It's time to get a cat for your family. To make sure your new pet has a long life, you need to make sure it's healthy when you bring it home. If you're not familiar with cats, you might not know how to identify a healthy cat. More importantly, you might not know how to identify potential health issues. Here are four areas you should look at to identify potential health problems.
When choosing a new cat, the nose is the first place you should look. A healthy cat will have a moist, clean nose. If the cat you're looking at has a dry nose, or there's a discharge coming from the nose, you might want to take a closer look. A dry nose may be a sign of dehydration, while discharge can signify a respiratory infection.
Once you've checked the nose, move on to the ears. A cat's ears should clean and smooth. The inside of the ear should be free of discharge and they should be free of odors. Look inside the ears. If you see a green or yellow discharge, place your nose up against the ear and give it a sniff. If there's a foul odor, the cat you're looking at has an ear infection that will need to be cleared up as soon as possible. If there are small red dots inside the ear, or you notice the cat scratching at its ears, it may have a problem with ear mites.
Now look inside the cat's mouth. The gums should be pink and the teeth should be white. Press a finger up against the gums and release quickly. The gums should turn white but return to pink color within a second or two. If the gums take longer than a few seconds to return to a pink color, the cat may have a circulatory problem that will require treatment.
Finally, you'll want to see how well the cat breathes. Listen for wheezing or crackling sounds while the cat is breathing. Those sounds may signal asthma or other breathing-related illnesses. In addition, you should also watch to see if the breathing is labored, or if the cat breathes with its mouth open. These are also warning signs that you'll need to have looked at.
You want the cat that you choose to be healthy. The information provided above will help you identify potential health problems with your new cat. Be sure to schedule an appointment with a vet at Rivers Animal Hospital or a similar facility as soon as you've selected a cat for your family.