How Can You Tell If Your Cat Is Sick?

Beverly Hills MI sick cat under blanket

Cats are highly skilled at masking any signs of illness or injury, so if you happen to notice something is “off” with your feline it’s more than likely that there is. 

Unfortunately, by the time symptoms become obvious, a cat’s illness may be untreatable or prohibitively expensive without guarantees of success. Training your eye to their subtle behavioral patterns and appearance can help you determine if your cat is sick long before the issue at play has spiraled out of control.

High Alert

No one wants to jump to conclusions and everyone is entitled to a bad day. However, as far as cat care is concerned, there are numerous tell tale signals that should never be ignored, no matter how slight or subtle they appear to be.

Mostly Normal

One of the most common barometers for feline health is their appetite. Most cat owners will notice if their cat stops begging for food or leaves tender morsels in the bowl. This could be a gastrointestinal illness at play, or it could have something to do with their dental health. Either way, it is very likely that a cat is sick when they stop eating (and drinking water).

This Then That

As a result, a cat that stops eating or drinking will have changes to their bathroom habits. Conversely, many feline illnesses, such as diabetes or kidney disease, can cause a cat to eat, drink, defecate and urinate with greater frequency. 

Litter box issues, like a urinary tract infection or possible GI blockage can be incredibly painful. Keep an eye out for any changes in their behavior, and notice when they make sounds of straining or pain.

Up and Down

A cat is sick if they are vomiting and/or have diarrhea. This could be explained by so many different causes and requires immediate veterinary intervention. A single hairball might not be cause for alarm, but repeated bouts of vomiting should be addressed.

Where Are You?

A cat will likely withdraw to a dark, comforting corner of the closet or underneath the bed when they aren’t feeling their best. When you finally find them they may be hunched over or lying as still as possible. If they are suffering from a neurological condition they may be pressing their head against a wall or other solid surface.

Check their coat for signs that they’ve abandoned their incomparable grooming habits. 

Remember, in addition to something they do when happy or comfortable, cats purr to self-soothe during stressful situations.

Gum Color

Dental pain may not be immediately discovered, but if your cat is sick and displaying any of the previous symptoms check their gum color and quality. Gums should not be pale (indicating anemia or poor circulation), bluish (indicating a dangerous lack of oxygen), or bright red (indicating heat stroke). 

Your Cat Is Sick

Please take note if your cat is coughing, running a temperature, or just generally not acting like themselves. It is always better to be safe than sorry. 
When it comes to supporting your cat’s health and wellness, Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates are always here for you.