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

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

Cats tend to go to great lengths to hide their discomfort if they are sick. Our vets in Scottsdale share some signs and symptoms that can point to illness in your feline companion.

Signs of a Sick Cat

Like many animals, cats are remarkably adept at masking their discomfort if they become ill. In fact, even the most doting owner may not notice signs of illness until a kitty is feeling very unwell. That's why visiting your Scottsdale vet is so critical as soon as you see any of these signs or symptoms and start to ask yourself, 'Is my cat sick?':

  • Sudden mood change
  • Rapid breathing 
  • Dilated or constricted pupils 
  • Significant weight gain or loss 
  • No inclination to play or appearing lethargic
  • Diarrhea or vomiting 
  • Sudden shifts in eating or drinking habits, or appetite 
  • Much less or much more vocal than usual
  • Bad breath
  • Injuries or limping
  • Hiding
  • Hair loss or skin irritation 
  • Improper use of litter box
  • Discharge from nose or eyes
  • Wounds or swelling
  • Neglecting grooming or over-grooming

Knowing If Your Cat is Sick

No one knows your cat as well as you do. Be sure to watch your cat for subtle changes in behavior that others may not notice; take note of any changes to your cat's usual body language or demeanor.

If something just doesn't seem right, it's a good time to take your cat to the vet for a thorough examination, even if your cat isn't showing 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 symptoms of illness 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 When 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 as soon as you notice signs that your cat is sick. 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.

    Does your cat seem unwell? Contact our Scottsdale animal hospital to schedule an exam for your cat. Our vets are experienced in diagnosing and treating a range of illnesses in pets.

    Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

    Book Online (480) 391-3699