Health checklist for all new cat arrivals

Is the kitten healthy? Checklist infographic by MikeB
Is the kitten healthy? Checklist infographic by MikeB

Before you do a health checklist for all new cat arrivals you should have done a checklist as to whether you are in the right place physically, emotionally and monetarily to adopt a cat. I discuss the latter issues quite extensively on another page which you can read by clicking the link below;

Should I get a cat?

If you have adopted from a shelter your cat will have been through their standard checks and vaccinations. You should therefore both be in a good place. Likewise, if you have adopted from a purebred cat breeder, your cat will have been thoroughly checked and vaccinated and you will have received all the papers you need to prove pedigree and ownership et cetera. Once again things should be in place but here's a list nonetheless for those intermediate cases where you've adopted a cat informally and in case there are problems even when buying from a breeder.

Check list

It is advisable to watch your new cat's behaviour closely especially during the first 24-hours in your home. You can watch for potential health problems. The list below is prepared by Dr. Bruce Fogle and if you answer no to any one of the questions you should schedule a visit to your veterinarian on the same day or the next day he says.

  1. Is your cat eating normally?
  2. Defecating and urinating without any difficulty and without signs of distress;
  3. No signs of diarrhoea or vomiting;
  4. Breathing easily with no discharge, noise or effort;
  5. Has nice, healthy pink gums and no unpleasant odours from the mouth;
  6. Has a healthy, shiny coat without flea dirt towards the tail or indeed without any fleas;
  7. Moves around in general such as getting up, jumping and lying down without difficulty;
  8. Alert and active?

Number 4 might refer to lower urinary tract diseases such as typically cystitis, an inflammation of the bladder caused by a bacterial infection.

Number 4 refers to URIs; very typical of rescued kittens. They almost invariably have 'colds'; viral infections of the upper respiratory tract followed by bacterial infections of the eyes (pink eye).

RELATED: Diets to Promote Feline Oral Health

Number 5 is very typical of rescued cats with bad oral health. This is a reference to gum disease. And if the gums are not pink it is indicative of anaemia.

Number 6 is almost bound to be answered in the negative if you have rescued a cat because there will be fleas at the front of the cat and flea dirt at the rear end. You probably know that flea dirt is a reference to flea faeces which is processed blood basically.

RELATED: True or false: ‘Indoor only’ pets don’t get fleas and therefore don’t need a flea preventative

Number 7 is a reference to conditions such as arthritis or if it's a kitten to a congenital problem. It might also apply to ataxia i.e. a lack of coordination. 

Number 8 is a reference to general health and whether the cat is feeling well.

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