your arms. The difference is your cat’s weight. A note in the Health Booklet allows the long-term monitoring of your cat’s weight development. Affordable pet scales are available at pet shops, which are definitely more precise.

Temperature

Fever or high temperature can be noticed first at the ears and the base of the tail. These superficial checks do not replace the proper measurement of body temperature, but do serve as a reference. Temperature can be measured rectally with a digital thermometer. Please note that the normal body temperature for cats is higher than for people: it is between 37.5 and 39°C.

Diarrhoea 

Diarrhoea and diseases of the digestive tract are especially bad for the animals affected. They leach out the body and quickly lead to dehydration and fatigue. Long-term diarrhoea can be a life threatening condition. We have made good experiences with the addition of carrot granules (which can be substituted with mashed potato powder). A teaspoonful of it mixed under the food can work small miracles.

Diarrhoea easily occurs during food transitions or even at higher temperatures. Avoid quickly administering antibiotics and try other therapies first. If the diarrhoea lasts longer than three days despite the administration of carrot granules, consult your vet.

 Adding carrot granules or mashed potato powder

When adding carrot granules or mashed potato powder in the food, make sure you don’t add too much. Increasing the quantity slowly or adding some water to the food will improve acceptance. Please always mix it well! 

Diabetes

Unfortunately, diabetes is an increasingly frequent issue in cats. The reason for it in most cases is malnutrition lasting for years. Once the cat is diagnosed with diabetes, most cat guardians are ill-advised and the animals receive a wrong treatment. We know from our own experience that diabetic pets receive wrong treatments extremely frequently – even by so-called specialists.

If you experience signs of diabetes (excessive drinking, increased urination), gain some information about the topic here (in German)

www.katzendiabetes.info and www.tierdiabetes-shop.de

Please note: there are many diabetes forums online with inaccurate recommendations. Both our aforementioned links are proven and as far as we can judge, you will find the best information about the topic of diabetes in cats online (in German).

Diabetes is a treatable condition rather than a death sentence, but you need to engage yourself in it. Your vet cannot and will not do it for you.

SUMMARY

In case of a disease, you need to make a decision about which form of therapy is suitable. In most cases when your kitty is ill, there may not be enough time to thoroughly deal with this question. So the best thing you can do – when your kitty is healthy – is to try and find the experts in advance you’re going to trust in the case of a disease. We don’t quite trust vets who recommend the usual (prescription) diets and gravitate to excessive vaccination or constant preventive deworming. You can check our tips on related literature here. An alternative can be a homeopath or an alternative practitioner for animals who you trust.

In our opinion, dogmatists are not very reassuring. A vet dismissing all the alternative treatments as charlatanism is just as “narrow-minded” as a homeopath demonizing all the conventional medical practitioners. It should be more important for everyone to be aware of his or her own boundaries! Nobody is all-knowing, only the demand everything to know is problematic.

In our experience, the majority of diseases in cats are caused by their diet. Lots of diseases can be avoided through feeding a high-quality diet or can be controlled again following a transition to species-appropriate food.