I’m in the examination room with a client and her wonderful cat, who I have not seen in three years. She loves this cat dearly but since he does not go outside, she saw no need to come see us every year. (It’s a common misconception that indoor cats are less at risk than outdoor cats for many diseases, unfortunately.)
I start by gently examining his mouth and find that he has developed severe dental disease. I mean painful, infected, tooth-rotting oral disease. If a human had a mouth like this they would have run to the dentist months ago. Now, this is not a neglectful cat guardian. However, her cat is a typical feline who would rather hide his pain and suffer in silence. We start antibiotics and pain medications and book a dental the same week. In the morning before his dental surgery, we do blood work (just like they do for us!) to make sure that he is in a fit state to go under anesthesia.
However, his blood work reveals that this cat has really high sugar in the blood. Urine tests then show us that the glucose (sugar) in the blood is so high that it has spilled over into the cat’s pee. This means that we now have a non-controlled diabetic on our hands. The really nice lady is mortified; she asks herself how could she not have seen any signs of discomfort? Again, this is not a neglectful cat guardian, but cats are incredibly subtle in showing their clinical signs—this cat may have been drinking a little more but honestly do any of us stand by the water bowl and measure how much our cat is drinking? Maybe the cat was losing a little bit of weight, but because he was overweight she thought it was a good thing. Many signs of illness and disease in cats are not easily detected unless you know what to look for.
Your cat can’t and won’t tell you or show you what’s wrong, but you can still help them. Regular, routine checkups are the best way to prevent or catch these common diseases before they escalate. Please, pick up the phone and book your feline friend’s yearly checkup today.