10 ways to tell if your cat is sick

Cats tend to act fine when they’re feeling sick. They are notorious for hiding any signs of illness or injury from the people who love them most. Here are a 10 signs your cat may be sick – if you notice these signs or symptoms, it’s time to visit the vet:

1. Appetite changes

Eating habits are important to track in kittens, seniors, and overweight cats. If your cat hasn’t eaten for a day or two, or if your cat is eating a lot more than usual, they might be sick.

2. Coughing or sneezing

Upper respiratory infections are common in kittens, and adult cats often develop asthma and allergies. If you notice your cat is coughing, sneezing or has nasal discharge, a vet should assess their health with a diagnostic blood test/X-rays.

3. Red, crusty, or watery eyes

If your cat is squinting or excessively tearing up, they could have an eye infection or corneal scratch and may need an eye test from the vet.

4. Sleep changes

If your cat is sleeping more than usual, they could be nauseous or have a fever. If your cat is sleeping less, there could be an issue with their blood pressure or metabolism.

5. Head shaking and body scratching

Ear mites are a common disease in kittens, and older cats can develop allergies or small polyps deep in the ear canal. Pay attention to their body language for hints.

6. Skin and coat changes

Is your cat’s coat looking a little scraggly? Look for redness, scratches, lumps, mites, and sores, and don’t forget to check the toenails and paw pads!

7. Pain or discomfort

Cats don’t always cry when they’re in pain. Look for subtle signs like chewing on one side of the mouth which could indicate dental pain, or not coming when called for food or treats which could indicate a sore tummy.

8. Litter box changes

Never scold a cat who has an accident outside their litter box - they’re most likely trying to tell you something important about their health. This could range from a urinary tract infection, kidney disease, diabetes, or anything else that could have your cat feeling uncomfortable.

9. Vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation

Coughing up furballs is one thing, but if your cat vomits more than once every two months or if the vomiting is associated with diarrhea or constipation, there could be a deeper issue going on.

10. Unexpected urination

Pay attention to how frequently your cat pees. Increased urine in the litter box can be a sign of diabetes, and decreased urine can be a sign of kidney disease or toxicity. If your cat hasn’t peed in 8-12 hours, they could have an obstructed urethra, which is life-threatening and requires immediate care.

If you notice any signs or symptoms that your cat might be sick, don’t wait until it gets worse. It’s always best to contact your vet sooner rather than later, because early detection of illness is crucial to the health and wellness of your pet.

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