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

Cats will often try to hide their discomfort if they are sick due to their stoic nature. Our Carlsbad vets list some signs and symptoms that indicate your feline friend might be feeling under the weather. 

Symptoms of a Sick Cat

Like many animals, cats are great at hiding their discomfort if they are ill. Illness may not actually be apparent until your cat is feeling very unwell - that's why it's critical to visit your Carlsbad vet as soon as possible if you notice any of these signs or symptoms:

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

Knowing When Your Cat is Sick

Since you probably spend the most time with your cat, you know their mannerisms and nature well, and will likely be able to tell if something appears 'off'. Make sure to watch your cat for subtle behavior changes that others may not notice. Note any changes to your cat's usual demeanor, body language or smell. 

If you feel that something just doesn't seem right with your kitty, it's a good idea to bring them in for a comprehensive 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 illnesses 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 if Your Cat is Sick

If your cat is displaying any unusual behaviors it's worth a trip to the vet for an exam, 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.

If your cat isn't feeling their very best, Carlsbad Animal Hospital to book an appointment today

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Carlsbad Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced veterinary team would love to get to know you and your pet. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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