How to Know When your Cat is Sick

Dr. Joe Alcorn, M.S., D.V.M.

Dr. Joe Alcorn is founder of Care Animal Hospital in Temecula, California. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and his advice has been featured in large publications like Bustle and Martha Stewart.

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As much as many cats love their owners, most feline friends are very laid-back, relaxed and independent creatures. If you have an indoor cat then she may still prefer to chill out by herself in her favorite sun-lit corner, while you have an outdoor cat she may only grace you with her presence for meals and a comfortable bed in the evening!

Unfortunately, a cat’s calm attitude and independent streak can also make it tricky to identify if your furry companion is feeling unwell, with many owners not realizing that their pet is poorly until the illness has taken a firm hold of their beloved cat.

As cats don’t speak our language, it is our duty as responsible owners to take the time to monitor our feline’s routines and behavior for anything out of the ordinary. Unusual changes can indicate that your cat is sick and needs medical attention.

To help you understand when your feline friend needs your help, we have put together this list of the most common signs that might suggest that your cat needs the urgent attention of your veterinarian or cats needed a vaccine.

Sleeping cat 2

Changes in appetite

In the same way that we might decrease the amount that we eat if we feel unwell, changes in your cat’s appetite are often one of the first indicators of illness. While normally changes involve a disinterest in food or a reduced appetite, if your cat suddenly starts to demand much more food than usual, it could signify a problem with her thyroid gland.

Also keep an eye out for excessive thirst. If your feline seems to be drinking much more than before it could indicate kidney problems, diabetes or an infection.

Changes in behavior

Most cats are relatively consistent in their behavior, but if your feline suddenly starts acting out of sorts there may be a more sinister cause for the sudden change in his temperament. Typical behavior changes include:

  • Attention-seeking
  • Change in toilet habits and/or bowel movements
  • Excessive or unusual meows
  • Hiding away
  • Lack of interest in grooming
  • Over-grooming or paying specific attention to one spot over and over
  • Restlessness
  • Sitting hunched up and very still
  • Unusual aggression
  • When a cat stop purring

Sleeping problems

Cats sleep – a lot – but abnormal changes in your cat’s sleeping routine could be indicative of a problem. Felines who experience chronic pain may try and sleep more to block out the discomfort that they are feeling. Or perhaps you have a cat that is keeping you awake at night by meowing or scratching. Either way, it may be time to seek the advice of a professional.

Bad breath

Nearly everyone has bad breath in the morning, including your cat! However, persistent bad breath coming from your furry friend’s mouth can mean that they are developing gum disease or tooth decay. Untreated dental problems have been known to cause much more serious health problems, so a prompt visit to your veterinarian should be a priority.

Feeding them healthy balanced diets that have oral healthcare properties can help prevent diseases.

Change in activity levels

Cats are notorious for their ability to relax and sleep throughout the day. However, a sudden change in the level of activity that is “normal” for your kitty could indicate a potential problem. If your cat seems unwilling to move around then it could be that even gentle activity is causing her pain, while a sudden increase in energy levels could be a sign of an overactive thyroid.

You are your furry friend’s best advocate and if you feel like something is amiss with your pet, then it always better to be safe than sorry. Get in Contact with Dr. Alcorn at Care Animal Hospital in Temecula for a phone consultation or schedule an appointment. If you are seriously concerned for the welfare of your cat, seek emergency veterinary advice as soon as possible.