Discover the warning signs and symptoms of a sick cat, possible causes, and what you can do to help your animal friend get better.
Signs your cat is sick
Sometimes, our cats get sick and it can be difficult to tell what’s ailing them. While a qualified veterinarian should give them a thorough physical exam once a year, issues can pop up between visits that can result in a seriously ill cat. If you see these signs and symptoms, your cat may be ill and require medical attention:
- Constricted or dilated pupils
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Sudden change in mood
- Much less or much more vocal than usual
- Sudden changes in appetite, drinking or eating habits
- Gaining or losing weight
- Changes in breathing (rapid breathing or shortness of breath)
- Bad breath
- Discharge from eyes or nose
- Hair loss or skin irritation
- Neglecting grooming or over-grooming
- Improper use of litter box
- Limping or injuries
- Wounds or swelling
- No inclination to play or appear lethargic
You know your cat best and can probably sense when they are not their regular selves. Even if they have one of these symptoms but aren’t showing signs of pain, take action and visit a vet.
Potential causes of illness in cats
The symptoms above can be caused by any number of conditions or issues. Though it’s normal for cats to change over time as they age, the sudden appearance of litter box issues could indicate anything from a urinary tract infection to bladder stones or kidney disease.
Extreme weight loss could be due to cancer, while noticeable weight gain can result in obesity, which may cause many long-term issues such as diabetes and cancer. These diseases reduce your cat’s quality of life, and can even cut it short, so it’s imperative to get them medical attention.
Dental diseases may result in additional problems. Breathing issues can be brought on by upper respiratory infections, and a decline in your cat's acrobatic abilities can be brought on by arthritis or injury. While you're petting them, keep an eye on their fur. Concern should also be expressed for any abscesses that are hot to the touch or that aren't healing.
What to do when your cat is sick
It can be upsetting to notice symptoms that something is wrong with your cat, but the sooner you can get them to a veterinarian, the sooner they'll be back to feeling limber, happy, and healthy. It's crucial to seek professional guidance because some illnesses or injuries call for emergency care, surgery, or even urgent medical attention.