Common Signs of Illness to Look for in Cats

    You undoubtedly want to do all you can to safeguard your cat’s health if you’re a dedicated cat lover. Cats, however, can’t tell us when they’re sick, so it’s up to us to search for indications that anything is wrong. The sooner you detect an issue, the sooner it may be resolved.

    It’s also essential to remember that prevention is always preferable than treatment. Getting your cat vaccinated is the best thing you can do for their health. This will help to protect your cat from some of the most serious but easily avoidable illnesses that cats can get. Many vets give complete vaccine packages that keep your cat protected against illnesses such as rabies and feline leukemia (also known as FeLV).

    Vaccinating your cat, although an essential preventive step, does not guard against every feline health issue; however, so here are a few of the key indications that your cat isn’t feeling well and may need a checkup. 

    Appetite Changes

    If you notice your cat suddenly eating a lot more or a lot less food, this may be a sign of something wrong. Cats with dental problems may have difficulty eating, while cats with liver or renal disorders often have a reduced appetite. If your cat is eating more than normal, it may indicate diabetes or hyperthyroidism.


    Grooming habits in cats reveal a lot about their health. If your cat is feeling sick, they may begin to ignore themselves and their own hygiene, and you might notice their coat getting oily, matted, or clumpy. On the opposite end of the scale, over-grooming can result in bald patches and red, raw skin. This will often indicate the presence of parasites such as fleas or mites. It may also be an indication of stress. Some stressed cats are actually bored, which is why playing with them is important; read this awesome blog post on how to exercise your cat, as this will help give you some helpful ideas on how to entertain your pet. 

    Changing Litterbox Habits

    Your cat’s litterbox is a reliable indication of their health. Keep an eye on how often your cat uses their litterbox, as both too frequently and not frequently enough may be problematic. Diarrhea and constipation are both symptoms of a health problem. Hard, dry feces can be an early sign of renal illness, so notify your vet if this is the case. Too much or too little urine can also be caused by health concerns such as kidney, bladder, or liver disorders. According to the ASPCA, cats can die from a lack of urine, so take your cat to the vet as soon as you detect this symptom.


    When a cat isn’t feeling well, he or she may become less sociable and withdraw into their own area. They may also feel drowsy and sleep more than usual. If your normally social or active cat suddenly hides away and avoids you or is unusually lethargic, this may be an indication that something is wrong. If this behavior persists for more than a few days, or if you notice any other symptoms, take your cat to the vet so that they can examine them to find out what is causing these behavioral changes.

    Main Photo by Kate Stone Matheson.


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