Felines have the ability to hide illness well; it is an adaptive trait they inherited from their wild ancestors. Any change in appearance, energy level, sociability, coat texture/shedding patterns or grooming needs should prompt a visit from your veterinarian.
Look out for sudden decreases in activity, breathing issues, straining at litter boxes or an unusual increase in water drinking; eye or nose discharge; bad breath, dull-looking coat appearance or an increase in dandruff may all be signs that something is amiss.
1. Change in Appetite
If your cat suddenly stops eating or rejects its favorite snacks and foods, don’t ignore it. A loss of appetite in cats is not normal and if yours stops for more than 24 hours it could indicate serious illness; symptoms could range from an upset tummy to cancer or foreign body ingestion.
Other signs that indicate illness in cats include sudden changes to appetite, thirst or water consumption; bad breath (even mild halitosis is cause for alarm); drooling; lump formation with dilated pupils; frequent meowing or hiding behaviors, lethargy; alteration in litter box behavior or blood or worms in their stool/pee.
Since cats can often hide illness, it is crucial that you keep an eye on your cat and monitor even subtle changes in behavior and demeanor. Our Bartlett vets offer advice on how to recognize signs your feline friend needs medical assistance immediately and get them immediate treatment.
2. Change in Behavior
As a species, cats have long been known for concealing signs of illness – an instinct likely inherited from their wild cat ancestors’ need to lay low when sick to avoid predators and survive predator-free. Unfortunately this makes it more difficult to detect when your feline friend may need emergency vet care or when illness requires immediate veterinary attention.
One of the primary signs that your cat may be sick is reduced energy. Your pet may become less active, sleeping longer or playing less than before; these changes could occur suddenly or gradually depending on each cat’s individual circumstance.
Changes in body posture may also indicate illness in cats. When felines become distressed they may hunch over, walk stiffly, or carry their tail differently – any time this occurs call your veterinarian immediately! If any of these signs appear schedule an appointment immediately.
Vomiting and diarrhea are classic indicators that a pet is unwell. This symptom could be the result of various medical issues, including digestive disorders, infections, ingestion of toxic materials or stress.
3. Change in Urination Patterns
Cats, being prey animals, are adept at hiding any signs that they are sick, making it even more important that owners pay close attention to any minor changes in behavior and health in their cat.
If your cat suddenly begins peeing outside its litter box, this could be an indicator of urinary tract infection or kidney disease; if its urine contains cloudy or blood-tinged substance it could indicate cancer or another serious medical issue.
Keep an eye on how often your cat drinks water; any sudden increase may be an indicator of diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or kidney disease.
Another telltale sign of illness for cats is repeated or frequent vomiting. While occasional hairball-switching may be normal, frequent or persistent vomiting or vomit with an unusual appearance or blood can indicate serious medical problems; should this occur regularly it should be considered an urgent situation and you should contact your vet as soon as possible.
Cat illness signs may include decreased activity levels, unwillingness to play or climb, hunched posture, lethargy, bad breath or changes in frequency or style of meowing. All these behaviors should be taken seriously and as soon as possible call or visit an emergency veterinarian.
4. Change in Breath
Cats have an amazing ability to hide illness and discomfort, but it is still important to monitor any sudden behavioral changes in your feline. Loss of appetite, changed water consumption patterns, sudden increases in thirst or sensitivities to certain foods could all be telltale signs that could indicate disease in kitty.
Cats often avoid eating their usual meals or refuse to eat at all for at least 24 hours at a time, and if this persists over a longer period of time it could indicate dental disease, foreign body ingestion or kidney issues that require immediate vet attention.
Pay attention to your cat’s breath as this may also be an indicator of illness. Foul-smelling breath could indicate gum disease while yellowish breath could indicate liver or kidney issues. Also make sure you inspect his/her ears; any discharge must be free and without redness, discoloration, or inflammation present.
Signs that your cat may be sick include breathing difficulties, decreased activity and playfulness, injuries or arthritis and any loss of appetite, water intake changes or bad smell coming from their mouth. All these should prompt a visit to a vet immediately.
5. Change in Grooming
Cats are notoriously meticulous groomers, so any signs that they are neglecting to groom themselves could indicate illness. Other indicators may include sitting in an unusual posture, tilting their head to one side, or carrying their tail differently than usual – any changes could indicate illness in an instantaneous way!
As predatory animals in nature, cats will typically hide signs of discomfort or illness to avoid becoming prey for larger animals. It’s therefore crucial that owners pay close attention for even subtle indications that their cat is unwell, taking immediate steps such as visiting a veterinarian in case something becomes severe.
Some of the telltale signs that your cat may be sick are refusing food, vomiting frequently, not drinking enough and experiencing extreme weight loss or loss of appetite. Other symptoms may include lack of energy, drooling, dull coat, pale gums, irregular breathing patterns, bad breath and lumps or dilated or smaller pupils. If any of these are apparent in your feline companion please err on the side of caution and make an appointment with a veterinarian immediately.
6. Change in Sleeping Habits
Prey animals such as cats have evolved to hide any signs of illness from larger predators; otherwise, seeing or hearing about an unhealthy animal would signal to predators that it is easy prey and will be eaten, thus cats have learned how to effectively conceal discomfort or pain so as to remain undetectable by larger predators – this makes it hard for pet owners to recognize when their cat may not feel well.
Cats experiencing physical discomfort will often alter their sleeping patterns to find more comfortable places, for instance by moving under furniture or in cardboard boxes to feel safer. They might also seek warmth by snuggling close to their owner instead of their usual pillow or bed.
An abrupt or dramatic shift in sleep patterns is a sure sign that your cat is feeling poorly. If your feline’s sleeping more or less than usual, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to explore possible causes for their unusual behavior. Other indicators may include changes to his/her posture (hunching over or walking stiffly), drooling, swelling of certain body areas, yellow-tinged eyes or seizures – these symptoms should all be seen by a vet immediately and require urgent medical treatment.
7. Change in Weight
Cats have an impressive ability to hide illness or injury well, but it is still important to stay alert for any change in their behavior. Any sudden hunching with their back arched and head low; stiff walk; discharge from nose/ear canal, excessive drooling (halitosis); foul breath (halitosis); swelling in any part of body or an elevated third eyelid that partially covers eyes (anisocoria); these could all be signs your cat could be sick and needs medical assistance immediately.
If your cat becomes reluctant to eat and refuses favorite treats or foods, this could be a telltale sign they are sick – this could indicate anything from dental disease and cancer to serious health concerns such as organ failure.
An unexpected weight loss in your cat could be indicative of various health conditions, including diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism or even gastrointestinal conditions that disrupt nutrient absorption.