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Is Your Cat Sick? 6 Symptoms Your Cat Needs to See the Vet

Blank 2000 x 1500 (52)Is your kitty feeling a little off? Check out if they have these 6 signs of a sick cat!

Cats have an independent nature and try to hide their problems until they become serious. So, it becomes necessary for cat owners to keep an eye on their cats' food intake, cat litter behavior, and physical appearance.

Fortunately, with advancements in science and research, most diseases can be treated, and cats can live healthy, happy lives after recovery. But treatment must be initiated in a timely manner.

I have spent a couple days consulting my vet team about cat illnesses. As vets, they have noticed that pet parents often overlook signs of illness in cats, and the disease may progress, sometimes leading to fatal consequences. They cannot stress enough that knowing the symptoms of a sick cat and early intervention can be lifesaving. That is why I decided to put together this article to help my fellow cat parents!

Early diagnosis and treatment can lead to better cat health, potentially adding years to the life of your feline friend.

Cats show different signs in case of various illnesses. Here are the 6 most common symptoms you have a sick cat:

  •         Change in Behavior
  •         Lethargy
  •         Increased or Decreased Appetite
  •         Vomiting or Abnormal Feces
  •         Respiratory Issues
  •         Physical changes

Depositphotos_108964210_L(Image from Deposit Photos)

Symptoms of a Sick Cat

Just like humans, cats can fall prey to different illnesses over time. But unlike humans, cats can’t take care of themselves, so pet parents are responsible for providing veterinary care to sick cats. It’s a good idea to know the symptoms of a sick cat, so you can get help for your cat as quickly as possible.

Apart from vet visits, knowing what's normal and what's abnormal for your cat helps you improve the quality of their life and extend your cat's lifespan. Early intervention also increases the chances of your cat's recovery.

Screenshot 2023-05-02 195520Changes in Behavior

Cats can’t speak to tell us they’re unwell. Instead, they try to do so through their behavior. Common behavioral changes in sick cats include aggression, hiding, and lack of interest in routine activities.

Changes in litter box behavior (for example, urinating and defecating more frequently or difficulty passing feces or urine) can be a warning sign for urinary tract infection.

Depositphotos_43676561_L(Image from Deposit Photos)


If your cat seems sleepy and low in energy, your cat may be sick. Cats suffering from any health problem often appear devoid of energy and enthusiasm and just like to lie around most of the time. If your cat is not as active as it usually used to be, you should consult your vet.

Increased or Decreased Appetite

Cats suffering from any health problem often show decreased appetite. This results in low energy levels and a weakened immune system that can further worsen the condition.

"If your cat hasn't eaten properly in 24 hours, contact your vet immediately."

But loss of appetite should not be considered a universal sign of illness because cats may show increased appetite and excessive thirst in some health problems. These include kidney problems, intestinal parasites, and hyperthyroidism.

You should give your cat an appropriate amount of feed to avoid obesity or weakness. Being a responsible cat owner, keep an eye on the feed intake of your kitty.

Vomiting or Abnormal Feces

Gastrointestinal problems in cats manifest themselves primarily through vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms of GIT problems can be blood in feces and halitosis (bad breath). Bad breath is a common sign of periodontal disease in cats. You should check the color and consistency of your cat's feces regularly. 

Respiratory Issues

Difficulty in breathing, coughing, or wheezing can be signs of respiratory or heart problems. Heartworms or allergies can also cause a cat to have abnormal breathing. Research has proven that heartworms can cause cardiorespiratory abnormalities in cats.  

You should contact your vet to diagnose the actual problem and treat it. Some respiratory issues require immediate veterinary attention and can be life-threatening if timely care is not provided.

Physical Changes

Changes in the coat quality, sudden weight loss or gain, the appearance of lumps, etc., are some of the physical changes that can be noticed easily and show that not everything is fine with your cat. Different health conditions have different signs in a sick cat. For instance, poor coat quality can be due to Ectoparasites, weight changes can be attributed to thyroid problems, and the appearance of lumps or bumps on the body can be due to tumors or cancer. In any case, your vet is the best person to consult with.


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The Bottom Line

No pet parent would want to see his/her cat sick and suffering. It is rightly said that healthy cats are happy cats. When it comes to maintaining a cat's health, regular checkups with your veterinarian are crucial. Vet visits not only help you keep your cat updated on vaccinations but also help in detecting underlying medical conditions.

If you're a cat owner, knowing the symptoms of a sick cat is very important. These can help you improve the life quality of your pet and potentially add years to its life because timely intervention increases chances of recovery. If you notice any of these signs of distress, you should consult your veterinarian. Your knowledge and timely action can save the life of your cat!