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How can I tell if my cat is sick?

How can I tell if my cat is sick?

If your feline friend isn't feeling well they will show subtle changes in behavior and energy level, but our Richmond vets know that these changes can be difficult for pet parents to detect. That's why it's important to monitor your kitty's health and watch for these signs of common cat illnesses.

Is my cat sick?

Much like people cats can suddenly find themselves feeling unwell. Cat illnesses range from common and highly contagious cat colds (upper respiratory infections), to diabetes, feline immunodeficiency virus, feline leukemia virus, worms, hyperthyroidism and even cancer.

Of course, the symptoms that your cat shows will depend upon the kind of illness they are suffering from however there are a number of symptoms that are common to many health issues in cats.

Below our vets from Broad Street Veterinary Hospital share a few signs that can mean it's 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 signs of a sick cat?

Cats possess a natural instinct to hide if they are sick or injured, so it's important to monitor your cat's behavior to watch for anything that seems out of the ordinary for your kitty. 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.

Cats hide pain and illness well, so what looks like a minor issue could be the sign of something more serious. 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

Do I need to rush my cat to the emergency vet?

While the symptoms listed above indicate that it's time to book a veterinary appointment for your 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 unclear whether your cat's symptoms are indicative of an emergency, you can call us and we can help you decide.

  • 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 is showing signs of illness it's time to head to the vet. Contact our Richmond vets at Broad Street Veterinary Hospital to book an examination for your cat, or contact your nearest veterinary emergency hospital for urgent care.

Looking for a new vet? We are accepting new patients! 

(804) 353-4491