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How to Tell If Your Cat is Sick: Signs & Symptoms

Cats are known for being indomitable animals and often manage to conceal pain or discomfort when they are sick. In this blog post, our South Florida vets share which signs and symptoms you should watch for to tell whether you feline friend might be feeling out of sorts. 

Is My Cat Sick?

Like many other animals, cats are highly skilled at hiding discomfort when they are sick. In fact, symptoms of illness may not always be apparent until your cat is feeling very unwell. This is why it's important to bring your cat in to be examined by your primary vet as soon as possible if you notice any of these common signs of a sick cat:

  • Constricted or dilated pupils 
  • Discharge from eyes or nose 
  • Limping or injuries
  • Improper use of the litter box
  • Sudden change in mood
  • No inclination to play or appearing lethargic
  • Sudden shift in appetite, eating, or drinking habits
  • Noticeable weight loss or gain 
  • Rapid breathing or shortness of breath 
  • Neglecting grooming or excessive grooming
  • Hiding
  • Skin irritation or hair loss
  • Bad breath 
  • Wounds or swelling
  • Much less or much more vocal than usual 

Knowing When Your Cat is Sick 

Remember that no one knows your cat as well as you do. Keep an eye out and watch for subtle changes in your cat's behavior that others may not notice. Note any changes in your cat's usual body language or demeanor. 

If something about your cat's health or behavior just doesn't seem right to you, trust your instincts and take your cat to a veterinarian for a thorough examination. Don't hesitate to do this even if you don't see any signs that your cat is sick. 

Some Common Causes of Illness in Cats 

The symptoms listed above are all signs that your cat may be sick. Here are a few common conditions and illnesses that cats can develop:

  • Constricted or dilated pupils, or discharge from from one or both eyes can point to an eye condition or disease. 
  • A sudden increase in appetite can be an indication of diabetes, cancer, or other disease, all of which can eventually affect a cat's eyesight depending on the circumstances and if left untreated. 
  • If your cat is drinking far more water than usual, this may be a sign that your cat is suffering from idney disease, diabetes, or thyroid issues. 
  • Injuries and arthritis can lead to a decline in your cat's acrobatic activities. 
  • Upper respiratory infections can trigger breathing problems and reduce your cat's enthusiasm for play and activities. 
  • Bad breath is a common symptom of periodontal disease or perhaps tooth pain. Left untreated, dental disease in cats can lead to more serious health problems, including heart, kidney, and liver conditions. 

What To Do if Your Cat is Sick

If your cat is displaying any unusual behaviors it's worth a trip to the vet for diagnosis and treatment. Early detection and treatment of illnesses can help to prevent conditions from becoming more severe or potentially life-threatening.

Cat injuries or illnesses often require urgent medical attention, surgery or even emergency care. It is essential to seek professional veterinary advice as soon as possible. If your cat's health issue is eye-related, your vet may refer you to Animal Eye Guys for diagnosis and treatment. 

The sooner treatment begins, the sooner your furry friend will be acting more like themselves again.

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.

Do you and your vet suspect your cat has an eye condition or disease? Contact our South Florida veterinary ophthalmologists today to book an examination. 

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Animal Eye Guys is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of South Florida pets. Get in touch today to book an appointment.

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