Merck Manual

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Judging the Physical and Social Health of a New Cat

Judging the Physical and Social Health of a New Cat

Positive Attributes

Negative Attributes

  • Active, friendly, sociable, curious

  • Timid or aggressive (hisses, spits, arches back)

  • Healthy weight

  • Thin or scrawny, with ribs or hip bones sticking out (Note: A pot belly on a thin kitten may be a sign of worms, a very common and easily treatable condition.)

  • Clean, shiny coat free of mats, sores, or fleas

  • Dirty coat stained with urine or feces; red spots or sores on the skin

  • Clean ears and eyes

  • Discharge from the eyes, excessive wax or debris in the ears

  • History of vaccination and veterinary care

  • Signs of respiratory problems (for example, a cough or runny eyes or nose)

  • History of eating a high-quality cat food

  • History of illness (such as vomiting or diarrhea) or behavior problems (such as not using the litter box)