16 Subtle Signs Your Cat Is Sick

06 March 2019

16 Subtle Signs Your Cat Is Sick

Could your cat be sick? Many cats have a naturally aloof nature which makes it difficult to tell if they are not feeling well. However, you know your cat so even if your kitty seems like a mysterious creature there are still discernible indications that your feline buddy may not feel right. All feline parents should watch for these top signs your cat is sick.

Changes That Might Indicate Your Cat is Sick

Always remember that by the time your cat shows extreme symptoms, the health problem might have been going on for a long time. You must still be on the lookout for a subtle change in behavior to catch an illness early. Sure, cats are experts at hiding sickness, so you might feel like a pet sleuth but watching for these top 16 signs your cat is sick will help you decide if Fluffy is feeling under-the-weather. Daily observations of your furry friend’s demeanor and body language will help you catch health problems early before they become a crisis. Always remember, if something seems off then follow your gut instincts and make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Here are the top 16 signs that your cat might not be feeling well:

1. Vomiting

Yes, all cats occasionally hack up a hairball, but if your cat starts to vomit every few days or all day then there is a definite cause for concern.

2. Diarrhea

An occasional bout of loose stools might not indicate a problem. However, ongoing diarrhea often occurs because of intestinal parasites or some other chronic health condition. Left untreated, diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration and severe intestinal inflammation.

3. Loss of appetite

Cats have obtained a reputation for being finicky eaters because they occasionally turn their noses up to the food choices. A trip to the veterinarian is warranted if your cat stops eating entirely or starts to consume less food than usual. Lack of eating for more than 24 hours can indicate a serious health problem that requires prompt veterinary care.

4. Increased Appetite

Many pet parents overlook any increases in their cat's food consumption, but overeating is also a cause for alarm. Overeating in an older cat is very worrisome. Specific thyroid and metabolic conditions can lead to overeating and obesity.

5. Weight Changes

If your furry friend suddenly starts to gain or lose weight then there may be an underlying health issue. Maintaining regular health checkups with your veterinarian provides you with a weight guideline, so you know if your cat has lost or gained a substantial amount between veterinary visits.

6. Lethargy

This one is a tricky sign your cat is sick because most felines spend an excessive amount of time napping. Many cats sleep 20 hours a day. However, if your furry feline has a low energy level and appears less active then it could indicate a problem.

7. Increased Thirst

Increased thirst in your cat should automatically put you on edge. Cats are prone to urinary tract problems that can turn serious or deadly quickly. If your cat starts to experience increased thirst, then do not hesitate to seek out veterinary care.

8. Changes in Urination

Any urination shift should always be an automatic red flag. If your cat starts to urinate outside of the litter box, strains to urinate, or has bloody urine then you must immediately make an appointment with your veterinarian. If your cat seems to be straining and unable to urinate, then this can be an emergency that requires prompt veterinary care. Cats, especially male cats, are prone towards developing urinary stones or crystals that become stuck in the urinary tract. Complete obstruction of the urinary tract can lead to death in as little as 24 hours without immediate veterinary intervention.

9. Changes in Breathing

Wheezing, shortness of breath, gaspiness, or rapid breathing warrant an immediate emergency veterinary evaluation. Even mild signs might indicate a heart or respiratory problem that requires prompt care.

10. Excessive Ear Debris

Excessive ear debris or discharge could indicate parasites or an ear infection. Delaying care may cause eardrum damage.

11. Skin Irritation

Every cat spends a good portion of their day grooming their fur. However, if you start to notice excessive itching, grooming, hair loss, or bald patches, then these could be indications your cat is sick. Parasites, metabolic conditions, and allergies all cause fur problems and skin irritation.

12. Eye or Nose Discharge

Cats, especially kittens, often develop upper respiratory infections. If your cat has any discharge from the nose or eyes, then you must immediately isolate your kitty from any other feline members of your household and seek veterinary care. Upper respiratory infections are very contagious among cats.

13. Increased Vocalization

If your cat is meowing a lot then your furry friend might be trying to tell you something. Many cats vocalize when in pain or upset.

14. Limping or Trouble Jumping

If your cat starts to falter or displays difficulty jumping up, then they may have sustained an injury or be suffering from a condition like arthritis. Your cat is obviously in pain, so you will need to seek out prompt medical care.

15. Bad Breath

If your kitty loves moist cat food then bad breath might seem like a common occurrence. However, chronic bad breath often indicates periodontal disease or tooth cavities. An oral infection also causes bad breath as the bacteria build up in the mouth. Bad breath might even suggest a heart problem or issue with other organs in the body.

16. Swelling

If you live in a multi-cat household then your furry babies might have squabbles just like human siblings. However, a cat can sustain a tiny puncture wound from a claw and quickly develop an abscess in the area. If you notice any swelling on your cat’s body, then you must immediately evacuate the area. If it is hot or painful to the touch, then you should seek prompt veterinary care.


Discerning the signs your cat is sick can be hard. Even the smallest variance from normal can be a clue to a potential health crisis. If you start to notice any behavior changes in your cat, then it is time to schedule a health checkup with FetchMyVet to have your feline friend evaluated for health problems

Category: Preventive Care

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