So there are only a couple of days left in the month, but I’m so excited to be involved in the new initiative #Novempurr from Purina One in collaboration with the charity, Animal Welfare League Australia! The idea for #Novempurr is to increase awareness of cat health and wellbeing by teaching cat owners about six visible signs of health. While there is no substitute for regular veterinary check-ups, the vast majority of the time, it will be the family that will spot something wrong first. Here are key signs of what to look out for, to ensure your cat is happy and healthy:
Cats are just as prone to weight problems as the rest of us and ideally your pet shouldn’t be too skinny – or a complete Garfield! It’s always worth regularly weighing your cat so you can monitor them and a lot of veterinary practices will do this for you if you bring your cat in. What you should be able to see at home though is a nice trim waist and their ribs should not be visible. In contrast, the ribs should also be palpable with gentle pressure along the chest, to make sure they’re not too heavy either.
This can easily be seen by how your pet deals with what goes in and what comes out. Every cat should have a good appetite at feeding time. Poor appetite can be a sign of over-feeding or illness. Their stools should also be small and firm. Overly hard faeces and constipation can be a problem for cats just as much as chronic diarrhoea.
Skin, Coat and Eyes
This is the easiest one to see for yourself as happy, healthy cats, should have shiny, supple skin and hair, as well as shiny, bright eyes. If their coat is becoming dull or matted, that might be a sign something is not right.
Now, this is the hardest one to assess and if in doubt, I recommend having a veterinarian check out your pet. Healthy cats will be more resilient to different diseases, just like ourselves. Cats that need repeated veterinary check-ups, or have signs of chronic illness like skin disease or dental disease, will often benefit from better nutritional support as well as veterinary attention. Signs you can look out for yourself include hair loss, sleeping more than normal and dilated pupils – all signs of an unhappy immune system.
Unfortunately, cats are not the best at brushing their teeth, so they often need us to keep an eye on their choppers for them. A red rim at the gum line, plaque build-up and discolouration can all be a sign of poor dental health. A dry, biscuit diet can often help with this as the abrasive food also helps to periodically rub off plaque. If in doubt, be sure to check with your veterinarian though. You wouldn’t run around with a toothache and neither should our little furry friends.
Bone and Joint Health
So often I hear people make excuses that their pets are “slowing down” because of “old age”. Unfortunately, this isn’t entirely true. They are often slowing down because they have poor bone and joint health, which they are more prone to as they get older. They shouldn’t be slowing down just because they are old. Thankfully, these problems can be helped with a good diet and in more severe cases, you can consult with your veterinarian and that will help. A happy, healthy cat should be energetic, lively and mobile.
While there are many factors that can impact on your pet’s health, diet is a very important part of preventative medicine. There were many diseases we used to see regularly 30 to 40 years ago, such as neurological disease, secondary to thiamine deficiency, or bone disease, secondary to nutritional hyperparathyroidism. We virtually never see these diseases any more, thankfully, due to nutritional research that has led to premium cat foods packed with superior nutrition, such as Purina One. Feeding Purina One daily builds the six visible signs of health I mentioned – and the appealing taste ensures they enjoy every bowl.
With all this in mind, Purina One are looking to help cat owners learn more about their cat’s health – in Novempurr and all year round! They’re calling on cat owners to check-in on their cat’s health and sign up to the Purina One 21 Day Program*, which could help you see a visible difference in your cat’s health in as little as 7 days. Check out the website for more information, to sign up and get a free 150g sample of Purina One.
Before you begin the Purina One 21 Day Program, be sure to transition your cat to Purina One gradually over the course of 7 to 10 days, to avoid potential stomach upset and allow your pet’s digestive system to adjust to any new ingredients.
*Only healthy adult cats can participate in the Purina One 21 Day Program – it’s not suitable for kittens like Oliver as they’re still growing (but it doesn’t mean he didn’t want to try it!).