Health & Wellness

Sick Cat? 5 Main Signs

By Odie Blog Editors on May 21, 2021

We all want our pets to stay healthy and happy for as long as possible. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to spot when your cat falls ill. Cats have evolved to hide their vulnerabilities from other animals, including their owners. So by the time you notice something’s wrong, your cat may have been sick for a long, long time. That’s why it’s important to monitor changes in your cat’s mood, body language, and behavior. If you have a gut feeling that something’s off, then that’s a good enough reason to take your cat to the vet for a check-up. Remember: early detection and treatment is the best way to prevent a potential sickness from getting worse. Today, we’ve compiled a list of 5 common symptoms of illness in cats, so you know what to watch out for.

Vomiting

If your cat coughs up the occasional hairball, then this is not an issue. However, if your cat is vomiting every few days, then this could be a major cause of concern. Frequent vomiting could be a sign that your cat is suffering from gastrointestinal issues, likely due to a virus, parasite, or bacterial infection.

Changes in appetite

It’s common for your cat to skip a meal here and there. However, if your cat stops eating entirely, or eats only small amounts of food, you should see a vet. A complete loss of appetite could be a sign of hepatic lipidosis, a serious liver condition in which fat cells build up in the liver. Hepatic lipidosis, if left untreated, could be fatal. Increased appetite, on the other hand, could be a symptom of hypothyroidism, especially if you have an older cat. While increased appetite is common in young, growing kittens, you should always monitor the amount of food your cat is eating to prevent obesity.

Diarrhea

Your cat could be experiencing diarrhea for a variety of reasons. Sudden changes in diet can cause gastrointestinal issues in cats. If you’re thinking of switching your cat’s food, make sure you introduce it slowly into their diet. On the other hand, diarrhea could also be a sign that your cat has eaten something poisonous or toxic, or been infected by a stomach bug. Chronic diarrhea is particularly concerning because it can be a sign of a life-threatening disease. If your cat is experiencing diarrhea regularly, contact your vet to find a treatment.

Discharge from eyes, nose, or ears

If your cat is leaking strange-colored discharge from its eyes and nose, then this could be a sign of a respiratory infection. An ear infection, on the other hand, can usually be spotted with brown discharge. Otitis is a common cat disease that causes inflammation in the ear canal. Not only is it painful for your cat, but this condition could also cause an eardrum to burst if left untreated.

Bad breath

While cat breath isn’t supposed to smell like a relaxing candle, if your pet’s breath consistently makes you want to hold your nose, then this could be a sign of a dental issue. Periodontal disease, an infection that results from plaque buildup on the gums, is the most common cause of bad breath in cats. Luckily, periodontal disease can easily be prevented with consistent teeth brushing, or by feeding your cat a specific dental diet that reduces plaque and freshens breath. 

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