The Importance of Feline Wellness

At Colony Animal Hospital, we believe that cats count, too! Cats are susceptible for certain health problems, such as kidney disease, arthritis, and dental disease. This is why it’s so important for them to be examined at least once a year by a veterinarian. We’re all familiar with the “cats have nine lives” adage, but of course, it’s not true, so it’s important to make THIS life their best life. Unfortunately, this motto has led some cat owners to believe that veterinary visits aren’t necessary for their feline companions. The truth is, cats need veterinary visits and exams just as much as their canine counterparts do, even if they spend most of their lives indoors.

Colony Animal Hospital is passionate about educating cat owners on the importance of these visits as well as health topics that are specific to felines. Does your cat struggle with being in a carrier or traveling in your vehicle? We’ve provided educational tips on this topic as well that will help make the process easier and less stressful for you both.

Feline Wellness in Newport News: Cat Rolls on Floor
Feline Wellness in Newport News: Persian Kitten

Feline Kidney Disease

The kidneys help remove waste from the blood, manage blood pressure, and make hormones and red blood cells, making them critical to a cat’s overall health. Unfortunately, though, some cats are prone to kidney failure/disease, especially senior cats (age 7 and up), which can result in a number of other health problems. Some cats inherit the risk for kidney disease while long-haired breeds, are more genetically susceptible than short-haired breeds are.

Types of Feline Kidney Disease

There are two types of kidney disease: chronic and acute. Acute kidney disease develops suddenly and can be treated successfully, if diagnosed in its early stages. Chronic kidney disease is one that has been present for an extended period of time and is, sadly, incurable. Chronic kidney disease is the type that most commonly affects middle-aged and senior cats.

Signs of Feline Kidney Disease

As a cat owner, it’s important to be aware of the signs that could indicate the presence of kidney disease. Some of these signs include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Frequent water consumption
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting

A blood test and urine test can confirm if kidney disease is present.

Feline Arthritis

Feline arthritis is characterized by pain and inflammation in the joints, usually in the elbow joint. Similar to kidney disease, arthritis is a progressive condition that tends to afflict senior cats, since their joints tend to degenerate with age. Cats that are overweight can also be at risk for arthritis, even if they’re younger. Regardless of the cause, arthritis can be quite painful for your feline friend and negatively affect their quality of life.

Symptoms of Feline Arthritis

During your cat’s wellness exam at Colony Animal Hospital, we can examine their joints to determine if there are signs of arthritis. Signs we look for include:

  • Stiffness
  • Inflammation of joints
  • Lameness
  • Lethargy

If we confirm that your cat has arthritis, we can prescribe treatment to make them more comfortable.

Feline Dental Disease

Dental disease—also known as gum disease—is characterized by inflammation of the gums, and is one of the most common diseases of felines. Just like human gum disease, cat gum disease starts with plaque buildup and progressively worsens with time. In its most advanced stage, the disease can affect the internal organs, including the kidneys.

Signs of Gum Disease

Some of the most common signs associated with gum disease include:

  • Bad breath
  • Swollen or pink gums
  • Brown tartar buildup along gum line

During your cat’s wellness exams at Colony Animal Hospital, we can examine your cat’s mouth and look for these signs. If these or other abnormalities are found, we can schedule a comprehensive dental cleaning.

Traveling with a Cat

Does your feline friend hate carriers? Have you skipped veterinary visits because of the stress that accompanies bringing your cat to the vet? This is the case for many cat owners, but there are ways to make your cat more comfortable. Consider these tips:

  • Leave food and/or toys in the carrier to make it more inviting.
  • Leave the carrier out in the open near an area where your cat is already comfortable.
  • Reward your cat every time they spend time in the carrier so they won’t associate it with a dreaded trip to the vet.