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December 15, 2020 |0 min read

9 Signs of a Healthy Cat

Written by

Sharilyn Vera

 

There are lots of things to look for when determining whether or not your cat is happy and healthy, from their ear position to how they hold their tail to how they play. Let’s look at some of the most common signs!

Grooming and Coat Health

Happy cats regularly groom themselves and take pride in their appearance. In addition, your cat’s coat should be shiny and healthy. This means that they’re getting a good amount of nutrition and a healthy diet full of fats and proteins. If you notice that your cat’s coat looks dull, they’ve lost interest in grooming, or they are shedding more than normal, something might be up. There is also such a thing as overgrooming, which may be an indication of anxiety or stress. 

Clear Eyes

Your cat’s eyes should be crystal clear and expressive. After all, cats are known for their beautiful eyes! In addition, if your cat’s eyes suddenly become dilated, that means that they’re happy!

As a cat owner, it's important to look for and clean off any crusty buildup around the eyes to keep them nice and clean. Also, make sure your cat’s eyes aren’t cloudy or unfocused. 

While you’re examining your cat’s eyes, also look at their ears and teeth to make sure they’re nice and clean! Their ears should be free of discharge and odors and be a nice pink color, not red or irritated. Their teeth should be nice and clean and there shouldn’t be much plaque buildup. If your cat has stinky breath, this could be a sign that it’s time for a good dental cleaning. Just like humans, healthy teeth and gums is a sign of a healthy cat. 

Energy Levels

Healthy, happy cats love to play! When your feline friend ages and starts to show signs of becoming an older cat, their playing style might change, but healthy cats are still interested in jumping around, chasing their favorite toy, or just running around the house. After all, getting enough exercise is an important part of helping your kitty live a healthy life. 

In addition to maintaining energy levels, you should also monitor your cat’s weight to make sure they maintain a healthy physique. Healthy cats aren’t overweight or underweight, they’re just right for their size. You should be able to feel your cats ribs if you push gently on their side, but the ribs shouldn’t be visible and they shouldn’t be hidden under a thick layer or flub! If you’re unsure about what a healthy weight is for your cat, talk to your vet. 

Comfort Levels

A happy cat is a cat that feels comfortable enough with their surroundings to let their guard down. A few of the most common ways cats show that they trust their humans is by laying down with their bellies up for some good pets. Also, happy cats love to lounge in the sun, knead the bed, or lay with their feet tucked in in a comfortable “loaf” position. 

If your cat is shy or you just brought a new cat into your home, be patient as they open up on their own terms. Never force a cat to socialize or spend time with you, as this will put them on edge. Instead, let them come to you and feel comfortable around you on their own time. This will build the foundation for a happy, healthy relationship for years to come. 

Appetite

Of course, a healthy cat will have a healthy appetite! Cats should be fed a diet rich in protein that has little to no grains or fillers. Some cat parents feed their kitties a mix of dry food and wet food, and some just feed them wet food. Just make sure that their food is high-quality and is full of moisture, as cats get the majority of their hydration from their diet. 

Not sure what to feed your cat to keep them healthy? PrettyPlease is an example of an ultra-premium cat food that has everything your kitty needs to look and feel their best. It’s full of healthy ingredients like chicken, Omega-3 fatty acids, dynamic amino acids, and more. Feline nutrition is a key component to making sure your kitty is happy and healthy. Give them the best so they can feel their best! 

If you notice that your cat is experiencing abnormal eating patterns and just doesn’t seem right, they might be experiencing roundworms or tapeworms. Continue reading to learn about the difference between roundworms vs tapeworms to help you determine if your kitty needs to see the vet. 

Tail and Ear Positions

Did you know that cats have 32 muscles in each of their outer ears? This is why they are able to move their ears in so many different directions depending on what’s going on. From listening to birds outside to zoning in on the sound of mealtime, kitties express a lot with their ears. A happy cat usually has its ears straight up and facing forward. This alert position shows that they are attentive and focused, but not annoyed. 

In comparison, when a cat’s ears are straight back, it can mean that they are annoyed or scared. This is a defensive stance and is telling other cats and humans not to mess with the kitty!

In addition to their ears, a cat’s tail is also very expressive and can give you a good hint on how your cat is feeling. A happy cat will have their tail straight up in the air. An extra flick of the tail means that they’re really happy! A scared cat will have their tail down or puffed out if they’re getting ready to fight. You can determine many behavioral traits just from simple tail movements

Sleeping Patterns

Healthy cats sleep about 18 hours a day and can usually fall asleep anywhere at any time (hence why they call them cat naps!). In addition, most happy cats have their go-to napping spots, whether that’s at the top of the cat tower, in a little cat bed, or at the foot of your bed. 

But, there’s a difference between sleeping a lot and being lethargic. Yes, cats love a good nap but their sleeping patterns shouldn’t interfere with other necessary tasks, like eating or grooming. If you notice that your cat is sleeping more than before or they have lost interest in things that they used to enjoy, such as playtime or snack time, you may consider taking your fur baby to the veterinarian. 

Purrs and Meows

Everyone knows that happy cats love to purr, but did you know that some cats will also “talk” when they are happy and healthy? These little meows are different than the crying meows you might hear your cat express when they’re hungry. They are more like little chirps to say “I love you.”

Sometimes, happy cats will purr when they are getting pets, or sometimes they will purr just because. A good, healthy purr is the sign of a healthy cat. 

Regular Litter Box Behavior

Monitoring your cat’s litter box behavior is super important to make sure your cat is healthy. A healthy cat should poop once or twice a day and the stools should be a solid consistency and a healthy brown color. If you notice that your cat is having diarrhea or is constipated, talk to your vet. This could be a sign of an allergy, a bad reaction to food, or other serious issues such as kidney disease or liver complications. 

Your cat should also go pee 2-3 times a day, depending on their size and hydration. One of the most common signs of urinary issues, such as a urinary tract disease or a urinary blockage, is the inability to urinate, urinating outside of the litter box, or spotting blood in the urine. Remember to check on your cat's urine periodically to assure that they are comfortable doing their business. These are all important things to note and if you notice that your cat’s litter box behavior is abnormal, talk to your vet right away. If your kitty is diagnosed with a common UTI, your vet should prescribe medication to help with the recovery. Read on for more information on cat urinary tract infection recovery.


Conclusion

Healthy cats are playful, attentive, and look forward to the things in life they love, such as playtime, mealtime, or cuddling up with their humans. Some ways to spot if your cat is healthy is to monitor their appetite, energy levels, physical appearance, and comfort levels. Another thing to monitor is their bathroom breaks, as any changes in the litter box, such as the inability to urinate, could be a sign of a larger issue. As pet parents, there’s nothing more that we want than having a healthy, happy fur baby, and monitoring these signs will help ensure that all aspects of your cat’s health are taken care of. 

 

Written by

Sharilyn Vera

Sharilyn is a proud cat owner, long time storyteller and researcher. Her work spans beloved podcasts, television shows, media outlets, and independent documentaries. She likes to strike a balance between education and comedy, which you can hopefully tell when you read her articles!

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