Cats are the most secretive and stoic animals. They often hide their signs of illness and pain, because in the wild, showing weakness could make them prey for larger predators. So instinctively they behave this way despite all the comfort you provide. As a cat owner, sometimes it can be hard to tell if they are feeling unwell. That’s why it is important to be observant and attentive to your cat’s behavior, appearance and habits, and to know what symptoms could indicate a health problem.
10 Common Signs of Illness in Cats
There are many different diseases and conditions that can affect cats, and each one may have different symptoms. However, there are some general signs of illness that you should look out for, such as:
1. Lack of appetite or weight loss:
Cats that are sick may lose their interest in food, or may have difficulty eating due to dental problems, nausea or pain. This can lead to weight loss, which can be gradual or sudden. Weight loss can also be caused by metabolic diseases such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism. If your cat is eating less than usual, or has lost more than 10% of its body weight, you should consult your veterinarian.
2. Hiding or withdrawal:
Cats that are not feeling well may become less social and more isolated. They may hide under the bed, in the closet or in other dark places. They may also avoid contact with you or other pets. This can indicate that they are in pain, stressed or depressed. While some cats are naturally shy or aloof, any change in your cat’s sociability or energy level should alert you that something is wrong.
3. Vomiting or diarrhea:
If your cat is vomiting or having diarrhea frequently, or if the vomit or stool contains blood, mucus or worms, this could be a sign of a serious problem. Vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, which can be life-threatening if left untreated. Some of the possible causes of vomiting and diarrhea in cats include infections, parasites, foreign bodies, toxins, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease or cancer.
Also Read: How to feed my kitten right?
4. Changes in litterbox habits:
Cats are usually very clean and consistent with their litterbox use. If your cat is urinating or defecating outside the litterbox, or if you notice any changes in the color, frequency, volume or odor of your cat’s urine or feces, this could indicate a health issue. Some of the possible causes of litterbox problems in cats include urinary tract infections, bladder stones, kidney disease, diabetes, arthritis or behavioral issues.
Also Read: Litter Box Training
5. Changes in grooming habits:
If your cat is grooming less than usual, or has stopped grooming altogether, this could mean that they are feeling sick or depressed. A lack of grooming can lead to matting, dullness or excessive shedding of the coat. On the other hand, if your cat is grooming more than usual, or is licking or scratching a specific area excessively, this could mean that they have a skin problem, such as fleas, allergies, infections or wounds.
6. Changes in breathing:
Cats normally breathe quietly and smoothly through their nose. If your cat is breathing faster than normal (more than 40 breaths per minute), panting (breathing with an open mouth), sneezing, wheezing or snoring (making a low-pitched sound while sleeping), this could indicate a respiratory problem.
7. Discharges from the eyes or nose:
Cats may have some clear discharge from their eyes or nose due to dust, allergies or minor irritations. However, if your cat has thick, yellow, green or bloody discharge from their eyes or nose, this could indicate an infection, inflammation or injury.
Also Read: 6 Reasons Why Cat Need Meat In Their Diet?
8. Head tilt or loss of balance:
Cats that have a head tilt or difficulty walking, jumping or coordinating their movements may have a problem with their ears, brain or nervous system. Some of the possible causes of head tilt or loss of balance in cats include ear infections, ear mites, polyps, tumors, strokes, seizures or vestibular syndrome.
9. Lumps or bumps:
Cats may develop lumps or bumps on their skin or under their fur due to various reasons, such as insect bites, abscesses, cysts, warts or benign growths. However, some lumps or bumps may be malignant tumors, cancer, which can spread to other parts of the body. You should check your cat’s body regularly for any lumps or bumps, and have them examined by your veterinarian if you find any.
10. Pain or discomfort:
Cats that are in pain or discomfort may show signs such as vocalizing (meowing, hissing, growling), biting, scratching, licking, limping, shaking, trembling, hiding or avoiding touch. You should never ignore your cat’s pain, and seek veterinary help as soon as possible.
Recognising illness in cats is not always easy, but it is essential for their well-being. By being aware of the signs of illness in cats and taking action when needed, you can help your feline friend live a long and healthy life. Remember that prevention is better than cure, and that regular check-ups can help detect any problems early. If you have any questions or concerns about your cat’s health, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian. They are your best ally in keeping your cat happy and healthy.
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