Eye, Ear and Skin Pet Care Checklist for CatsBy Sam Weeks | December 1, 2020
Thanks to their larger, wilder relatives, domestic cats have remarkable eyesight and hearing abilities. Whilst this may not be essential to survival in a household environment, it is still important for pet owners to monitor the health of their cat to ensure their eyes and ears remain in tip-top condition.
There are many simple eye and skin pet care checks that you can undertake at home on a regular basis without causing any distress to your cat. Should you come across signs of infection or discomfort, it is recommended that you reach out to a vet as soon as possible so that they can prescribe an effective treatment plan.
A cat’s eye is structured in much the same way as our own and includes a cornea, lens, pupil, iris and retina. Cats also have a third eyelid, which provides added protection to the cornea.
Cats have several unique vision features that enable them to see clearly in all manner of environments (including a heightened ability to see in the dark — not quite night vision, but close!). Unfortunately, their eyes are also susceptible to a range of conditions that significantly impair vision.
The most common conditions that affect a cat’s eyesight include:
- Pink eye (conjunctivitus)
- Eye inflammation (uveitis)
- Corneal inflammation (keratisis)
Follow these easy steps to check your cat’s eyes for irritation and damage:
- Check that both pupils are a normal size
- Stand with your cat next to a daylit window. Open and close the curtains and check that the pupils react normally to the changing light.
- Check your cat’s eyes for excessive watering or coloured discharge. Both of these are signs that they may have picked up an eye infection.
Cats are very sensitive to sound. They are able to hear frequencies both above and below the range detected by humans and can hear better than most dog breeds.
Conditions that affect a cat’s ears are typically caused by infection or physical damage. It can be difficult to spot symptoms but if your feline friend is spending a lot of time shaking their head or scratching at their ears, it could be a signal that something is wrong.
Follow these easy steps to check your cat’s ears for irritation and damage:
- Keep their ears clean and free of dirt. Excessive wax (particularly if it is dark in colour or gooey) could indicate an infection.
- Check the colour of the inner skin. A brighter pink than usual could signal that something is wrong.
- Be mindful of strong odours that can be another sign of infection.
Whilst your cat’s fur should ideally be soft, smooth and fluffy, skin conditions that cause redness, lumps and irritation are relatively common.
If you notice your cat licking or scratching themself more than usual, it could be a sign that they are suffering from a skin infection.
Common conditions that affect feline skin include:
- Atopy (allergies)
- Yeast infections
- Pest-related irritation (including fleas, ticks and parasites)
Diet can also play a factor in the condition of your cat’s skin. Food that is full of high quality protein, essential fatty acids and antioxidants will provide valuable nutrients to improve skin health and protect against infections.
Ear, eye and skin conditions are very common amongst cats and it is almost guaranteed that your four legged friend will suffer from an infection at some point in their life. Luckily, Vets on Call is on hand to provide convenient and professional veterinary assistance in the comfort of your own home. Download our handy app to book a house call vet or contact us today to find out more.