By: Peta Gay Railton
If your cat or dog is not doing the things it usually does as routine then most likely there is something wrong with them. But how do you decipher if something is wrong with your pet? And how do you fix the problems before they become an issue?
Most pet owners get a good idea of what their cat or dog’s regular routines are. Some cats love jumping up on a particular chair or table. Some are particularly active—others, not so much.
Sometimes we all wish our furry family members could talk so they could tell us what’s wrong, so while we wait for a feline translating device to be made (ahem! Google?), you should be reading your pet’s body language and taking them for regular vet check-ups.
A change in routine means something is wrong with your pet
If your cat or dog is not doing things it usually does as routine, then this should make you think, ‘what’s going on here?’ Cats will usually play for 10 minutes at least twice a day. Which makes it hard to spot if they seem less active than usual. But easy if they are suddenly skittish.
Dogs like to do the same things all the time, so if your dog usually accompanies you down to the stables or walks through the yard with you and doesn’t anymore, then there is a reason.
It’s not because the dog has lost interest in the activity. But it may be because they are in pain. You’ll know as soon as you’ve administered pain relief. The FIRST thing they will do is walk with you again because that is simply what they want to do, but physically couldn’t before.
What might be wrong with an inactive cat
Cats love to explore and play by jumping up and down around the house, however cats can suffer from arthritis (it gets the best of us). A cat is geriatric at the age of seven or eight. When humans turn 50, and start to move into that ‘senior’ age group, they undergo blood tests every year to monitor their health. This should be the same for your cat.
If you notice that your cat has stopped jumping—or physically can’t jump—then arthritis may be the culprit. Sometimes it’s hard to take notice of any issues as most of the time cats don’t really do much at all. A lot of the time owners only begin to realise when they’ve stopped jumping up to steal your food!
Make sure your cat is functioning at their full potential, and that you’re monitoring arthritis every year from the age of seven or eight. Wouldn’t you want to know if your cat is at the beginning stages of kidney disease so you can treat it, or would you rather wait for all the clinical signs? Or when 80 per cent of their kidneys are already damaged? Prevention is so much better than trying to shut the gate when the horse has bolted already.
The importance of regular check-ups
If you think about it, we all get regular check-ups with our GPs so we know what’s going on with our bodies. These check-ups help us locate a problem before it becomes an issue so we can monitor (and sometimes cure) it before more damage is done.
If this is important for our own health, what about our cat’s health? What about our dog’s health? We should be doing the same for our furry friends. If you want to treat things effectively, you need to catch them early. If you wait until it’s obvious, you’ve already miss the boat.