If your cat has been missing for some time, it's no doubt a massive relief that they're now home. However, your work isn't done just yet. As a responsible pet parent, it's up to you to make sure that your cat's in good health, as prolonged absences can potentially cause serious health problems. Read on to learn what you should do if your cat has just come home after being missing.
Offer Fluids, Avoid Large Quantities of Food
While your cat is probably hungry and thirsty, you should focus on your cat's thirst, not their hunger. If your cat has been on the road or locked up somewhere without access to water, they're most likely dehydrated. Dehydration can cause damage to the kidneys, which can have a lasting negative effect on your cat's health.
Once your cat has had all the water they can drink, you can offer food in small quantities. Give your cat some time to adjust to eating again, and avoid dry food, as it can worsen dehydration. Allowing your cat to eat all it wants to upon coming home could cause your kitty to throw up, so go slowly.
Examine for Injuries
Cats that stray often do so because they're socializing with other cats in the area, which can lead to fights. Visually and physically inspect your cat for any signs of injuries. Look for matted fur, missing fur, blood, or visible wounds. If you don't see any, gently run your hand over your cat's body, including its limbs and tail. If your cat reacts badly to being touched somewhere, make note of the location and avoid touching them there; they may have an injury you can't see. If you suspect that your cat is wounded, go to a vet right away to prevent infection.
See a Veterinarian
Lastly, whether your cat seems to be in perfect health or not, you should consider visiting a vet or company like Oakton Animal Hospital as soon as possible. Your vet can perform a thorough examination of your cat to make sure they're not injured or hurt in any way, and they can perform some blood tests to make sure that your cat's okay. Blood tests can help to reveal if your cat's hydration is adequate, as well as making sure that they haven't become anemic from malnutrition. Fixing these problems is a relatively easy task with the help of a vet, but without medical assistance, your cat could become sick or weak.
If your cat is home safe, congratulations on the return of your fuzzy friend. During your veterinarian visit, make sure to talk to your vet about microchips and identification to help increase the likelihood of your kitty's return should they ever stray again.