7 Warning Signs That Your Cat Is Sick

A calico cat is lying on her back with her right paw over her eyes - Hampton Park Veterinary - Caring for an ill Cats and Kittens, Charleston, SC. There are several common diseases in cats to look out for, from heartworm to diabetes. However, most cat owners won’t know without a vet’s help what disease or sickness their cat has.

Rather than trying to become a diagnostician, take the time to learn the signs that your cat is sick. Learning to observe your cat, recognize these signs, and act appropriately are some of the best steps you can take to protect your cat’s health.

Today, we’re going to talk about seven signs that your cat may be sick and when to book a vet appointment for her.

Read on for our guide to the common signs that your cat is sick.

1. Notable Behavior Changes

One of the many important reasons why you should get to know your cat’s unique personality is that you can then detect changes. Behavior that is normal in one cat could be abnormal (and a warning sign) from another.

It is a cat’s instinct to hide when they are sick, which means that if your feline friend is suddenly asocial, they may not be feeling well. Cats may also show distress through intense vocalizations or they may react with aggression when you try to pet them. If your cat’s behavior undergoes an overnight transformation, it’s time to call your vet.

2. Changes in Appearance

The same goes for drastic changes in appearance. This includes weight gain or weight loss, a change in posture, or a change in grooming habits.

How can you tell if your cat is grooming in a new and concerning way? Excessive grooming, bald or thin spots, matted fur, clumping fur, and an increase in grease or dandruff are all signs that your cat has changed her grooming habits. These kinds of changes in appearance can indicate anything from a skin disorder to a stress disorder to an intestinal problem.

3. Abnormal Litter Box Behavior

Abnormal litter box behavior, like going outside of the box, can indicate a few things. The first is that your cat isn’t happy with the cleanliness of their box. The second is that your cat isn’t happy with the litter you’re using or the placement of the box.

The third, and this applies especially to boys, is that your cat has a urinary tract infection or urinary obstruction. Urinary issues make urination difficult or impossible, and most cats who have them will cry or howl when trying to go to the bathroom. Consider this a veterinary emergency and take your cat in right away if you suspect a urinary problem.

4. Refusal to Eat

If you’re cat is not eating, there are a few things to consider. Is she a picky eater and did you change her food recently? Has it only been about a day of turning her nose up at the food bowl, or has this behavior carried on for more than 24 hours?

Once your cat is refusing to eat everything, including coveted treats, for over 24 hours, it’s worth consulting your vet. Cats may stop eating for a variety of reasons, including tooth pain, the ingestion of something toxic, and more serious health problems that will require long-term treatment.

5. Frequent Vomiting

It’s not unusual for cats to vomit from time to time. They may drink or eat too fast or ingest something that disagrees with them that they need to get out of their system. They may have hairballs, which you can reduce by brushing them frequently and putting them on hairball-preventing food.

However, frequent vomiting isn’t something that you should ignore or wait out, especially if the consistency or color are unusual or the vomit contains blood. This could be a symptom of cancer, liver disease, infection, or some kind of intestinal issue. Your vet should run tests and take x-rays to figure out what is causing this excessive vomiting.

6. Sudden Increase in Thirst

Many cats don’t get as much water as they should. Ideally, your cat should drink about four ounces of water per five pounds of body weight every single day. If your cat neglects the water bowl, try feeding them wet food or giving them a water fountain to ensure that they’re getting enough fluids.

What if your cat suddenly won’t stop drinking water and you’re having to refill their water dish way more often than normal? While this might seem like a good thing, a sudden increase in thirst can indicate a few possible cat illnesses. Consult your vet and tell them more about your cat’s behavior and symptoms and discuss the possibility that your cat may have an endocrine disorder.

7. Respiratory Symptoms

Believe it or not, cats can catch colds and exhibit symptoms similar to human cold symptoms, like sneezing or a runny nose. There’s not much you can do when your cat has a cold besides try to keep them comfortable and allow them to sleep it off.

Other respiratory symptoms, however, should be taken seriously. This includes coughing, faster or slower breathing, shallow breathing, or difficulty breathing. These kinds of respiratory symptoms could indicate an allergic reaction to a parasite, a reaction to a toxin, or a symptom of a larger disease.

Call Your Vet if You Think Your Cat Is Sick

It’s all but impossible to diagnose your cat’s illnesses without consulting a vet and running the right tests. The best thing to do is learn to look out for signs that your cat is sick and react accordingly. This guide is a good starting place for learning more about your cat’s health.

Do you have more questions about the symptoms that your cat is showing? Did reading our guide make you realize that now is a good time to seek a vet in Charleston? Contact us today and we’ll get you and your cat set up with an appointment.