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

Sometimes cats become ill but it can be hard to tell since they can only show subtle changes in behavior and energy level.  In this post, our Pleasant Hill vets will explain the signs and symptoms of a sick cat.

Is my cat sick?

Spotting the early signs of sickness in your cat can be tricky. Since cats can't verbally express their feelings, cat owners need to take note of their cat's behavior. Bring your cat in for regular checkups to make sure they are continually healthy. Cat illnesses range from common and highly contagious cat colds to diabetes, feline immunodeficiency virus, feline leukemia virus, worms, hyperthyroidism, and even cancer.

The signs and symptoms that your cat shows will depend upon the kind of illness they are suffering from however several symptoms are common to many health issues in cats.

Below, our vets from Diablo View Veterinary Medical 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 needs emergency veterinary care.

Signs of a Sick Cat

Cats have an 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 a sign of something more serious. Contact your vet to book an appointment if you notice any of the following symptoms.

  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation - especially if your cat appears to be in pain
  • Lethargy - sleeping more than usual
  • Weight changes - Sudden decrease or increase in weight
  • Increased thirst
  • Blood in the urine
  • Increased urination
  • Breathing issues, or changes in breathing
  • Runny eyes or nose, clear, green or white
  • Excessive shedding, bald patches, skin irritation
  • Changes in personality - in longer playful or refuses to go outside

Signs of a Veterinary Emergency 

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.

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Signs of pain while urinating
  • Discolored gums - blue, grey, white, or unusually pale
  • Indications of severe pain - typically accompanied by loud crying or aggression
  • Seizure
  • Trauma
  • Bleeding that is moderate to extreme
  • Vomiting blood
  • Unresponsiveness or unconsciousness
  • Unable to walk or signs of dizziness
  • Any exposure to poison
  • Overly high or low temperatures - under 99° or over 104°

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.

Is your cat sick? Contact our Pleasant Hill vets right away to book an appointment for your feline friend.

New Patients Welcome

Diablo View Veterinary Medical Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced veterinarians are passionate about the health of Pleasant Hill companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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