Caring for Your Cat: The Physical Examination

We at the Nashville Cat Clinic in Nashville, Tennessee, are committed to cats. 

With some obvious differences, it's surprising how similar cat physical exams are to human physical exams. A physician or veterinarian will come to conclusions about the patient's overall health through a combination of taking a medical history and conducting a thorough physical examination. Also, just as with their human counterparts, cats' regular check-ups are very important as preventative medicine. Found early on, many diseases can be reversed or managed.  A kitten or middle-aged cat needs a once-a-year evaluation, and senior cats should be examined twice a year. 

Caring for Your Cat: The Physical Examination

Here is what a physical examination at the Nashville Cat Clinic consists of: 

Cat Annual Physical Examination

Your veterinarian may explore the following systems in a different order, but here is a check-list:

Alertness. Is the cat alert and responsive?

Gait.  Is there stiffness or a limp?

Skin and hair. Is the coat shiny? Are there bald spots or areas of irritation? A thick, shiny coat is an indicator of good health. 

Weight. Is the cat at a good weight, underweight, or overweight? 

Vital signs. Temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, capillary refill time are all recorded. 

Eyes, ears, nose, and throat. Are there cataracts? Are there ear mites? Is the nose moist? Is the throat clear? What condition are the teeth in? 

Heart and lungs.  These are listened to with a stethoscope, searching for heart rhythm or heart valve problems, or any breathing issues. 

Lymph nodes and glands. Are any enlarged or painful? 

Abdomen. Is there swelling or tenderness? Are there any masses? 

Paws and nails. Our furry friends run barefoot, so their paws need to be examined for cuts or other injuries to the pads. Long toe nails should be neatly and safely clipped. 

Although it may sound like a lot, the entire examination should take only a few minutes.

Cat Emergency Physical Examination

Nobody likes surprises, but sometimes issues come up at times other than the annual visits to the veterinary clinic. If you are taking your cat in for an emergency, the veterinarian will probably not go through a head-to-tail examination as outlined above. At that time, the veterinarian's focus will likely be limited to the specific area of concern and any systems that may be affected by it. After the emergency is dealt with, an appointment can be set up for a more thorough examination. 

Call the Nashville Cat Clinic today at (615) 361-1844 to set up a physical examination for your cat!

We are conveniently located at 436 Bell Road in Nashville, Tennessee 37217


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Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Mishti and I had a great visit yesterday. Well, she didn't really like it but we just went in to have her nails clipped and the techs that did it were so professional and did it quickly, much to her relief. The person at the front desk was welcoming and cheerful as always. I feel really lucky to have found such an excellent vet so close to home."
    Daryl S / Nashville, TN