Cinder’s Advice: Taking a Cat to A Vet, Part One

In December 2013, my husband and I adopted a one-year-old tortoiseshell cat from Hearts United for Animals. Cinder has taught us so much about cats that it seemed proper for her to have her own advice column.

QUESTION: When should you take a cat to the vet?

A few days after I got adopted, I stopped feeling so good. My owners had been spending a lot of time playing with me, which I thought was fun, and they had also been trying to get me to let them touch me. They were patting my head, rubbing my tummy, tapping my toes; and stroking my mouth. Each time I didn’t protest, they’d praise me: “Good girl!”

They’d also reward me with a yummy-smelling treat, which is when I stopped feeling so good, and this confused me. I felt as if I were being quiet and still. My owners kept smiling and sticking out treats for me take. But every time I bit into one of their treats, my mouth filled with pain.

At first, I tried to pretend that nothing was wrong. Hanging out with my owners made me happy. But then the pain got so bad, I didn’t know what to do. Was my owner mad at me and so she was punishing me? Or was something wrong with me and so I had to let her know? Except what if my new owners decided to return me to the shelter?

My owner offered me another treat. I stared at the treat. It smelled good. I glanced up at my owner. She looked happy. I sighed. Maybe this time would be different…. I bit into the treat. Ow! This time I couldn’t hold it in, and I had to yelp out loud.

Suddenly my owner was picking me up and checking me out. “What’s wrong?” she kept asking me. I jumped out of her arms and ran away to hide. I hadn’t meant to say anything out loud. But I also couldn’t keep pretending everything was okay. I was SO confused!

Yes, I’m letting you in on a secret…. Cats aren’t as cocky and stoic as we’d like you to think. We do care if you like us and we do feel pain even if we’re expert actors. Below are ten reasons you should call your vet:

  • Hiding or clinging to you more than normal
  • No longer playing or spending time with you
  • No longer climbing and jumping onto surfaces
  • Sitting hunched up in a corner
  • Purring, meowing, panting or growling excessively
  • Avoiding bright areas
  • Swatting, hissing, scratching, or biting for no reason
  • Neglecting to groom ourselves or overgrooming ourselves in one area
  • Doing our business outside the litter box
  • Turning up nose at our favorite foods

After I yowled out loud, my owner took me to the vet. What the vet discovered shocked my owners. It shocked me too!

But you’ll have to wait for my next column to find out what was wrong with me. For now, I’ll just say that I was very fortunate to have been adopted by people who loved me enough to take such diligent care of me, even though I had only been with them a few days.

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