Ten Signs of Illness in Cats
Cats are very good at hiding illnesses. Would you be able to tell if your cat was sick?
Keep an eye out for any of these 10 signs of illness:
- Inappropriate Elimination – Cats are usually very good about using their litter pan. If your cat should start urinating or defecating in odd spots, it could be a sign that something may be going on such as lower urinary tract disease, kidney disease, urinary tract infection, diabetes and arthritis.
- Changes in Interaction – Cats are social animals and usually enjoy spending time with their families and other pets in the house. If a cat suddenly stops socializing with their owners or suddenly becomes aggressive to their owners or other household animals, it could be a sign of disease, fear, anxiety or pain.
- Changes in Activity – Either a decrease or an increase in activity can be a sign of illness or a medical condition. Most cats don’t slow down just because they get old, so a decrease in activity may be a sign of arthritis. An increase in activity may be a sign of hyperthyroidism.
- Changes in Sleeping Habits – An adult cat, on average, may sleep 16-18 hours a day and respond quickly to usual stimuli (i.e. owner walking into the room, cat food being prepared). If your cat is sleeping more than usual or has discomfort laying down or getting up, this may be a sign of a medical condition.
- Changes in Food and Water Consumption – Most cats are not picky eaters. Decreased food intake can be a sign of several disorders such as dental issues and cancer. Increased food intake can also indicate several disorders such as diabetes mellitus and hyperthyroidism. Also, keep an eye on how your cat chews their food, if they are having problems chewing the food, that can also be a sign of dental issues. Increased water consumption is a sign of several disorders such as diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism and kidney disease.
- Unexplained Weight Loss or Gain – Sudden weight loss (especially if the cat has a normal appetite) can be a sign of hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus and other diseases. Obesity in cats can cause an increased risk of diabetes mellitus, joint disease and other problems.
- Changes in Grooming – Cats are fastidious groomers and their coats are usually clean and healthly looking. Patches of hair loss or a greasy or matted coat can be a sign of underlying disease. A decrease in grooming can indicate fear, anxiety, obesity or other illnesses. An increase in grooming can indicate anxiety or a skin problem.
- Signs of Stress – Stressed cats may exhibit signs of depression, hide more, be withdrawn, overgroom or stop grooming, change their eating habits, spend more time awake and scanning their environment. These signs may indicate a medical condition, so it is important to rule out physical ailments before addressing the stress behaviorally.
- Changes in Vocalization – An increase in vocalization or howling is more common in older cats and is often seen with an underlying condition like hyperthyroidism or high blood pressure. A cat may also vocalize more if they are in pain or anxious.
- Bad Breath – Bad breath is an indicator of an oral problem – studies have shown that 70 percent of cats have gum disease as early as age 3.
Your cat’s health is important to us. If you see any of these signs in your cat, be sure to call us at (757) 466-9151 and make an appointment to have them checked out.