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Signs & Symptoms of a Sick Cat

Cats hide signs of illness, making it challenging to spot when they are becoming sick. But, knowing what to look for can help you spot the signs of a sick cat early so treatment can begin before the problem becomes more severe. Read on to learn the signs to watch for and what to do.

Is my cat sick?

Cats, like many animals, are remarkably good at hiding their discomfort when they are ill. In fact, signs of illness may not be obvious until your cat is feeling very unwell. That's why it's important to visit your Nashville  vet as soon as possible if your cat displays any concerning behaviors or symptoms.

Signs that your cat is sick can include one or more of the following:

  • Constricted or dilated pupils
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Sudden mood change 
  • No inclination to play or appear lethargic
  • Much less or much more vocal than usual 
  • Sudden changes in appetite, drinking, or eating habits 
  • Noticeable weight loss or gain
  • Rapid breathing or shortness of breath
  • Neglecting grooming or over-grooming
  • Improper use of litter box
  • Limping or injuries 
  • Wounds or swelling 
  • Bad breath
  • Discharge from eyes or nose 
  • Hair loss or skin irritation
  • Hiding

I can't tell if my cat is sick, what should I do?

No one knows your cat as well as you do. Be sure to watch your feline friend 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.

It is always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to the health of your feline friend. Allowing minor illnesses to become more severe before seeking treatment can cause your kitty to suffer unnecessarily and may mean that treatment takes longer and becomes more costly.

    What are some common cat illnesses?

    The symptoms listed above are all signs that your feline friend may be sick. Below are a few illnesses commonly seen in cats: 

    • 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 should I do if I think my cat is sick?

    If your kitty 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. 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.

    At Belle Forest Animal Hospital our team has extensive experience diagnosing and treating health problems in cats. Contact our Nashville vets today to book an urgent examination for your feline family member.

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    Belle Forest Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Nashville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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