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posted: 10/14/2012 6:48 AM

Be watchful for indications your cat may be sick

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Submitted by the Buddy Foundation

Mary Hayashi will be taking several columns off while she recuperates from hip surgery -- so The Buddy Foundation is pinch-hitting for her.

Did you ever wonder why one day your cat can't show you enough attention and the next, he's hiding under the bed? Finicky, independent cat? Or is something else brewing?

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When cats are sick or in pain they often mask their symptoms by hiding and disguising their illness. So, it then becomes our responsibility as vigilant feline parents to pay close attention to any changes in their behavior.

Some red flags might be: lethargy, aggressiveness or even elimination problems (not using the litter box). You also might notice more or less ''talking" from your cat. Weight changes are usually a great indicator that something is brewing. Since you are the best judge of your kitty, trust your instincts and consult with your veterinarian.

Some of the most common ailments and afflictions that can beset our babies include:

• Lumps or swelling, persistent sores, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy or bad breath. These can all be indicators of common feline cancers.

• Panting, since it is unusual for cats to pant -- heart murmurs can often be the problem. Seek medical attention.

• Difficulty urinating, which can be a result of urinary tract infections or crystals in the urine, both of which can be treated by your vet.

• Excessive thirst and urination, weight loss, increase in appetite. These are often indications of diabetes in older cats or hyperthyroidism, both of which need immediate medical attention.

• Bad breath often means dental disease or your cat is in dire need of a cleaning.

• Trouble climbing steps and cat trees, limited grooming, or difficulty squatting in litter boxes. Osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease of the joints, can also strike cats as well as dogs and humans. Various medications can also be prescribed to minimize pain.

• As your cat matures, some changes need to be made in their care and keeping. Dietary needs should correspond with age and health issues. Food companies now sell prescription food designed specifically for a cat's medical needs. Often they are sold only through your veterinarian, so consult with the same.

Remember to keep an eye on your kitty and pay strict attention to unusual changes. After all, cats are living to a much older age and we want them to be with us a long time.

Upcoming

• Join Buddy for a Trick or Treat Delight Saturday, Oct. 27, when Wanda the Witch makes her appearance for photos. Bring your children and family in costume, including family pets. Photos are a $7.50 donation. Hot dogs, chips, soda and dessert will be available.

• On Nov. 11, Boogie on down to Bowling for Buddy. Wear a Retro '70s costume and win a prize. Bowling will take place at Arlington Lanes in Arlington Heights. Cost is $30 for adults, $35 at the door; $15 for kids younger than 12, which includes two games, shoes, pizza, salad, dessert and soda. There also will be prizes, games and raffles.

To register, visit www.thebuddyfoundation.org or call (847) 290-5806. Credit cards are accepted, or mail a check to The Buddy Foundation, 65 W. Seegers Road, Arlington Heights, 60005.

Featured felines:

• Max is an adorable orange and white 6-year-old, front paw declaw, male domestic shorthair. Max loves attention from human companions.

• Cubby is a 3-year-old dark gray tabby with beautiful copper eyes. He loves to be petted and when all is quiet you can hear him purr from across a room.

• Contact The Buddy Foundation at (847) 290-5806; visit us at 65 W. Seegers Road, Arlington Heights; or online at thebuddyfoundation.org.

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