If your cat isn't feeling their best, you might notice some subtle changes to their behavior and energy level. Here are some of the signs of sick cats that our Citrus County vets look out for and when you should take your cat in for veterinary or emergency care.
Is my cat sick?
Much like people cats can suddenly find themselves feeling sick. Cat illnesses range from common and highly contagious cat colds (upper respiratory infections), to diabetes, feline immunodeficiency virus, feline leukemia virus, worms, hyperthyroidism and even cancer.
Of course, the symptoms that your cat shows will depend upon the kind of illness they are suffering from however there are a number of symptoms that are common to many health issues in cats.
Below our vets from Dunnellon Animal Hospital share a few signs that can mean it's time to book a vet appointment, as well as more serious symptoms that indicate that your cat is in need of emergency veterinary care.
What are the signs of a sick cat?
Cats possess a natural instinct to hide if they are sick or injured, so it's important to monitor your cat's behavior to watch for anything that seems out of the ordinary for your kitty. Although it may just be a passing bout of indigestion or a cold, it's also possible that your cat has a more serious condition that needs medical attention.
Cats hide pain and illness well, so what looks like a minor issue could be the sign of something more serious. Contact your vet to book an appointment if you notice any of the following symptoms.
- Diarrhea or constipation - especially if your cat appears to be in pain
- Lethargy - sleeping more than usual
- Increase or decrease in appetite
- Weight changes - Sudden decrease or increase in weight
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Breathing issues, or changes in breathing
- Runny eyes or nose, clear, green or white
- Excessive shedding, bald patches, skin irritation
- Blood in the urine
- Changes in personality - in longer playful or refuses to go outside
Do I need to rush my cat to the emergency vet?
While the symptoms listed above indicate that it's time to book a veterinary appointment for your cat, the symptoms listed below are much more serious. If your cat shows any of the following symptoms urgent veterinary care is required.
If you are unclear whether your cat's symptoms are indicative of an emergency, you can contact us and we can help you decide.
- Indications of severe pain - typically accompanied by loud crying or aggression
- Breathing difficulties
- Signs of pain while urinating
- Discolored gums - blue, grey, white, or unusually pale
- Bleeding that is moderate to extreme
- Any exposure to poison
- Vomiting blood
- Unresponsiveness or unconsciousness
- Unable to walk or signs of dizziness
- Overly high or low temperatures - under 99° or over 104°
How To Care For A Sick Cat
If your cat isn't feeling well but it doesn't meet the criteria for a veterinary emergency, you might be wondering how to care for them while you wait for your vet appointment.
Do not give your cat any human medications. Some medications that are good for humans to take for a cold can actually be toxic for our pets.
As with a human cold, make sure they have plenty of clean water and food close by. You should also bring the litter box close to them but make sure it is cleaned continually throughout the day.
Depending on your cat's personality, they might feel more comfortable in a warm, hidden location like a crate, while they rest, but if your cat prefers the company of their humans, make sure to spend some time with them to boost their spirits.
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.