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sick kitty

How to Tell When Your Cat Is Sick
by Herb Weisbaum

SEATTLE -- When it comes to pet companions, cats are number one. According to the 2007-2008 national pet owners survey conducted by the Humane Society of the United States, there are about 88 million cats and 75 million dogs in this country.

Female cats outnumber male cats and the about half the households with a cat have more than one. And get this: Seattle is ranked as one of the top 10 cat-friendly cities in the country. That's according to CATalyst, a nonprofit group that works to raise the stature of cats.

Unlike dogs, when cats are sick, they're very good at hiding the signs. Here's what you should look for that may indicate your cat needs medical attention.

SLEEPS MORE: This can be associated with a wide variety of conditions, such as kidney disease, anemia and arthritis.

CHANGE IN LITTER BOX HABITS: More urine in the box can mean diabetes, thyroid or kidney disease. Less urine in the box can mean your car is urinating elsewhere and has a medical problem like cystitis.

CHANGE IN APPETITE: An increase might be a sign of an overactive thyroid, diabetes or intestinal problem. A decrease in appetite can be associated with many medical problems. In either case, take your cat to your veterinarian.

HIDING: Your cat may be sick or in pain and not want to come out. Arthritis is very common in cats and very difficult to recognize.

GROOMING: Cats are normally very clean. A decline in self-grooming can mean obesity, dental disease or some other painful condition. An increase in grooming is a sign of skin conditions.

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