In honor of National Adopt A Cat Month, which occurs every June, we’re offering a series of tips on how to adopt a healthy cat. While it’s also important for your veterinarian to check out your cat’s health, cat parents (or would-be cat parents) can use the following cat adoption tips and indicators to help adopt a healthy cat.
Healthy Weight: There are associated health problems that come with obese cats, as well as cats that have been malnourished. The healthiest cats will have a normal weight, i.e. no ribs showing and/or no excess poundage that makes them lethargic. Like people, excess weight can lead to blood sugar problems & diabetes, which create a whole series of health problems.
Shiny Fur Coat: An animal’s fur can provide a good visual indicator of the health of the animal. Fur that is shiny & glossy naturally is one good indicator that a cat (or another animal) is healthy. Conversely, fur that is dull or patchy can indicate a variety of health problems.
Energetic & Alert: It’s perfectly reasonable that being placed in a shelter, especially with the smells of dogs and the sound of barking, is extremely stressful for cats. But being stressed is one thing. If you find a cat lying in a heap in the corner, that listless behavior can be an indicator of more than stress or depression. A healthy cat will be alert, follow you with her eyes, and generally be watchful of the environment.
Bright, Sparkly Eyes: It’s normal for a shelter cat to be wary of strangers, and potentially weary of interactions with unfamiliar humans assessing them for adoption. But the old saying: “The eyes are the window to the soul” applies to animals as well as humans. Bright, sparkling eyes typically indicate a cat that is feeling good.
Healthy Nose: Shelter cats that are sneezing or have a runny nose may have an upper respiratory infection. There are several viruses that can cause these signs and may require some supportive therapy to help cats get over the infection.
Healthy Skin: Another way to assess whether a shelter cat is healthy is to gently scan their body for scabs, lumps, or bumps on or under the skin. Scabs can be from altercations with other cats. But lumps and bumps need to be examined by a veterinarian.
Bugs: The typical signs of a bug infestation from fleas, ticks, or other “crawlies” are missing fur or areas where the skin is discolored and black. If you find this, it may indicate that medication or medicated baths are needed to get them free and clear of bugs.
Limping: Cats are easily some of the most graceful animals. If you see a cat limping, get it checked out. Limping could indicate a minor soft-tissue injury. It also could be a precursor to orthopedic issues that require medications and/or surgery.
Red Ears: Check the inside of the cat’s ears and look for signs of redness, or irritation.
Squalling: Some cats are “talkers.” They yowl, meow & vocalize because it’s their nature. But when a cat is excessively vocalizing, it can be a sign that a cat’s in distress or in pain.
Cat Adoption Tips: Use Your Eyes, Ears & Heart to Find the Right Shelter Cat
We’ve talked about the visual & auditory indicators of a healthy cat for cat adoption tips. One other way to determine if a shelter cat is healthy is to bring it to a veterinarian for an exam.
In addition, many potential cat parents want a healthy cat. Other potential cat parents want to adopt special needs cats, or cats with whom they bond. There’s no substitute for having a heart connection to an animal, and that should also help you choose the right shelter cat to adopt.
Are you thinking about adopting a cat? Use your eyes & ears and deploy our cat adoption tips to adopt a healthy cat. Or contact Sky Canyon Veterinary Hospital at: 970.985.4911, or Email Us to schedule an exam of a cat you’d like to adopt.
Cat Parents Alert: During the month of June 2018, when you provide proof that you’ve adopted a shelter cat within the past 30 days, Sky Canyon Veterinary Hospital will provide a free cat de-worming with annual cat exam.