How to Thoroughly Examine Your Cat’s Head

by catfood

If you have a cat, you want it to be healthy. If you are familiar with how a healthy cat looks, feels, and even smells, it may be simpler to spot any changes that might necessitate medical attention. It is necessary to examine your healthy cat from head to toe in order to establish a baseline. It is important to understand that a “disability” such as an amputated leg, blindness, or hearing loss does not automatically translate into generalized poor health. For example, a cat with active blindness may have considerably better health than an obese cat with excellent vision.

Examine your cat’s head closely is a great place to start (and all the parts on the head).


Before beginning

Your cat should be comfortable before you begin your at-home inspection. A healthy, perceptive cat’s head will frequently appear focused. Unless there are exceptional conditions, the head will be carried high (such as when sleeping or on the hunt, for example).

What you need

There is no need for equipment, however having notes and the exam date handy can be helpful. If you do uncover something, you’ll be able to roughly pinpoint when it may have started. Fluff up the fur and check the skin for scabs, redness, fleas, etc. Determine the significance of each lump and bump on your cat’s head, as well as their health.

  • Pen; Notebook; Flashlight

Check the skin for irregularities.

The cheekbones, jaw, and neck should all be touched while moving your hands over your cat’s head. If you have any new or strange sensations or visual signals, speak with your veterinarian.

Examine your cat’s ears.

Except for the Scottish fold and the American Curl, cat ears are triangular in form. In contrast to the rest of the cat’s body, the outside ear coat is quite short and normally contains fewer hair. White cats and other cats with light-colored ears are therefore more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, a type of cancer that frequently affects the ear tips and pink noses of these cats. As soon as you see any sores, scabs, or a “crusty” appearance that don’t heal as they should, consult your veterinarian.

There should be no infections, abnormal lumps, or ear mites in the ears. Even though a cat’s ears usually have some wax, they shouldn’t smell unpleasant or have any obvious pus or discharge that could affect their ability to hear. A sound-eared cat shouldn’t paw or shake its head in their direction. Any of these signs should alert the owner that the cat requires immediate veterinary care.


Check the eyes of your cat.

Your cat needs eyes that are clear, bright, and alert to its surroundings. The pupils may be small or large depending on the amount of light passing through them, but they must all be the same size. Eye whites should be bright and free of any redness or yellowing. Even though you might spot tiny blood vessels on the white part of the eye, blood inside the eyeball can be a veterinary emergency.

Squinting or blinking with one eye could be a sign of a cat scratch or an eye injury from something foreign. These are additional indications that you should consult a veterinarian. It is a sign of conjunctivitis when the pink membrane lining the eyelid turns red; this condition can occasionally be difficult to treat. DIY home remedies have no effect on any of these illnesses. Any of them could eventually lead to serious problems and blindness if untreated.

Examine the nose on your cat.

Since a cat’s nose may be one of its most prized possessions, it is not surprising that it is more acute than a human’s. Cats rely heavily on their sense of smell to find food in the form of prey, scent out competitors (predators, dogs, or other cats), or look for a mate. Cats mark their territory, which in the wild can extend over several kilometers, using their own smell glands. Pheromones, which are chemical compounds vital for inter-individual communication, are recognized by them via their vomeronasal (Jacobson’s) organ located inside the nose.

The skin of a cat’s nose can be any color, including pink and black, or even a mix of hues. On the nose and face, you might see some lentigo simplex, which are small black dots. These are often normal, but if they increase or alter quickly, speak with your veterinarian.

The nose should not be “runny” and should be clear of mucous. Although a cat may occasionally sneeze due to allergies or dust, persistent, severe sneezing may be a sign of a nasal tumor, nasal mites, a foreign material in the nasal tube, or another potentially dangerous health issue. Is a cat actually pawing at its “nose”? Cats that are permitted outside are more likely to experience this because they may have inhaled a foxtail or a blade of grass. This needs emergency veterinarian care.


Examine your cat’s teeth today.

A healthy cat could have pink or black lips and a nose. It’s typical for cats to occasionally develop black pigment spots on their previously pink lips as they age. The gums and roof of the mouth of a healthy cat are typically a “bubblegum” pink tint. A veterinarian needs to be consulted right away if the gums are extremely pale or are dark pink to red and inflamed.

Cats are obligate carnivores, and their teeth are made to rip and shred their prey’s flesh as well as kill it. Cat teeth are another significant protective tool. A cat has 30 teeth as an adult, with 16 on top and 14 on the bottom:

  • 12 Incisors: Used for grooming and to remove meaty fragments from its prey’s bones.
  • Four canine teeth, or “fangs,” which are mostly used for protection and killing prey.
  • Used in conjunction with the molars, there are ten premolars.
  • 4 Molars: Unlike people, cats do not “grind” their food with their molars. Instead, they operate in a manner similar to an electric meat slicer’s “slice-and-dice” process.

The teeth of cats are typically white and have minimal to no tartar accumulation. They are firmly embedded in the feline’s jawbone. An examination by a veterinarian is recommended for any indications of redness in the gums surrounding the teeth or tooth loosing. Maintaining a regular dental care schedule will aid in maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Locate Every Whisker on Your Cat

Although we usually picture cats with long whiskers above their top lips on either side of their nostrils, cats also have whiskers above their eyebrows, far back on their cheeks, and shorter ones on the backs of their front legs.

The term vibrissae, or tactile hairs, refers to these exceptionally tough hairs that are at least twice as thick as a cat’s normal hair, have roots that are three times deeper, and are encircled by nerves and blood vessels. Vibrissae are a necessary tool for cats and should never be clipped. Just like human hair, they will periodically fall off, but new ones will eventually grow in.

The smallest whisper of a breeze can be felt by a cat because its whiskers are so sensitive. Their whiskers are extremely useful for determining wind direction and speed, which aids in both self-defense and locating prospective prey.

How to Avoid Issues During a Head Exam

Take a break if your cat starts to protest the exam. Although you should be thorough, there is no need to worry your cat. After giving the cat some time, continue where you left off. You can take the exam in a few hours or over a few days, but make sure you finish it and date your notes accurately.

If you suspect your pet is sick, contact your veterinarian straight away. When in doubt about your family pet’s health, always see your veterinarian. They have examined your pet, are aware of its medical history, and may be able to offer the best guidance for your pet.

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