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Vetcare How-Tos

To grab a weight using a food scale, you first turn the scale on. Next, put a small box (like a shoe box or something a bit larger but not too large that it covers the display so you can’t read it) or large mixing bowl on the scale & hit tare/zero button. Once the scale out is tared (aka zeroed out), you can put the kitty in the box/bowl, then you have their weight!  We prefer weights in lbs/oz but it’s fine in kg too. You can do this for adult cats or kittens.

If you’re using a human scale to get a cat’s weight, first weigh yourself. Then weigh yourself again while holding the cat near the center of your body; don’t take off or put on any additional clothing as this will change your original weight. Subtract the higher number (weight of you + cat) from the lower number (your weight only) & the difference is the cat’s weight. This method only works well for adult cats, which typically weigh more than 8 lbs. Most human scales aren’t sensitive enough to get an accurate weight on using this method.

If you have a no-touch digital thermometer (one that is used either on the forehead or in the ear), you can aim the thermometer’s sensor end into the cat’s ear canal to grab a temp.  Do not force the thermometer into an area that it doesn’t fit.  We don’t want to cause distress or additional discomfort to the cat. Do not use a no-touch thermometer on the fur as it will not give you an accurate reading. That would be like taking your skin temp on the outside of your winter coat. If you have a digital thermometer that can be inserted rectally, using a water based lubricant or vaseline, generously apply the lubricant to the tip of the thermometer & a bit above the tip, then insert the thermometer 1/2-1 inch into the rectum. Do not push the thermometer all the way into the rectum! You do not want to risk rupturing the colon or causing intense discomfort to the cat.  If you have a kitten that is <12 weeks, you may need to only push the thermometer 1/4 in. into the rectum so you do not risk hurting the cat. The tip should be inside the rectum securely but not too deep so that they are uncomfortable. Hold the thermometer in place until the thermometer beeps. If you are unable to get a rectal temp, you can also grab a temperature by placing the thermometer under the front leg in what is the equivalent of their armpit; you can allow the cat’s leg to rest comfortably in place (no need to hold it out of the way or against the body). Again, hold the thermometer in place until the thermometer beeps. We prefer temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit but celsius is fine too. 

To check the hydration on a cat, you will want to check two things – their gums & their skin hydration.  To check their gums, lift their top lip, & look at the gums near where the gums meet the lips (not near the teeth as some cats with gum disease can have red or irritated gum lines around the teeth). A healthy, hydrated cat will have shiny, soft/light pink gums. An ill or dehydrated cat will often have dull, tacky, or dry gums that are often pale (more pale/whitish than pink). If you press on the gums & release with your fingertip, the gums should turn white then quickly return to a light pink color. If when you press their gums, the gums stay white or are slow to return to their color, that is something to let us know. For the skin hydration, gently but firmly pinch the skin between their shoulder blades to create a little tenting of the skin. Hold for a second, then release & observe how quickly the skin snaps back into place. If the skin slowly melts back into place or remains tented, let us know. If the skin almost instantaneously snaps back into place, the cat is likely hydrated.

The excessive dirt & waxy debris in the ear can cause it to be itchy. Cats typically have some debris in the ears but not enough that they should look really dirty.  For cats with excessively dirty ears, you can clean them once a day for a few consecutive days. You should notice the debris lessening with each passing day. 

Here is a link to a cat-safe ear cleaner we recommend: You don’t have to order it through Chewy; other retailers carry it as well. It’s important that you use an ear cleaner designed for cats because balancing the pH of the ear while preventing a bunch of moisture from sitting inside the ear canal will go a long way to preventing any kind of bacterial/yeast overgrowth. Additionally, you can use a cotton pad with a dab of olive oil on it to help loosen up & soothe any of the debris you see on the outer folds of the ear. Cotton swabs should be used with extreme caution – do not stick the end of the cotton swab deep into the ear canal.  Cat’s ear canals are L shaped so it is hard to see where the eardrum is after the bend. Plus, you don’t want to push additional debris further into the ear canal or accidentally rupturing the eardrum. If you can’t see where the tip of the cotton swab is going, then it shouldn’t go there. 

Here’s a helpful tutorial to walk you through how to clean cat ears properly: