Cats can certainly be mysterious, but if they’re suffering from an unknown illness or injury their behavior may be more confusing. Because cats are hardwired to mask any signs of weakness, it can be fairly easy to miss (or misunderstand) the subtle signs they do show to indicate that something is not right. If you’re wondering whether or not your cat is sick, we have some tips to help.
Many cat owners are very familiar with feline behavioral patterns. This can be incredibly helpful when trying to identify if a cat is sick or not. That being said, various symptoms can escape the notice of highly involved and intuitive cat owners.
Domestic cats inherited many abilities from their wild ancestors, ranging from hunting to evading predators. Protecting themselves from attacks was absolutely vital to their survival, and that of their young, too. The ways they did this vary, but of chief concern was to hide when they were ill, injured, weakened, or tired.
The result is that modern day felines that live in homes provided by and shared with people continue to hide or cover up any signs that could lead to their doom.
Common Signs of a Sick Cat
Luckily, there are some telltale signs that can clue owners in that something is just “off” with Fluffy:
- Any changes in their meticulous grooming habits should be assessed. If their coat appears unkempt, greasy, or matted, it’s time to take action.
- Similarly, any shifts away from their previous routine of eating, drinking and visiting the litter box should never go ignored. Keep an eye on how much litter they’re going through and measure apportion precisely so you know what’s going in and out.
- Vomiting up an occasional hairball isn’t usually a cause for concern, but repeated attempts to regurgitate should never be ignored. Excessive, violent, or unproductive vomiting must be investigated.
- Coughing, wheezing, or repetitive sneezing should not be ignored.
- A cat that is typically friendly and outgoing may not feel well if they suddenly withdraw from your touch. If you notice them suddenly hiding out under the bed or in the back of the closet they probably aren’t just seeking some “me time”.
- Likewise, any shifts away from what is normal for them, such as increased vocalization, pacing, or clinging to you may need some medical attention.
What to Do When Your Cat Is Sick
Keeping a daily journal that details any shifts in their habits, behaviors, or personality traits can be very helpful in determining whether your cat is sick. Generally speaking, if symptoms are obvious it’s highly likely that your cat needs help. Regarding the overall health and wellness of your precious kitty, it is always better to be safe than sorry.