A healthy cat is a happy cat. They may knead your tummy but are not needy. They eat dinner with satisfaction but don’t beg. They sleep well but aren’t lazy.

Here are several other indicators to look for when seeking reassurance that your cat is healthy. Their state from head to tail, as well as disposition, will offer clues to a cat’s overall condition. A healthy cat can live a long, healthy life.

Follow these guidelines to measure your cat’s health.

Cat Checklist

  • Eyes: clear, bright and alert; no discharge or crustiness
  • Ears: clean and free of redness, mites and excessive waxy build-up
  • Skin and coat: shiny and clean, well-groomed, not flaky or matted
  • Teeth: white without plaque; breath is fresh, gums are pink (no red gum-line)
  • Body: strong, firm, flexible muscles; able to feel ribs
  • Litter habits: regular stool and urine; good litter box habits
  • Playful: active and energetic, leaps and climbs; enjoys toys, and gets enough exercise
  • Happy: mentally stimulated, curious to explore, contented, relaxed and affectionate

Time for the vet?

Since pets can’t talk, their bodies must tell us a lot about the state of their health. A change in behavior or body composition—water consumption, grooming, sneezing or breathing difficulty, hair loss, itching, lumps and vomiting—is the alert system for the need to visit the veterinarian. A professional check-up will reveal if there’s a problem and rule out any serious disorder.

Preventative cat care is key to maintaining vital health with nutritious food, playtime and grooming. Good digestion, for instance, is important. Consider switching food to help support a healthy immune system, healthy skin and coats, as well as strong teeth and bones, for your cat.