Cats are a tough lot, there’s no doubt about it. I’ve read many times how they mask illness or pain and that by the time we see symptoms, it can actually be too late to get the health issue taken care of, or at the least – be quite difficult to treat the ailment.
It’s true enough. My very own kitty, Pudge, seemingly was acting his normal self. He was hungry and playful as well as a little ornery per usual. I noticed that he started to act as though he was getting fussy. He was hungry – that was obvious, but unless I put something irresistible like canned fish, he would nibble a bit and then walk off later to be looking for food and eating a bit more. I figured he was getting older and likely persnickety, but then as I thought about it, he was a kitty that always had a bit of a gum issue right from the start when I first adopted him.
Checking his gums, he had some redness, but nothing that seemed too extreme so I figured he’d have his mouth looked at when we went for his wellness checkup. I also considered that he might be acting differently because of our recent move and I know how kitties hate change.
Not long after he was hesitating at mealtime, he got very sick. I had no warning and it was severe enough that I truly thought I would lose him. I took him to the vet just a couple of days into his symptoms (sneezing and coughing) and when his Dr. looked into his mouth, he noticed a very swollen gum near his upper left canine (front fang). We started my poor little guy on antibiotics right away, but it just didn’t seem to make much difference and as I said, I thought he might die. I’m so thankful that he did finally start to improve and eventually made a full recovery.
As small of a difference as his finicky eating was from his prior behavior, it was enough that I should have heeded it and taken him to the vet right then. After his recovery and a little time to get his immune system strong again, I got him into surgery for his teeth and it was discovered that he had a large amount of decay in that front tooth and a couple of others were getting quite bad as well so he had 4 teeth extracted.
I learned just how much a cat disguises their discomfort or illness through that experience and I for one will take my kitties to be checked when something similar ever occurs again.
Very definitely get to know every little behavior of your cat(s) and if anything even subtly changes over a period of time, seriously consider to have matters checked out. It will feel so much better to either have everything a-ok, or find something in an earlier stage, than to fret over a very ill kitty.