How Can I Tell if My Cat Is Sick?

CatChannel expert Jeanne Adlon, professional cat sitter, discusses signs of sickness that call for cats' vet visits.

By Jeanne Adlon | Posted: May 13, 2011, 3 a.m. EDT

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Q: How can I tell if my cat is sick?

A: If you know your cat, you will notice if his behavior changes — especially your cat's eating and drinking habits. During one of my recent house calls, I noticed that one cat was drinking a lot of water. I visited twice, and on the first one the cat's water bowl was dry when I arrived. I thought his owners had not filled it up before they left so I filled it and added another full bowl just to be sure. On my second visit, one water bowl was empty and the other was already down by half. The cat’s owners seemed surprised when I told them about how much he was drinking. It seems they were both filling the water bowl so neither knew how much was being consumed. The owners took the cat to the vet right away and the vet diagnosed the cat with hyperthyroid disease. The cat is now doing well on medication.

The following are some signs that your kitty may be having a problem:
  • If your cat is unusually irritable, is hiding or has a noticed drop in energy, your cat might be ill.

  • Changes in your cat's eating or drinking habits could mean hyperthyroid disease or diabetes.

  • Excessive thirst, drinking and urinating might signal kidney problems, especially in older cats.

  • Going to the litterbox more often and straining to go can be very serious — there could be a blockage. Please take your cat to the vet immediately if he is straining.

  • Loss of appetite could signal cats' digestive problems.

  • Oily fur or overly dry fur with excessive mats can mean your cat has stopped grooming. Healthy cats are very good about grooming.

  • Cats drooling or having bad breath can signal dental disease.

  • If you notice anything abnormal or feel something is wrong, please take your cat to the vet. It is much better to be safe than sorry with our wonderful feline friends. 
As always I welcome your comments and stories.

See more articles by Jeanne Adlon>>

 

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Reader Comments

kayla    International

2/5/2014 12:26:24 PM

this article was very helpful and I think my kitten is sick. I will talk about that to my vet.
I also noticed that most of my cats are drooling. I will work with them to resolve this.

Shirley    Tucson, AZ

5/19/2011 4:00:25 AM

Good article and thank you for the tips.

karen    cheektowaga, NY

5/18/2011 12:42:31 PM

Good advise !!! Take the cat to the vet !!!

Jeanna    Rocky Face, GA

5/18/2011 6:22:32 AM

Great advice!

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