10 Signs Telling You Your Cat Is Really Sick

Cat with illness

Most of us are quick to recognize sniffles and snotty noses in the humans we come into contact with, but we fail to notice things like sick cats. Of course, our cats can’t make like our spouses and whine about sore throats and stuffy noses, congestion and the overall feeling of general yuck (not that we whine, right?). They’re not like the kids who beg to stay home from school making us totally and completely insane all day long with their inability to do anything for themselves now that they’re a little bit ill. They’re not able to vocalize what’s wrong with them, and we often don’t know.

Sadly, when we do notice that there is something not quite right with the cat’s behavior, it’s usually too late. We usually notice it when it’s gotten bad enough to become obvious, and that’s never a good sign. We can’t change the fact that our cats can’t tell us what the issue is, but we can change the fact that we don’t notice a little sooner. If we all take a few minutes each day to notice our cats and how they’re behavior seems to be affecting their mood that day, perhaps we can assume illness sooner and keep our cats healthier. Here are 10 very telling signs that your cat might be very sick.

Behavioral Changes

There is one thing that usually indicates something is not right with your cat, and that is behavioral changes. Is your cat suddenly a different cat than he or she was last week, or yesterday? We can’t tell you exactly how your cat’s behavior might change, only that you will notice a significant change in his or her behavior in comparison to what he or she is usually like. Since you know your cat, you will recognize this change in behavior.

Lethargic Behavior

When a cat becomes ill, he becomes very much like a human in that all he wants to do is lie down and rest. If your cat is suddenly not moving very much and does not have any energy to get up and get moving, it could be that he or she is ill. This sign might warrant a trip to the vet.

Inability to Eat

Cats love to eat, and they will do it every day. If your cat suddenly is not touching his or her food, it’s never a good sign. Even if you are suddenly serving something new and that cat might not love it so much, he or she will still eat some of it. If your cat neglects to eat anything, however, it’s a sign that illness might be present in your cat’s body. It’s time to get him or her to the vet.

Inability to Drink Water

Your cat might not eat or drink when sick, but it’s the drinking that’s a problem. Just like a human, your cat is prone to dehydration, and the last thing you want to happen to your cat is he or she losing too many fluids. This could cause even more health issues. If your cat is not drinking, and he or she is vomiting or suffering from diarrhea, it’s a good indicator that there is something wrong. If, for no other reason, get that cat to the vet to hook him up to IVs and get some fluids in his body.

Inability to Move

Illness comes in many forms, and some of those forms include the inability to move. Perhaps your cat is suddenly unable to move his or her legs or body because of an illness such as arthritis you don’t know exists yet. If you realize that your cat is unable to jump or move as he usually does, it’s time to get your feline friend checked out by the vet to eliminate those issues – or diagnose them.

Inability to Use the Litter Box

When a cat stops using the litter box, it’s not necessarily a sudden indicator that he or she is ill. If you have neglected to keep the litter box clean, the cat might simply choose not to use it because it’s not to his standards. Cats are like that. However, if the box is clean and there is no telling reason, it could indicate that your cat is unable to control his or her bladder or bowels due to illness.

Unpleasant Breath

Bad breath can mean so many things. It could indicate oral health issues, and oral health issues can lead to other health issues. Additionally, there are a few serious illnesses and diseases that change the smell of a cat’s breath. No matter what this might be, you have to get the cat checked out immediately as some of the diseases and illnesses that bad breath might represent are very dangerous.

Absence of Grooming

Cats are very particular about their appearance, and they like to groom. If your cat stops grooming, there could be an underlying issue going on. Get your cat to the vet to find out what it is before it is too late. There is no reason other than illness a cat might suddenly lose his desire to be clean and well groomed.

Sudden Clinginess

Like a child, a cat might want nothing more than to be on your lap or in your arms at all times when he or she is not feeling well. If you suspect that your cat is too clingy, it might be time to get him or her to the vet to find out what type of illness is causing this particular behavior.

Sudden Change in Vocalization

Some cats are loud, and some are very quiet. If your cat is suddenly very loud when he is usually a quiet cat or vice versa, you might be worried. Call the vet and ask to make an appointment to have him checked out. Some cats are unable to do anything but try and tell you that something is wrong. Let them speak – or not – and get them checked out.

Photo by Getty Images

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