The Two Minute Check-Up

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Very often, merely looking at a cat will tell you quite a lot about its overall health. The owner of a single cat usually spends a lot of time with their individual kitty — and the chances of them noticing a change in the general health of their cat early is quite likely.

For the breeder with multiple cats, it may more likely for a minor health problem to go unnoticed until it develops into something more serious. One of the ways to try to avoid a health problem escalating is to give each of your cats a two minute check-up at least once a month.

Here are some things to look for when trying to assess a cat's health.


The level of activity may vary from one cat to another. Most cats are playful and quite active. Some perfectly healthy cats are very laid back and do not easily respond to external stimuli.

Still, kittens are in most cases particularly active and curious. If a kitty that is normally active seems to be quieter than usual, it may be ill.

You will know best what is "usual" behavior for each individual cat. Be alert to identify even subtle changes in a cat's general behavior as it may be a signal that something is wrong.

Watch for:

  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Meowing more
  • Excessive Licking
  • Eating Less than usual
  • Drinking More
  • Withdrawing from the company of other cats
  • Going to the litter box repeatedly
  • Straining in the litter box
  • Shaking or tilting the head
  • Drooling
  • Panting or Rapid Breathing

Posture & Movement

Cats are the masters of balance. A healthy cat's gait is steady and fluid. A cat showing signs of losing balance could be suffering from various health problems. Look for:

  • Limping
  • Slow Gait
  • Tender Gait
  • Wobbling
  • Loss of Balance
  • Reluctance to Jump
  • Reluctance To Climb


The cat's coat directly reflects its state of health. The fur of a healthy cat is smooth and pleasant to touch. Signs of a problem include:

  • Thin or Bald Patches
  • Wounds
  • Fleas
  • Dryness
  • Itchy Skin Problems
  • Dandruff or Flaking
  • Fungus or Scabs
  • Excess Oil

The Ears

The cat's ears should be pink and clean. If you see a waxy brownish-black secretion in the cat's ears, check for the presence of Ear Mites. Very often, a cat infected with ear mites will also scratch its ears and shake its head. A vet needs to give the final diagnosis and will also guide you to the appropriate treatment.

The Eyes

The healthy cat's eyes are:

  • Shiny and Clear
  • Lacking any secretion.
  • Both eyes should be held open an equal amount.
  • The third, inner eyelid should not be exposed. If the third eyelid is not fully open, it can be seen covering a part of the eye. This situation can indicate a health problem, since it is often a sign of physical or emotional stress.

The Nose

The nose of a healthy cat should be:

  • Moist: While the nose can be moist to varying degrees, it should never be very wet or very dry.
  • Texture: Velvety and pleasant in texture.
  • Nasal Discharge: None

The Mouth

The cat's mouth should be:

  • Pink
  • Clean
  • No Bad Breath In Cats
  • Teeth are whole, white, and free of tartar
  • The gums are neither red nor white but a healthy pink, especially around the teeth.
  • No Drooling

The Hind End

The cat's rear end and genitals should be clean. Dirt in that area might indicate a problem with diarrhea. Diarrhea may be a sign of poor nutrition, worms or even some form of disease. Also check for dry skin around the scrotum which can be painful in stud cats.


A cat cannot speak to tell us when something hurts. It can not tell us where it hurts.

If you are able to detect a health issue at an early stage, many medical problems can be treated more easily. Postponing treatment causes suffering to the cat and often higher treatment costs.

If you perform the two minute check-up once a month or even once a week on each cat in your care, you will be more likely to catch health problems early, save veterinarian's fees and ultimately have healthier cats.

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