Dr. Barron: Hi everybody, my name is Dr. Erica Barron, and this is our head technician, Ellen Carozza. We just wanted to take a minute about a great topic from one of our clients, doing daily checks on your cats.

Ellen: It’s super important when you get up in the morning, the first thing is to do that head count. Make sure all of your pets are present, nobody’s missing and nothing’s wrong with them. The most common time we get a panicking phone call is at 7:30 in the morning for something happened overnight to your pet. It’s also important to make sure that when you’re getting ready for bed at night everybody’s okay.

So if there are subtle signs of something not right, make sure you check on it, because the sooner you figure out something’s going wrong, the sooner it can be addressed and treated. What should clients be looking for if things could be possibly wrong?

Dr. Barron: Good question. So number one, if your cat’s covered in blood, just bring him in. Go to the ER. It’s an emergency. Blood’s an emergency. Cats don’t bleed like that unless there’s something wrong, so they need to be seen immediately.

You also want to check their breathing. If you’re looking at the cat and you’re think, “Huh. I’m noticing you breathing a lot,” it may be an emergency. Most of the time, you don’t really notice cats breathing. Honestly, most cats would rather be dead than be open-mouth breathing. I don’t know what it is, perhaps they find it offensive. Maybe they think tongues are gross. But if you notice your cat open-mouth breathing, or if there’s a marked abdominal component, or they’re crouched and not normal. Bring them in.

Ellen: Right. And then we’re not talking about, “I’ve been playing with this feather teaser. I’m panting because I’m overworked.” We’re talking about your cat is sitting on the couch, or on the floor, or under your bed, whatever, with this abnormal breathing.

Dr. Barron: Lastly, part of the check is just the normal things. For example, if you go and you go to refill the food and there’s no food missing, or there’s no water missing. Or you go look in the box and there’s no poop, or there’s a lot of poop.

Ellen: There’s no pee. Go to the ER!

Dr. Barron: Or there’s a lot of pee. The daily behaviors are important to monitor. My cats both sleep with me and on days they are not sleeping with me, the first things I do is go find them and check on them. For example, if your cat hasn’t eaten and you work outside of the home, you might not want to wait until you come home at 5:00 or 6:00 to check on them. You might want to go home midday and see if they started to eat. If not, perhaps they need to be seen. Fortunately, the ER’s always open. I know it can be expensive, and I know maybe they don’t have that same relationship you have with your regular veterinarian, but they’re there and ready to help.

Ellen, what are some of the things, if you are out of town and someone’s checking on your cats every day, what are some of the things you want them to make sure they’re checking?

Ellen: Even if you’re just going away for a long weekend, you need someone checking on your pets daily. A gigantic bowl of food and water does not meet most cats’ social needs and they may get bored and into trouble. Even if you have your neighbor’s kids come in and check on them, at least somebody is doing a head count and making sure everything is okay. The last thing you want to do is to come home from a long weekend to an emergency. Because it does happen, it happens a lot.

Sometimes these cats get very, very sick, even over a long weekend. Some cats won’t eat the entire weekend. Some cats eat to the point that they gorge themselves. We’ve also had some very sad things happen while people were gone. Make sure to let your pet sitter know your pet’s habits and routine. Let your veterinary clinic know who is taking care of your pets in case you can’t be reached. The last thing you want to happen is that your pet cannot be treated because the person who takes the pet is not the owner

Dr. Barron: And by law, pets are personal property. Pros and cons to that, we’re not going to go into that, but by law, they’re your property.

Ellen: So again, it’s important to do daily checks on your cats. If they’re out of sync with any of their habits, etc., that can be a red flag that something is about to happen, and you want to make sure you’re on top of it before running into a problem that could have been addressed a lot sooner.

Dr. Barron: If you have any topics you want us to cover, just let us know. Thank you so much.