Recognizing the Normal in Your Cat’s Routine

Cats are interesting creatures. They either enjoy the touch of their human and are extremely friendly, or they don’t like to be touched at all (especially that belly – beware the belly) and are friendly to a certain extent, if at all. They know what they like and don’t like and are not afraid to let you know.

Cats also hide illness extremely well. Sometimes when you realize something is wrong, they could be in a late stage of a disease. An important thing you can do is to recognize ‘the normal’ in your cat so that any subtle change can alert you to an underlying issue.

Here are a few quick and easy tips to know that your cat is fine every day:

  1. Appetite – Know the actual amount of food eaten by your cat in a 24-hour period. Watching your cat go to the food bowl and eat a bite or two is not sufficient. Once you know the typical amounts consumed in your household, you would be able to assess what is regular for your cat. We recommend meal feeding, as opposed to filling up the dish at random times.
  2. Drinking – Know where and from what type of container your cat likes to drink (bowl, fountain, glass on the nightstand, bathroom faucet, toilet). It is not as easy to measure exact water consumption as it is with food consumption, but you can watch for significant changes (how often are finding you are filling up the bowl? How long and how often are they begging for water from a specific source?)
  3. Urinating – Know how often and how much urine your cat produces daily. Clumping litter makes it very easy to know the number and size of the urination. Be sure to attend to the litter box(es) at least once daily. The idea is to know what normal looks like so that you will notice any change (clumps larger than usual, more clumps present, no clumps present at all?).
  4. Defecating – Know how often and how much your cat defecates every day. No matter what type of litter you are using, bowel movements should be scooped at least daily. Notice colour, shape and consistency – normal should be formed, not too hard or dry. The bowel movements should be in the litter box – if they are found outside of it, or in a completely different area, it could indicate there is an underlying issue.
  5. Temperament – It is important to know your cat’s behaviour, are they timid of strangers or loud noises? Are they friendly with everyone? Are they active and playful, or do they like to lounge in the sun? If your friendly cat suddenly starts to hide, this is a sign that needs attention.
  6. Action and Interaction – Know your cat’s typical daily activity; greeting you at the door, waking you in the morning, following you to the bathroom, playing with toys, playing with housemates, grooming, watching the outdoor activity from a window, dashing about in a brief wild romp. Any change to their usual routine warrants investigation or discussion with your veterinarian.

Tips came courtesy of the American Association of Feline Practitioners For more detailed information, visit their website.

Written by Josie Mediati, RVT