Is My Cat Sick?

CatChannel veterinary expert, Arnold Plotnick, DVM, describes how changes in behavior could mean signs of illness.

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Q: I have a 19-year-old, female calico cat. She has been skinny throughout her whole life. She hardly is eating, and whenever I leave the room she will meow until I come back. She also has been sleeping more and drinking water more often. Is my cat sick?

A: What you describe is not normal behavior. Drinking a lot of water is often a sign of illness. So is weight loss and poor appetite. The classic signs of kidney failure are drinking a lot, urinating a lot, decreased appetite, weight loss, and sometimes vomiting. You’d be hard-pressed to find a 19-year-old cat that didn’t have some degree of kidney failure. Hyperthyroidism and diabetes are other causes for weight loss and excessive thirst, however, these two disorders usually (but not always) cause an increase in appetite. Regardless, you should have your cat examined by a veterinarian. A few simple blood tests are probably all that is needed for your veterinarian to make a diagnosis.

Regards,
Arnold Plotnick, DVM

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Reader Comments

nan    new britain, NV

8/2/2013 9:01:53 AM

Good info. Would have like more info.

DAWN    PACE, FL

10/19/2010 5:08:16 AM

MY CAT HAS BEEN SLEEPING FOR 2 DAYS NOW IS HE SICK

angie    shreveport, LA

3/31/2010 4:47:47 PM

my cat has a whitish discharge coming from her pee area. Can you please tell me what that is?

THERESA    DAYTON, OH

11/10/2009 9:36:19 AM

MY DUSTY IS A BEAUTIFUL LONG BLACK HAIRED CAT , SHE IS 17 YEARS OLD. SHE HAS A PROBLEM WITH CONSTANTLY LOSING HER COAT AROUND HER TAIL, ONLY IN THE WINTER AND SHE DIGS AT HER SKIN AS IF IT IS ALWAYS ITCHING. SHE SEEMS MISERABLE SOMETIMES. I'VE TRIED TAKING HER TO THE VET AND THEY SAID IT WAS AN ALLERGY TO FLEAS, BUT SHE IS AN INDOOR CAT, ONE OF 4. NONE OF THE OTHER CATS HAS THE PROBLEM. WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY GIRL!

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