How do I know if my cat is sick?

Cat owners know how painful it is to see their cat sick. We all make the mistake of delaying vet appointments which lead to late detection of diseases. This often happens because illnesses in cats are nearly impossible to detect. Cats are masters at hiding their illnesses. Cats do not understand the relation with an illness. Therefore, they consider it as something normal and keep suffering in pain.

It is tricky to detect whether your cat is sick or not. But it isn’t rocket science, you can easily detect it by paying extra attention to your cat. Regular visits to the vet may help in early detection. Here are some tips to tell if your cat is sick or not:

Toilet issues

It is an alarming sign if your cat is facing litter box issues for the first time in its life. Cats who are trained to use the litter box never make a mess out of their litter box. Such issues could be due to serious health issues such as kidney diseases, urinary tract issues, and bladder stones.

Diarrhea and constipation are also symptoms of underlying diseases. Diarrhea could occur due to dietary indiscretion, intestinal parasites, food poisoning, or a change in diet. Diarrhea leads to dehydration which reduces the immunity of your cat. Therefore, immediately contact your vet if you notice excessive diarrhea. Constipation is similar to diarrhea as it also indicates serious problems. Constipation is usually due to internal blockage in some part of your cat’s body. If you notice that your cat is not defecating normally, and shows pain while defecating then your cat is severely sick. This results in weight loss and breathing issues. Therefore, it should be treated as soon as possible.

Excessive urination or not urinating at all indicates kidney stones or urinary tract blockage. If your cat has urination difficulties due to pain then it is an emergency. Other than that, blood in stool or urine also indicates minor and major problems. Hence, take your pet to the vet as soon as possible.


Vomiting is a clear sign that your feline friend is sick. If you notice that your cat is vomiting for hours or more than a day then take it to your vet immediately. If your cat is vomiting blood then it indicates a serious illness. Vomiting food right after eating indicates digestive issues. Hence, vomiting episodes shouldn’t be ignored, and should be treated immediately. Immediate actions could prevent a dangerous event in the future.


Lung diseases, heart diseases, asthma, tumor, and other infections could be indicated by coughing. It could be a simple flu as well. Hence, check with your vet if your cat couldn’t stop coughing.

Skin irritation

Skin irritation and hair loss always indicate underlying diseases in animals (10 home remedies to prevent dog hair fall). It could be an allergic reaction to any product or could be skin cancer. Skin problems leave your cat in immense pain; therefore, treat it at your earliest.

Behavioral changes

If your cat has been acting odd lately then it is time to take an action. Sudden irritability, aggression, confusion, disorientation, or afraid of everyone indicates a serious matter. This could be your cat’s way of expressing its agony and pain. Therefore, if your cat is acting differently and has trouble sleeping then an immediate trip to the vet’s clinic is mandatory.

Breathing issues

Shortness of breath, rapid breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or difficulty in breathing are serious signs of dangerous diseases. Shortness of breath could be due to COVID-19. COVID-19 affects cats as well. Breathing issues along with bad breath indicate serious illness. Bad breath is a sign of dental issues that then lead to heart and lung diseases. Therefore, if your cat is unable to breathe properly or smells bad then take it to the emergency room as soon as possible.


Loss of appetite or increased appetite shouldn’t be ignored. Loss of appetite could indicate a serious health threat if your cat has completely stopped eating. Whereas increased appetite could be due to diseases such as hypothyroidism. Therefore, never ignore such signs. Increased appetite could result in obesity as well. Obesity is a host of several other diseases. Thus, anything out of the ordinary needs professional help as you cannot predict anything on your own. Take proper action by taking your cat to the vet before it’s too late.

Fluctuating weight

Fluctuating weight is always an alarming sign. If you notice a sudden weight gain or loss, you need to reevaluate everything about your cat. A sudden weight loss indicates serious underlying diseases such as cancer. Whereas a sudden gain could be due to cholesterol issues, heart diseases or diabetes. Weight gain leads to obesity which results in several other health issues. Therefore, always check with your vet if you notice sudden changes in your cat’s weight.

Sluggish behavior

Is your cat sleeping a lot lately? Cats have no means to express their sufferings; therefore, such changes indicate problems. If your cat seems to lose interest in everything, pays no attention to grooming, and rarely plays then there must be something serious. Book an appointment with your vet immediately if you notice such signs.


The above-mentioned signs should be considered properly when you are a cat owner. Before taking your cat to a vet, carefully observe your cat. This observation could help you judge your cat better. Cats have a routine and a pattern. If you notice anything out of order or pattern, call your vet immediately. Any of the above-mentioned signs or a combination of such signs indicate serious health threats. Other than that, you are a better judge of your cat. If you think your cat is in pain or might be suffering then you are probably right. The only way to help your cat is to take a cue and act accordingly. It is a difficult task to detect illnesses in cats, but you can easily do it with a little effort. Hence, immediate actions are essential to prevent irreparable losses. 

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