Tuesday, June 21, 2022

How To Tell If My Cat Is Sick

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Are There Any Other Symptoms That Are Abnormal

How to tell if your cat is sick

It is not normal for a healthy cat to have any discharge from the nose, debris in the ears, excessive salivation, bad breath, or unusual odor from other parts of the body.

Vomiting, particularly vomiting of clear foamy fluid or bile-tinged material, is cause for alarm.

Gums, skin, or eyes that are pale may indicate anemia, while a yellow tint may indicate jaundice, and a bluish tint may indicate a lack of oxygen. Delaying treatment for these disorders, even by a few hours, can be fatal.

“If you have any concerns or questions about your cats health, visit or call your veterinarians office.”

Because signs of illness can be very subtle, if your cat does not seem right to you, err on the side of caution and to make an appointment for a veterinary examination as soon as possible. If you make it a habit to give your cat a general once-over on a regular basis, you will have an idea of what is normal and will be more likely to catch minor problems before they become major health issues. If your cat will not eat for more than 24 hours, or if you notice any breathing problems, straining in the litterbox, or abnormalities in eyes, seek immediate veterinary attention. If you have any concerns or questions about your cats health, visit or call your veterinarians office they are your best and most reliable resource to ensure your pets wellbeing and health.

Contributors: Tammy Hunter, DVM Cheryl Yuill, DVM, MSc, CVH

Change In Grooming Habits

You can tell that your cat is sick if you notice a striking change in grooming habits. If you see a lack of grooming, it can be a sign of skin diseases.

Over grooming can be the sign of pain, allergies or skin parasites such as fleas. When you are providing cat care, you need to observe all these subtle signs.

Read: First Time Cat Owners: Important Things to do Before Bringing a Cat Home

Increase Or Decrease In Activity

Your cats activity level should fluctuate to a certain extent, but any sudden or obvious changes likely signal a larger issue. If you notice a dramatic increase in a middle-aged or older cat, this is likely a symptom of a thyroid issue. Likewise, if an otherwise very active younger cat suddenly loses interest in playing, they may be exhibiting symptoms of arthritis or other joint problems.

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When To Say Goodbye To Your Dying Cat

So how do you know when its time to say goodbye to your dying cat? Choosing to let your furry friend go is one of the hardest decisions in pet ownership, especially when you are unaware of the signs to look for.

To help you make the most informed decision for your cat, we will get into the signs of when you know its time to say goodbye.

  • No longer eating
  • Chronic vomiting or diarrhea that wont resolve
  • Extremely weak or always sleeping
  • No longer getting up to use the litterbox
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • No longer responding to supplementary veterinary care

If your cat is experiencing any of the above symptoms, it may be their way of telling you they are ready to let go.

Euthanizing your cat can be the kindest thing you can do for them at this point, as they may only continue to suffer as the time passes. If you are ever unsure of what is best for your feline friend, your veterinarian can offer the guidance you need.

Saying goodbye to our feline companions is hard, but it can be the purest form of love when they begin to suffer. Be sure to review the information we discussed above on the signs of a dying cat, and you can better understand your senior cat going forward.

Abnormal Litter Box Activity

How to Know if My Cat is Sick

Cat owners rarely look forward to cleaning out the litter box, but doing so on a regular basis is a simple way to monitor your cats health. Any changes in your cats excrement frequency, color, consistency, etc. should be reported to your veterinarian. This may sound silly, but you should also pay attention to how your cat uses the litterbox if you notice that it makes strange sounds or begins to leave its waste outside of the litterbox then these issues should also be brought to your veterinarian. All of the above could be signs of a urinary tract disease, urinary blockage, bladder infection, or digestive issue.

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Is He Eating Drinking Urinating Or Defecating More Or Less Than Normal

Cats who dont feel well usually dont want to eat. Some illnesses, however, can cause increased appetite, so dont ignore your suddenly ravenous cat. Increased thirst and urination may indicate kidney disease, diabetes or other illness. Frequent, sudden attempts to urinate, especially if only small amounts are produced or if accompanied by signs of pain , may indicate a urinary tract infection or blockage. Inability to urinate is a life-threatening emergency that is all too common in cats, especially males.

How Can I Tell If My Cat Is Sick

When cats aren’t feeling well they will often hide themselves away, making if difficult for even the most attentive cat owners to know when their feline friend is sick. Here our Winston-Salem vets at Animal Hospital of Clemmons share a few signs and symptoms that could mean your cat needs to visit the vet.

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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 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.

A Sick Cat Might Exhibit Changes In Litter Box Habits

How to tell if your Cat is sick and in pain | Cat sickness sign & symptoms | Common diseases in Cats

Cats with painful backs and hips may have trouble using the litter box as well as they used to. Holding the appropriate positions for peeing and pooping can be very difficult for a sick cat with sore hips or knees. Kissy peed up the side of the box and got urine on the floor and walls, for example, because her bad knee made it too painful for her to maintain the usual pee squat.

Tell us: Are there other subtle cat pain signs that youve noticed? Please share them in the comments.

Thumbnail: Photography by Nikolay Bassov | Shutterstock.

This piece was originally published in 2015.

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Shes Turning His Nose Up On Her Favorite Food

Your kitty goes crazy when you bring home a new bag of kitty kibble, but if she hasnt shown much interest lately, take note. A decreased appetite could indicate many things like an underlying infection, cancer, or maybe their choppers are bothering them. Cats have a wide array of dental issues including gingivitis, periodontitis, and stomatitis which lead to resorption of many tooth roots. Cats also suffer from a build-up of dental tartar and fractured teeth, says Dr. Rossman. Dont ever feed your pets these 11 foods.

How Do I Know If My Cat Is In Pain

For cats, pain encompasses more than just the I hurt sensation, but also the overall distress that it can cause. As the World Small Animal Associations Global Pain Council puts it:

Pain is a complex multi-dimensional experience involving sensory and affective components. In other words, pain is not just about how it feels, but how it makes you feel, and it is those unpleasant feelings that cause the suffering we associate with pain.

As a pet parent, you want an easy way to tell if your cat is in pain. As a veterinarian, I want the same thing.

I wish I had tools to help my patients, like the facial expression scale physicians for people. But you cant just say, Okay Frisky, just put your paw on the face that best expresses how you feel today.

Instead, we have to rely on a cats behavior to evaluate pain.

Fortunately, weve received a little help in this regard with the publication of a paper entitled, Behavioural Signs of Pain in Cats: An Expert Consensus.

Lets take a look at what the experts have to say about the signs of pain in cats.

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Is He Acting Differently

The most common sign of illness in some cats is hiding in a quiet, out-of-the-way place. Sick cats often lie quietly in a hunched position.

They might neglect grooming. They may be purring, which cats do not only when theyre happy, but also when theyre sick or in pain. A cat with breathing difficulties may refuse to lie on his side and may keep his head raised. Cats with neurological problems may be confused, have seizures or press their heads into furniture or walls. This is not the head butting that cats do on your leg affectionately but rather prolonged pressing on a surface.

My Cat Keeps Throwing Up Are Fur Balls To Blame

How to Tell If My Cat is Sick and How to Take Care of Them?

Cats often vomit up hairballs. They develop these in their stomach through fastidious grooming. The fur they swallow cant be digested and often ends up forming into a congealed lump. These lumps of hair can be dangerous as they can lead to blockages and irritations. Owners can do their bit to prevent hairballs both being thrown up and being stuck in the digestive tract by introducing a strict brushing regime to remove loose fur.

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How To Comfort A Dying Cat

Some cats prefer relative isolation when they are dying, meaning they prefer to hide in a quiet place. Respect this whenever possible. Other cats want the comfort of their human or animal family, and thats fine, too. Follow your cats lead.

  • A dying cat needs quiet and calm. Keep household noise to a minimum and if practical, move the cat to a quieter part of the house away from the everyday hustle and bustle such as their favourite humans bedroom. Dim the lights, and turn televisions and radios down.
  • Stay with the cat and talk quietly and calmly as they are dying, your presence will calm them.
  • If the cat has a canine or feline companion, allow them to be with the cat if that is what the dying cat wants, unless the cat has a highly infectious disease.
  • An immobile cat can develop pressure sores, ensure they have a cozy and well-cushioned bed.
  • Keep fresh water available and close to the cats bed. Offer food on your finger.

What Changes Would I See In Overall Appearance

Cats that are not feeling well may just look a little off. The cat might sit in a hunched position, might not move as gracefully as before, might not lift its head properly, might have a head tilt, or might carry its tail in a different way than normal. Sometimes there is not any one thing that stands out, but instead a variety of subtle changes.

Dehydration is a common problem in cats that are not well. To see if your cat is dehydrated, gently grasp her skin near her shoulder blades, pull it up and away from her body, then let go. The skin should snap back into place right away skin that does not snap back into place, but stays tented up usually indicates dehydration, a condition that needs to be treated right away.

Cats that have some sort of chronic illness may develop slow and subtle weight loss that is only obvious when you actually run your hands along the ribs and spine. Cats that suddenly lose weight, particularly if they were previously overweight, are usually suffering from some sort of metabolic disease such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism.

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You Are Your Cats Most Important Healthcare Provider

You probably already spend too much time gazing at your cats. Its not time wasted, for many reasons, not the least of which is that doing so has made you an astute observer of her body language, energy level, way of moving, activities, and personality.

No one knows him better than you. Read that sentence 11 times if you have to. If you think something is wrong with your cat, dont doubt yourself. Health problems, caught early, are often easier, faster, and cheaper to fix, and some are only possible to fix if caught early.

Some problems are easier to notice: if your cat is sitting in a hunched position, not lifting her head, she may look sick . Some problems are more subtle, like weight loss, which can happen so gradually that youre eventually shocked to find out its happened at all. And some cats seem perversely well when they are sick. Did you know that cats will purr not only when they are happy, but when they are sick or in pain as well? Read Why do cats purr? for more information.

Dont write off personality changes as your cat being suddenly pesky or unfriendly or demanding. Some cats may become withdrawn and hide when they are feeling unwell, while others become more clingy or cranky or needy. Remember who your cat is: is she normally playful, but is suddenly sleeping more? Is she normally relaxed, but is now restless, howling, or waking you up at night? Is your friendly cat suddenly shy and anxious? Trust what you know about the cat you love.

You Noticed A Lump While Petting Her

How to Know If Your Cat Is Sick | Cat Care

Lumps, bumps, discolored skin, visible tumors, and other masses are common cat cancer signs, according to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. Other symptoms you shouldnt ignore are difficulty breathing and eating, abdominal swelling, persistent diarrhea, or vomiting and bleeding from the mouth, nose, or other body openings. A biopsy is necessary to confirm the diagnosis. Its a frightening thing to discover your cat has cancer but some cancers like lymphoma are responsive to treatment and there are ways to manage pain and give them comfort. Next, check out these cat adoption photos that will melt your heart.

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Is His Gum Color Off

If you suspect a problem, check the gums. They should be a deep pink, and if you press with your thumb, they should return to pink within two seconds after you lift your thumb. Very pale gums or slow repinking may indicate anemia, shock or poor circulation. Bluish gums or tongue can mean a life-threatening lack of oxygen. Bright red gums may indicate overheating or carbon monoxide poisoning, and yellow gums are a symptom of jaundice. Tiny red splotches may indicate a blood-clotting problem. Tooth and gum problems often cause bad breath and pain, with redness around the gumline.

Cat Has Lack Of Energy

When our cats are nearing the end of their life, they will often experience a lack of energy. They may not be as willing to do things they once loved, and you may find them sleeping the days away.

If its becoming harder and harder to get your cat up and moving each day, you may need to discuss your cats quality of life with your veterinarian.

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Issues With Eyes Or Ears

A healthy cat should have bright, clear eyes with pupils that match in size. A cloudy film or varying sized pupils can be signs your cat is sick. Discharge from the eyes can also indicate common cat diseases or issues, like infections or parasites.

Your cats ears should be free of any discharge. In addition, they shouldnt show any signs of redness, discoloration, or inflammation. If you notice any problems with your cats eye or ears, have your veterinarian take a look to figure out the cause.

Why Wont My Cat Eat

How do I know if my cat is sick?

One of the biggest indicators of illness in cat? A change in appetite. A decrease in appetite could be caused by infection or liver disease, according to Newfield. If your cat is eating well but losing weight, youll want to watch out for that too. It can be a sign of early diabetes, hyperthyroidism or even cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.

Likewise, youll want to monitor thirst levels, Chambreau said. Drinking excessively or barely drinking any water can also be an indicator that your cat isnt feeling well.

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Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases

If your cat has contracted a FLUTD, you may notice them drinking more water, lacking appetite, having difficulty urinating and going in unusual places, possibly blood in the urine, and licking their bottom to relieve pain. A urinary disease can be serious, so by all means get them checked.

Particularly at-risk are cats who are overweight or who eat dry food. Sudden changes, stress, and living in a multiple-cat household are also contributing factors.

What Can I Do If My Cat Is Being Sick

If your cat has been sick once or twice but otherwise appears well:

  • Remove food for two hours, but continue to provide water
  • After this time, try offering a teaspoon of their usual food or bland low-fat cooked food such as chicken or white fish
  • If they keep this down, offer small amounts every few hours for thenext 24 hours
  • Then go back to your usual routine

If this does not resolve the sickness and you are concerned about your cat vomiting repeatedly, call your vet or, out of hours, your nearest Vet Now emergency clinic or 24/7 hospital immediately.

You should also contact your vet if:

  • Your cat cannot keep water down
  • Has blood or unusual material in her vomit
  • Has pale or cold gums
  • Is displaying signs of listlessness, diarrhoea, fever, or another illness

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