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How to Tell if Your Cat Is Sick: Signs & Symptom

As a naturally predatory animal, cats are notorious for hiding any and all signs of illness. That makes it all the more important to monitor your cat for even the slightest changes in their behavior. In this post, you can read about common signs that your cat may be sick and when it is considered an emergency.

Should I Be Concerned That My Cat Might Be Sick?

Just as with humans and all other animals, there will be times when your cat is not feeling their best. Whether it's illnesses such as common and highly contagious cat colds (upper respiratory infections), to diabetes, feline immunodeficiency virus, feline leukemia virus, worms, hyperthyroidism and even cancer.

The specific symptoms that your cat is experiencing will help your vet determine the nature of the illness that your kitty is suffering from. That said, some symptoms are typical of many types of illnesses so diagnosis may require extra diagnostic testing also.

Below our vets in Tucson share a few signs that your cat is sick and that it might be time to book a vet appointment, as well as more serious symptoms that indicate that your cat is in need of emergency veterinary care.

What are the common symptoms of a sick cat?

Cats naturally will try to hide any signs that they may be sick in order to hide any potential weakness, this is common in most predatory animals. Although it may just be a passing bout of indigestion or a cold, it's also possible that your cat has a more serious condition that needs medical attention.

If you are noticing any signs that lead you to believe that your cat is sick of your cat there is a chance they might actually be much sicker than you think. Contact your vet to book an appointment if you notice any of the following symptoms.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation - especially if your cat appears to be in pain
  • Lethargy - sleeping more than usual
  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Weight changes - Sudden decrease or increase in weight
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Breathing issues, or changes in breathing
  • Runny eyes or nose, clear, green or white
  • Excessive shedding, bald patches, skin irritation
  • Blood in the urine
  • Changes in personality - in longer playful or refuses to go outside

What are some concerning symptoms in a sick cat?

While the symptoms listed above indicate that it's time to book a veterinary appointment for your sick cat, the symptoms listed below are much more serious. If your cat shows any of the following symptoms urgent veterinary care is required.

If you are unsure if your cat is experiencing an emergency, please contact our Tucson vets and we can help you determine what action to take.

  • Indications of severe pain - typically accompanied by loud crying or aggression
  • Seizure
  • Trauma
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Signs of pain while urinating
  • Discolored gums - blue, grey, white, or unusually pale
  • Bleeding that is moderate to extreme
  • Any exposure to poison
  • Vomiting blood
  • Unresponsiveness or unconsciousness
  • Unable to walk or signs of dizziness
  • Overly high or low temperatures - under 99° or over 104°

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your cat requires emergency or specialist care, contact our vets at Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson.

Emergency Care 7 Days a Week

Our board-certified critical care specialists and skilled emergency veterinarians are here for you and your pet. If your dog or cat needs emergency care, get in touch with us right away.

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Contact (520) 795-9955