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How to Tell if Your Cat is Sick: Signs & Symptoms

How to Tell if Your Cat is Sick: Signs & Symptoms

Many cats have stoic personalities and may manage to hide their discomfort if they are sick. Our Mamaroneck vets share some signs and symptoms that your kitty may be ill. 

Symptoms of a Sick Cat

Like many animals, cats are excellent at hiding their discomfort when they are sick. Even the most diligent pet parent may not notice signs of illness until their cat is feeling very ill. That’s why it’s important to see your Mamaroneck vet as soon as possible if you notice any of these signs or symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
  • Constricted or dilated pupils
  • Noticeable weight loss or gain
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Sudden changes in appetite, drinking or eating habits
  • Much less or much more vocal than usual
  • Appearing lethargic or no inclination to play
  • Over-grooming, or neglecting grooming
  • Hiding
  • Improper use of litter box
  • Skin irritation or hair loss
  • Discharge from nose or eyes
  • Injuries or limping
  • Bad breath
  • Wounds or swelling

Knowing When Your Cat is Sick

You know your cat better than anyone else. Make sure to watch your cat for subtle changes in behavior that may not be noticed by others. In particular, take note of any changes in your cat’s demeanor or usual body language.

If your intuition tells you something just isn’t right, this is a good time to book a visit to the vet for a thorough checkup, even if your cat isn’t exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above.

Some Common Causes of Illness in Cats

  • The symptoms listed above are all signs that your cat may be sick. Here are a few common illnesses that cats can develop:
  • The sudden appearance of litter box issues could indicate anything from a urinary tract infection to bladder stones or kidney disease.
  • A sudden increased appetite could be an indication of diabetes, hyperthyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease or even intestinal cancer.
  • If your cat is drinking far more water than usual, it could be a sign that your cat is suffering from kidney disease, thyroid problems, or diabetes.
  • Upper respiratory infections can cause breathing problems and reduce your cat's enthusiasm for activities and play.
  • Injuries and arthritis can result in a drop-off in your cat’s acrobatic activities.
  • Bad breath in cats is a strong sign that your cat may be suffering from periodontal disease or experiencing tooth pain. If left untreated, dental disease in cats can lead to more serious issues such as heart, liver and kidney conditions.

What To Do if Your Cat is Sick

If your cat is displaying any unusual behaviors it's worth a trip to the vet for diagnosis and treatment. Early detection and treatment of illnesses can help to prevent conditions from becoming more severe or potentially life-threatening.

Cat injuries or illnesses often require urgent medical attention, surgery or even emergency care. It is essential to seek professional veterinary advice as soon as possible. The sooner treatment begins, the sooner your furry friend will be acting more like themselves again.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your cat feeling under the weather? Our vets at Miller Clark Animal Hospital are experienced in treating a variety of illnesses and conditions. Contact us today.

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