Saturday, October 18, 2014

8 Signs That Your Cat is Sick

Wouldn't it be nice if our pets could tell us when they were sick? Unfortunately, they can't and it's up to us as pet parents to monitor their health and behavior for any unusual changes. Cats are especially good at hiding their symptoms of illness. In fact, many cats can go weeks or even months without their owners ever realizing something is wrong.

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The first step to picking up on any illness your cat has is to make sure you are very observant with their normal habits. Knowing what is normal for your cat will make it easier to notice when they are sick. This means you should monitor habits like food and water consumption, urination, defecation, weight, and energy level. Also, visiting your veterinarian regularly for check-ups can help you catch any problems before they become serious.

Here is a list of symptoms to look for in a sick cat and what they could mean. If you suspect your cat is sick, the best thing to do is take them to the vet to find out what the problem is.

  • Weight Loss. This seems like a symptom that would be so easy to pick up on, but truthfully it's not. We see our cats everyday and just may not pick up on gradual weight loss until a lot of time has passed. This is one reason why visiting the vet regularly is important. Unfortunately, weight loss can be caused by any number of serious health conditions. 
  • Urinating outside of the litter box. Has your cat suddenly started having accidents outside of his litterbox? Don't assume it's a behavioral problem until you have him check out by the vet. It's very common for cats to experience urinary tract infections, urinary crystals, and/or bladder stones. 
  • Change in appetite. When cats don't eat, they can become very sick. If your cat's appetite has decreased, it could be a sign that something is wrong. However, if your cat has suddenly become very hungry for food, this is also a sign that something could be wrong. Cats with hyperthyroidism often become very ravenous and will constantly meow for more food. 
  • Jaundice. Jaundice or icterus means "yellow skin". This may be most noticeable on your cats gums and the insides of their ears. There are many health conditions that can cause jaundice in a cat, but one of the most common is hepatic lipidosis or "Fatty Liver Disease". 
  • Hair loss. Hair loss in cats can be due to allergies, parasites, ringworm, compulsive disorders, and much more. 
  • Sneezing. It's common for cats to experience upper respiratory infections. They may experience symptoms like sneezing, ocular discharge, nasal discharge, decreased appetite, and decreased energy levels. Just like a cold is for people, these infections are usually contagious to other cats. 
  • Diarrhea. This is another symptom that could be caused by any number of health conditions. Some of these conditions could be minor problems that are easy to fix, or the diarrhea could be due to serious health problems. 
  • Bad Breath. It might be obvious that bad breath in cats could be a sign of dental disease. But, did you know that bad breath can also be an indicator for other diseases? If your cat's breath is unusually sweet smelling, it could be a sign of diabetes. Cat breath that smells similar to urine is a symptom of kidney disease. And really stinky and foul cat breath can be a sign of liver disease. 

Remember, this list is only meant as a guide to help cat owners be prepared and know what to look for when their cat is sick. It is not meant to diagnose a problem. If you believe your cat is sick, please take them in to the vet for an exam. 

These are just a few of the common signs that your cat may be sick. Of course, there are plenty of other symptoms cats can experience from illness. We certainly hope none of you ever need to use this list, but at the very least you can be prepared and hopefully catch any illness early on. 

19 comments:

  1. That is a very informative post and we assume many of those symptoms could be applied to dogs too. Have a super Saturday.
    Best wishes Molly

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    1. Some of them, but they are a lot different really. It just depends I think :)

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  2. Good information ! We would add apathy to your list too. Purrs

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  3. That was a great list and I hope everyone keeps those things in mind!

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  4. That was a great list and I hope everyone keeps those things in mind!

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  5. That is a great list and I think the most important thing is to be aware of your cat's normal actiivites, eating etc. Cats will hide when they are sick. But great post. Take care.

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    1. Yes and they do sometimes like to hide when they get really sick.

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  6. With my cat bro Bert it is the food thing. If he is not getting into trouble and not eating his food, he is sick. Just happened last week, but he is fine again.

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    1. Well, I'm glad he's all better now Emma.

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  7. Granny noticed that we purr different too when we're sick. Pawkisses for a Happy Weekend :)

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  8. It's so true that cats hide the signs of sickness and they don't become obvious typically until they're pretty sick. I wonder if excessive drinking should be on the list. Urinating outside of the litter box is a good one.

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    1. Ah yes! That is definitely a good one to add to the list Annie. Any excess or decrease in water consumption could definitely be an indicator that something is wrong.

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  9. Good reminders for every cat parent.

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  10. Great advice, Ann. We definitely have to learn to be very observant of our cats, sometimes the changes can be so subtle and they hide things so well.

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  11. Also add cats sitting in that "hunched up" position, rather than lying comfortably.

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    1. That's a good one too! Sometimes that can mean constipation, or other things too.

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  12. This is a great list of signs that your kitty may not be feeling well. As pet owners, we need to be really observant of our kitty's behavior so we can tell when something isn't right.

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  13. Great post, Ann. Cats are SO good at hiding when they are sick. That's why being really observant is key, as are regular checkups.

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Thank you for your comments!

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