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Cats hide their problems

I recommend that all pets have a health check every six months.

And this is especially vital for cats.

Cats evolved as solitary hunters. In the wild they would have no pack to rely on to support

them through minor illnesses.

When a cat feels unwell, or is suffering, it has no effective way to communicate this to its

owner. They are experts at concealing how unwell they feel.

So I find that the safest way is to examine them carefully every six months. Once at vaccine

time, where I believe that the physical examination and weight check are as vital as the

actual needle. And again six months later.

Some years ago, I met Gina for the first time.

She had not been having any health checks, and had not seen a vet since she was young, but

she was a much loved member of her family.

They brought her in because she had become ever so boney. She had lost weight, and they

also realized that her coat was not nearly as shiny as it used to be. They thought her changes

were very recent.

I hoped it would be something simple and easily mended like a parasite burden, or a bad

tooth. So I was really sad when I examined her belly with my finger tips and identified a

huge abnormality.

There was only one disease that could cause what I was feeling – cancer.

Her family quickly realized that cancer takes time to develop, and that it must have been

growing for at least some weeks. They started to blame themselves for not getting her

checked sooner.

There was nothing that could be done for Gina. Her cancer was at a very advanced stage. I

guided her family to be prepared for the worst, and to focus on making her last few weeks

as comfortable as possible.

 

There’s no knowing if a timely health check would have changed the outcome for Gina and

relieved her family of their sense of guilt, but if you notice even small changes in your cat’s

health, do book them in.

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