KNOW WHAT'S NORMAL
The most important part of keeping your cat healthy is to be observant. It's even easier if you only have one or two cats. We have 9 now and have had as many as 12 at one time. It's hard to tell who's doing what in their litterboxes (or outside of the boxes in some cases) without isolating them.
- If your cat urinates inappropriately (outside the box), s/he may have a urinary tract infection.
- If s/he drinks a lot of water, it could be a sign of kidney disease or diabetes (my cat Allie used to get a big drink in their room, then he'd follow me to the kitchen and get another big drink almost immediately; it turned out he was in the beginning stages of kidney failure).
- If your cat urinates a lot (leaves a really big puddle in the box), that's another sign of diabetes.
- When you pet them, see it as an opportunity to casually examine their bodies. My husband found Mah-mah's breast cancer because he was running her chest and belly and felt a small lump he'd never noticed before.