Cats, being solitary, are often believed to be independent creatures. Whilst it is true that they have a self-sufficient attitude, they are also very good at hiding signs of cat illnesses.
That’s because, in the wild, they need to conceal their weaknesses, including health problems, to protect themselves from predators. Domesticated cats also have the same natural instinct.
Here are the 15 most common cat illness symptoms that should not be overlooked:
Cat Illnesses Symptom #1: Weight Changes
A sudden weight loss in cats could signify a more serious health issue. Causes of weight loss can be anything; some common cat illnesses linked to this symptom are diabetes and feline cancer.
Cats with hypothyroidism gain weight and become lethargic because the impairment of their thyroid gland slows down their metabolism.
Several other common illnesses in cats can lead to weight gain, including Cushing’s disease, intestinal disease, and toothache. Weight loss is also a symptom of contagious cat illnesses such as feline infectious peritonitis.
Until you take your cat to the vet and get her examined, you will not know what is afflicting her. Consult your vet for an accurate cat illness diagnosis so that an appropriate treatment plan can be designed.
Cat Illnesses Symptom #2: Bad Breath
Stinky breath or halitosis is one of the most common clinical signs of dental problems in cats. Oral infections can cause foul breath due to the bacteria build-up in the mouth.
Watch out for other periodontal cat illnesses symptoms such as bleeding gums and excessive drooling. Without proper treatment, it can lead to heart problems and damage other organs.
Cat Illnesses Symptom #3: Decreased Appetite
Another one of common cat illness symptoms is the sudden lack of appetite. Most cats tend to be finicky eaters and sometimes they end up eating less than they normally would. However, changes in your feline friend’s eating habits, most especially loss of appetite, should not be ignored.
If your furry friend skips meals occasionally but still eats the same amount of food, monitor her closely. If she stops eating completely or only eats in small amounts, she could be harbouring a health problem. Bring her to the vet for an examination.
Lack of appetite even for a few days can be a sign of severe cat illnesses such as fatty liver or hepatic lipidosis.
Cat Illnesses Symptom #4: Increased Water Consumption
Certain cat illnesses will lead your feline friend to consume more water than necessary. Excessive drinking of water could be a sign of urinary tract or kidney disease in cats. It could also be a symptom of diabetes or thyroid problems.
If you have noticed a change of drinking habits on your cat, get help from a veterinarian to investigate further. The examination usually involves blood work, X-rays, and ultrasound to determine if it’s caused by cat illnesses or not.
You might also like:
- 10 Early Telling Signs Your Cat Has Diabetes
- What to Do When Your Cat Has a Urinary Tract Infection
- Why Is My Cat Losing Weight?: Your Questions Answered
Cat Illnesses Symptom #5: Diarrhoea
Common cat illnesses associated with diarrhoea include intestinal parasites, dietary indiscretion, and other chronic health conditions. Without proper care, diarrhoea can quickly result in severe dehydration and intestinal inflammation.
If your cat is having diarrhoea, make sure to schedule an appointment with the vet. If possible, bring a stool sample.
Cat Illnesses Symptom #6: Changes in Urination
Any change in urination is a big warning sign of the presence of cat illnesses. It is a common symptom of feline kidney problems including feline lower urinary tract disease, hyperthyroidism, cognitive dysfunction syndrome, and others.
Increased urination in small volumes could be a case of pollakiuria (daytime urinary frequency), whilst the increased volume of urine could mean a case of polyuria (production of abnormally large volumes of urine).
Neutered male cats are more susceptible to developing urinary stones or crystals. These can block the urinary tract. If not immediately given veterinary intervention, complete obstruction in the urinary tract may occur that can result in death within 24 hours.
Never disregard urinary tract cat illnesses as it may result in fatal kidney failure. If you notice that your cat strains to urinate, has traces of blood in urine, stays longer than usual in the litter tray, or urinates outside of her litter tray, take her to the vet as soon as possible.
Cat Illnesses Symptom #7: Discharge from Eyes and Nose
It is one of the clinical signs that your cat is possibly suffering from upper respiratory infections. Kittens are prone to developing this disease.
Beware that some upper respiratory infections can be highly contagious types of cat illnesses. Thus, it is crucial to isolate your sick cat from healthy cats living in the same household and seek veterinary care.
Cat Illnesses Symptom #8: Vomiting
Every now and then, cats hack up hairballs. However, if your kitty begins to throw up every couple of days, alert your vet. Vomiting especially after eating might be a clinical sign of poisoning, intestinal blockage, or other cat illnesses.
Cat Illnesses Symptom #9: Sudden Changes in Behaviour
Cats in the wild normally hide when they are at their weakest to keep away from predators. The same applies to the domesticated variety, which does not benefit them at all as it prevents owners to address the main issue.
As a cat parent, be sure to be attentive to your cat’s behaviour and habits. Does your sociable cat suddenly start to hide? A stressed cat is likely to hide and become depressed as well as other behavioural changes.
Do not brush them off as behavioural problems alone. These can be cat illness symptoms elicited from stress.
Cat Illnesses Symptom #10: Changes in Her Level of Activity
Lethargy or lack of energy is one of the most prevalent symptoms of many cat illnesses. Observe if it comes along with other clinical signs such as fever and breathing problems. However, this is quite different from cats that are normally couch potatoes.
For sick cats, they are awake but do not have enough energy to move or interact well with the environment. As such, having a cat that suddenly lacks energy is worth bringing to the vet. It could signify that she is undernourished or suffering from a particular cat illness.
Cat Illnesses Symptom #11: Inappropriate Elimination
Cat owners are quick to assume that a cat defaecating outside her litter tray has a behavioural problem. Investigate the case further by looking into potential cat illness causes.
Abnormal defaecation can be an indicator of diseases such as constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, or other cat illnesses. If you notice this clinical sign of cat illnesses on your feline friend, it is a good idea to get her checked by the vet.
Cat Illnesses Symptom #12: Changes in Grooming Habits
Cats are prone to overgrooming. It is rare to see them in an unkempt appearance. As such, this could be a symptom of cat illnesses such as anxiety, depression, allergies, or skin irritation.
If your cat is overly grooming in a particular area, there must be something wrong with the said area. Examine it for any bumps or allergies, which are also signs of cat illnesses.
Cats diagnosed with obesity and/or arthritis may have a hard time reaching out to their hindquarters to groom those areas. Offer them a hand to keep those areas clean.
Cat Illnesses Symptom #13: Becomes More Vocal, Especially at Night
This is one of the common complaints of owners of senior cats. Increased meowing at night could be a symptom of injuries or cat illnesses, including hyperthyroidism. It is best to have her checked by the vet. Examinations usually involve simple blood tests.
However, for those with loud vocalisations at any time of the day, it could be a sign of deafness. It would be best to test her sense of hearing. Please consult with the vet regarding this matter.
Is she free from any cat illnesses after getting checked with necessary tests? Your cat may have been meowing nonstop just to get your attention. Try to ignore her when she does this to send a message that meowing is not a desirable trait.
Do not reinforce this habit by yelling at her to stop. This creates confusion and may make things worse.
Cat Illnesses Symptom #14: Limping
Limping has many causes from cat illnesses to injuries. It may be a result of broken bones, resulting in swelling, and the affected limb lying at an awkward angle. Infections can lead to limping as well. Common clinical signs accompanying this type of cat illnesses are deformed nails and abscesses.
When transporting your limping cat to the vet, be gentle. If her carrier has a removable lid, take it off and carefully place her inside. If it doesn’t, gingerly put her in whilst supporting her hips and head. Make sure that the cat is lying down with her affected leg up.
Cat Illnesses Symptom #15: Shedding Too Much Fur
Whilst shedding in cats is normal, excessive hair loss or alopecia is not a good sign. If you observed that your feline friend is shedding more than usual, there’s no harm in consulting the vet.
Increased shedding is often a symptom of various types of cat illnesses. The most common are hyperthyroidism and skin allergies.
Aside from checking with the vet for your cat’s illness, another thing you should do is trim your cat’s nails. It will prevent her from nicking her skin, which can cause infections. The vet may also advise you to let your cat wear an e-collar to prevent her from scratching the affected area.
12 Cat Illnesses Symptoms that Needs Emergency Care
Some clinical signs of cat illnesses require immediate medical attention or else it will progress into a life-threatening situation. Here are a few red flags that your feline friend needs an urgent trip to the vet.
- Breathing problems
- Trauma (from being hit by a car)
- Pale gums
- Exposure to a poisonous substance
- Severe pain
- Body temperature over 104 or under 99
Better Safe Than Sorry
Sudden illness in cats is often unnoticeable, unless you keep a close watch on your feline friend’s behaviour. Do not ignore any sudden changes in her routine and habits. If your cat is exhibiting any of the above-mentioned cat illnesses symptoms, bring her to the vet.
Never allow any possible cat health issue to be left untreated. Going to the clinic for an examination may be tedious, but it could spell a difference between life and death for your cat.