How to Tell If Your Cat Is Sick
Despite being one of America’s most beloved pets, cats receive less veterinary care. This can be explained by the general fear and loathing of travel kennels and car trips. However, perhaps more to the point is the fact that cats appear to be fine even when they’re not. Cats mask symptoms, something not hard to do considering the signs that a cat is sick can be extremely subtle. As a result, cat owners should know what to look for and when to seek help.
Whether it’s a little indigestion or a viral infection, it’s not always easy to tell if a cat is sick. Going a step further, some illnesses or injuries can resolve on their own making a traumatizing trip to the hospital fruitless. What’s an owner to do?
They Did What?
The most obvious indicators that a cat is sick concerns their behavior. Any sudden shifts in their day to day routine may be concerning. Please take a look at their litter box habits, how much they’re eating and drinking, the quality and appearance of their coat, and whether they’re withdrawing away or clinging to you.
It is also essential to have your cat’s hiding places mapped out. Know what they’re generally up to at certain times of the day and look for them if something seems out of the ordinary. If your cat usually greets you when you get up or arrive home but suddenly disappears they could be suffering.
Safe Than Sorry
By the time symptoms are bad enough to notice them, a cat’s condition may be quite serious. Identifying the signs that your cat is sick may lead to early intervention and effective treatment.
The signs of critical illness include:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Lethargy or weakness
- Changes in appetite or thirst
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Breathing issues or excessive coughing
- Discharge from the eyes or nose
- Hair loss or skin irritation
- Blood in urine or stool
- Behavioral changes
- Changes in appearance, such as lacking in the grooming department, increased shedding or dull coat
Help! My Cat Is Sick!
There are some signs that should never be ignored. Please seek emergency veterinary care if you observe any of the following:
- Crying (as an indicator of severe pain)
- Breathing difficulties
- Discolored gums
- Uncontrollable bleeding
- Broken bones
- Evidence of poison exposure
- Vomiting blood
- Loss of consciousness
- Lack of mobility or coordination
- Low or high temperature (under 99 degrees or over 104 degrees)