Cat owners will tell you—a dog is a pet, but a cat is a roommate. Just like in humans, stress suppresses a feline immune system’s response, which can lead to serious health problems. It’s important to learn to read a cat’s body language so you can recognize the more subtle signals of distress. Cats are a lot like humans—trying to hide their problems by literally hiding themselves. A stressed cat is frequently an unhealthy cat.
A new feline-specialized facility has opened on Perkins Road. Cat Care Center of Baton Rouge provides family care for our whiskered friends, a place where cats feel at home, and their humans get answers. Dr. Lacie Lee is a small animal veterinarian who focuses solely on feline medicine, behavior, preventative life stage care, cat only boarding, and surgery. A 2002, graduate of the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Lacie dreamt of a place where cats could receive the health care they need without the usual vet visit stress often associated with dogs. She designed her Cat Care Center facility to accommodate cats’ sensitivity, especially to sights, sounds and smells—all designed to put her feline friends at ease. This dedication to felines just earned the Cat Care Center the highest awarded level of Cat Friendly Practice, gold, From the American Association of Feline Practitioners.
1. Excessive grooming. Cats love grooming themselves and keeping clean, but it’s a problem if they lick themselves bald and raw. That’s one sign of stress and an indicator it’s time to take them to the vet before the problem gets too bad.
2. More talkative than usual. Usually, meowing is completely normal, but if a cat meows persistently for no apparent reason, pay attention to the sound of the meows. If their voice sounds like they could be hurt or scared, they may be seeking your attention—it’s a good idea to have a cat veterinarian like Dr. Lacie have a cat chat to get to the root of any potential problems.
3. Abnormal scratching. Cats need to scratch to shed loose layers from their claws. It’s natural and even healthy. Cats also use their claws to release pheromones from glands located in their feet so that other cats can smell they were there. However, if the cat begins clawing in an improper location, like your couch or a table, there could be a bigger problem. It could be simply that they need a proper post to scratch, or they want more of your attention. If the improper scratching continues, check in at the Cat Care Center with Dr. Lacie.
4. Upset stomach. Coughing up the odd hairball is perfectly normal once every couple of months or so, but if a cat is throwing up several times a month, it could be a digestive issue. Also, while it’s not pleasant conversation, it’s important to describe the consistency to your feline veterinarian. For example, foamy white vomit may be a sign of renal disease.