7 Signs Your Cat Is Sick

These symptoms indicate an emergency that requires immediate
veterinary attention.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM

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Although some situations can be managed at home, others require immediate veterinary attention. These emergency signs indicate your cat is sick and needs immediate veterinary assessment:

1. Non-responsiveness: A non-responsive kitten is usually in serious trouble. If you get no response or reaction when you call, stroke or touch your kitten, immediately check her breathing. Airway obstruction, cardiac arrest and poisonings are a few things that can cause non-responsiveness.

2. Labored breathing: Respiratory problems require immediate attention. Fluid in the lungs or the chest cavity can cause breathing problems and kittens can go into respiratory arrest, followed by cardiac arrest, if untreated.

3. Drooling profusely: Electric cord burns to the mouth and tongue, contact with household poisons or plants and nausea from other systemic illnesses can cause excessive drooling.

4. Incessant vomiting: Serious electrolyte abnormalities and dehydration can occur from continuous vomiting. Intestinal obstruction from a ribbon, rubber band or string is a common cause of chronic vomiting in kittens and requires immediate attention.

5. Profuse diarrhea: Diarrhea can cause severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances leading to rapid deterioration in kittens if not addressed promptly.

6. Abnormal coloration of the gums: Pale gums imply anemia, bluish gums suggest a cardiac or respiratory problem and yellow gums denote red blood cell destruction or severe liver disease. All of these conditions require immediate assessment by a veterinarian.

7. Fever: Fevers in kittens often are caused by infectious conditions. Fever increases kittens' fluid requirements and often depresses their appetite. Malnutrition and dehydration prove a dangerous combination. Kittens with a temperature greater than 103 degrees Fahrenheit should be examined promptly.
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Reader Comments

Arlene Sugerman    Mesa, AZ

7/27/2014 12:26:06 PM

My 1 yr old longhair who is always ready to eat, stopped eating and is lethargic. I tried butter and she licked a little but stopped. Just lays on the floor.

Hugo    Queens, NY

4/20/2014 10:51:49 AM

thank you you helped alot & found that our cat might have fever

Joey    Irvine, CA

12/5/2012 12:49:55 PM


CatChannel Editor    Irvine, CA

12/4/2012 5:12:14 PM

Patricia -- This sounds like a case for a vet. Talk to them about your limited funds and see if there is a payment plan that you can work out. The tinsel could be the problem, but further damage might have occurred. You can also discuss this with other cat owners on our forum at CatChannel.com/Forum

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