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Caring for your furry feline

Cats throw up distinct symptoms that can be quickly mistaken as an ordinary idiosyncracy.

I recently noticed a discoloration in the centre of my four-month old kitten's eye – it's like a cloudy circle but causes no discharge or irritation to the eye.

A. Opacity in the lens of the eye is most commonly attributed to either a cataract or sclerosis of the eye. Sclerosis only occurs in cats during old-age—in this case, your kitten is likely to have developed a cataract. However, a cataract can only be confirmed by a thorough veterinary examination, and your vet will design a treatment plan to not only cure the cataract but also address the underlying cause. Inherited conditions are the most common cause of cataracts and may be present at birth or could develop when the animal is very young. They can also be caused by injury or illness such as diabetes, in which case the treatment of the underlying condition is essential. Cataracts can be removed surgically by a veterinary ophthalmologist, who would replace the lens with a plastic or acrylic prosthetic lens to allow for more focused vision. Although usually highly successful, cataract surgery requires a lot of postoperative care. I am not sure if anyone in India can do it.
My cat's pupils are unequal in size. Is this important?
The pupil is the circular opening in the center of the eye that allows light to pass through. The pupil expands when there is little light present, and contracts when there is a greater amount of light present. Anisocoria refers to a medical condition of unequal pupil size, where one of a cat's pupils is smaller than the other. With proper detection of the disease's underlying cause, a treatment plan can be made to resolve the issue. Anisocoria may be an indication of a serious injury or disease, so a prompt medical diagnosis is essential. The most noticeable symptom is when one pupil is visibly smaller than the other, but there may also be concurrent pain—such as pain in the eye, or pain in the head. Pain may be evidenced by pawing at the head or tilting the head to one side. Confusion may also be present, which may indicate head trauma or internal pressure. There are several potential causes of altered pupil size in cats, including inflammation in the frontal region of the eye, increased pressure in the eye, diseases that are focused in the iris tissue itself, a poorly developed iris, scar tissue build up in the eye, medications, or tumours. You need to see a vet.
My cat falls asleep while standing and falls over.
A. Narcolepsy is a disorder that affects the way an animal is able to physically operate. It is symptomised by excessive daytime sleepiness, lack of energy, and brief losses of consciousness. During a narcoleptic episode, the affected cat will collapse onto its side or stomach, its muscles will slacken, and all physical movement briefly ceases. It is just as if the cat has suddenly fallen into a deep sleep. Closed eye movement continues, as with the stage of REM sleep. The episodes are typically brief and go away by themselves. During a narcoleptic episode, the affected cat will collapse onto its side or stomach, its muscles will slacken, and all physical movement briefly ceases. It is just as if the cat has suddenly fallen into a deep sleep. Closed eye movement continues, as with the stage of REM sleep. Generally, narcolepsy has not been linked to any underlying cause. Some of the suspected causes that are still being studied are disorders of the immune system, and disorders of the nerves.
(Views expressed and information provided are personal; Send your questions to manekaanimallove@gmail.com)

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