4 steps to take when checking your campus cats’ health

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On Tuesday, 26 September, Dr Vanessa Lin from My Family Vet, located at Bukit Batok East Avenue, came down to NTU, to teach us basic first aid as well as tips on how to care for our campus cats.

When feeding the campus cats, our feeders learnt the four basic checks they had to conduct:

  1. Check for speed of eating, if food is dropping out when cats are eating, any salivation, or cries when eating. If there is anything unusual about their eating habits, chances are that they might be getting sick.
  2. Check their eyes for any discharge, swelling, or constant scratching. These symptoms show that the cats may be experiencing an eye irritation, or even a flea infestation in their ears, which had spread to affect their eyes as well. If the condition appears serious, you should immediately consult the vet.
  3. Check their gait for any unsteadiness or if the cats seem to be limping. It is possible that the cats may have injured their hind legs.
  4. Check for any pains, cries or abnormal lumps when touching the cats, to check for any internal injuries.

Dr Lin also taught us five ways to spot a sick cat. If the campus cat seems to be losing weight recently, has poor fur condition, does not approach you during feeding, and hides instead, and seems to sport an unsteady gait, then your cat is probably feeling unwell. Take note of these symptoms!

Nurse from My Family Vet drawing an illustration of a cat

Some common diseases and their symptoms:

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)

  • The vet told us that cats with FIV, if left untreated, can be seen drooling, getting skinnier or just generally becoming weaker
  • While sharing food and water do not transmit FIV, try to separate feeding just to avoid any potential risk


  • The vet taught us to comb through fur to get a sample and crush against white paper. If you spot anything brown or red, that means there are fleas on the cat.


  • Dr Lin added that when one pulls the skin of cat behind the neck, and it doesn’t bounce back quickly, it’s a sign that the cat is dehydrated. So make sure to provide water for the parched soul!

Ear mites

  • When ear mites are present, black discharge from the ears can be seen, and cat may be excessively scratching its face.

We then called onto stage our special guest, Peanut, to act as a model for Dr Lin. She showed us how to handle cats especially when carrying them. Firstly, approach them slowly and let them get used to your smell. Then, proceed to hold them, with one hand below their front legs, and the other hand supporting their bum.

Peanut graced the stage with his adorable presence

Despite the freezing temperature of the lecture theatre, Peanut patiently worked with Dr Lin to demonstrate the dehydration check, as well as the use of the pill popper to push a pill down a cat’s throat when it is sick but refuses to take its medicine.

Our feeders gained a lot of insights from Dr Lin

We hope everyone enjoyed the first aid training, and learnt many new things which they can apply to serve our campus cats better during their weekly feeding sessions.