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5 Ways to Tell Your Cat Is Sick

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Just like babies, cats can’t tell you when they’re ill. It’s up to you to see the signs and get your pet the right treatment. It could be something as simple as feeling under the weather for a day, but there could be something more serious about them. The signs aren’t rocket science, once you know them. It’s just learning and looking out for changes in aspects.

Here are the five top ways to tell that there is something wrong with your cat and she is sick.


A Change in Behavior

A cat will usually have a specific behavior. Some are naturally friendly and cuddly, while others like to be left alone. Just like humans, a cat’s behavior will change when she is ill. Look out for anything that is out of character. It could be coming for cuddles and attention when that isn’t regular or laying down and staying out of the way when she usually loves playing.

You don’t need to ring the vet right away, but you should note down the patterns and changes. If it continues for a few days, talking to your vet is the best way to make sure this isn’t something serious. Your vet will need to know how the behavior changed, whether it was sudden and whether there is anything else you can add to help determine the issue.

Most of the time, it takes a couple of days to get over a cold. It’s normal, but shouldn’t happen too often. If your cat’s behavior changes regularly or for a long period of time, you need to speak to your vet and get the right diagnosis straight away.

Friends with a cat
Credit: imagerymajestic/freedigitalphotos.net

Caring for your cat is the best way to make sure she's not sick.

Changes in the Urine

The next change to look out for is in the urine. This can be a difficult one, depending on the type of litter tray that you have. However, when you see other signs, especially a change in behavior, you need to purposely look out for it.

Urine discoloration can happen for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common include kidney or bladder infections. However, it could be a sign that your cat isn’t getting enough to drink throughout the day.

The urine should be a pale yellow color. If it becomes darker, it is a sign of dehydration or another illness. Watch out for any blood in the urine, as this is a clear sign of an infection. If the urine is like water, you also need to be aware. This could be that your cat is drinking too much, but it can also be a sign of something more serious.

Contact your vet as soon as you see changes in the urine, especially if there is blood. He will be able to prescribe the best medication for your pet and make sure it is treated. The earlier it is treated, the less life threatening it will become and the more comfortable your cat will be.

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Look Out for Diarrhea

You know as a human that if there is diarrhea, it is a sign that something is wrong. It could be bad food for you, but in a cat this is less likely. Cats usually stick to the same diet and diarrhea is a sign that there is something wrong. Before you ring your vet, think about the diet you are feeding your pet. Have you recently changed something? Are you adding more of something to the diet? This is often a reason for stomach upsets and diarrhea.

You will need to check the diarrhea, too. You want to make sure there is no blood mixed in with the feces. This is a sign of a bowel infection; it could also be that there is a cut somewhere in your cat’s behind area.

Before you contact your vet, think about the diet and leave it a day—unless there is a lot of blood or a lot of diarrhea. It could be the body trying to get something out of the system.

The Amount of Food Your Cat Eats

Your cat should have a good appetite. If you have changed the food lately, she could be picky, but watch out for her going off her food. As she does get older, you need to remember that she won’t eat as much as she would have done as a kitten. She needs more energy when she is younger.

Once you consider all that and you still find she has a lack of appetite, it is time to think about other reasons. She may feel ill and decide that she doesn’t want to put anything on her stomach. If she is being sick or has diarrhea, this could stop her wanting to even try to eat. One day being off her food isn’t too bad but if it continues, you need to speak to your vet.

Likewise, you need to watch out for cats that eat lots but lose weight. This is a sign of something serious. While she may have an excellent metabolism, there are diseases that affect the metabolism and speed it up. One of those is hyperthyroidism, which is extremely common in cats. Your feline will need medication in most cases, so a trip to the vet is necessary. Left untreated, she won’t get the energy and nutrients that her body needs.

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Look Inside the Mouth

There are times that teeth problems lead to health issues. This is especially the case with gum disease or abscesses. The pain in her mouth can stop her from eating—she won’t want to chew her toys either—and will make her extremely grouchy. You should check the mouth daily, anyway, to make sure her teeth are clean.

Check for any swelling in the gums and bleeding. Tooth decay is another problem to look out for but can go unnoticed for a while. The best thing you can do is take her to the vet. At least vets know exactly what they are looking for and will make sure your pet gets the right treatment.

Remember that cats can’t tell you when there is something wrong. They can simply show you through changes in their mood, behavior and the things that they do. Look out for these changes regularly and note them down. It could be something simple, like a high metabolism or just a change in the diet; however, it could be much more serious. It is often better to be safe than sorry. Catching illnesses earlier will help to prolong your feline’s life.



Jan 23, 2014 5:21am
Good article. Non eating is always a dead give away with my kitty !
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