Cat Emergency Symptoms

There are several symptoms that indicate a cat emergency. Many other illnesses can wait for the next earliest opening at the vet but these 8 indicate the need to seek veterinary care immediately. It's always better to err on the conservative side if you have any doubts as to whether or not your cat is seriously ill and may be exhibiting one of the following.

Loss of Consciousness

If your cat gives no response when you touch or pet him, something is seriously wrong. The most important action is to check his breathing first because something may be stuck in his airway. He might also have ingested something extremely poisonous or toxic. Non-responsiveness is the primary sign of a change in consciousness but not the only one. A cat who is stumbling and seems confused or completely listless may also be having a serious problem.

Difficulty Breathing

A cat who is struggling to breathe is having an acute medical crisis. If your cat's breathing becomes labored or is he is gasping for air, his airway could be obstructed by an object or by fluid in the lungs. Untreated breathing problems can lead to respiratory and later cardiac arrest.

Yowling or Uncharacteristic Hiding

A cat who is making really horrible noises is probably in acute pain or distress. You'll know if your cat is making sounds you've never heard before or if his behavior suddenly changes. Often cats will yowl and hide under the bed if their bladder is obstructed which is an immediately life threatening problem. If you've noticed straining to urinate prior to this event, you'll know this is probably the case. But even without the former sign, if a cat sounds like he's in immediate distress, he probably is. Take him to the vet immediately.

Vomiting that Won't Stop

Serious vomiting keeps occurring even if the cat's stomach is empty. If your cat can't keep water down, he is at serious risk for dehydration and something is wrong. He may have eaten poison or his intestine may be obstructed from a string, ribbon or rubber band.

Excessive Drooling

Excessive drooling is not normal for a cat. He may have eaten a poisonous plant or household cleaner or may have gotten burned on his mouth. He may also have a systemic illness or a mouth tumor causing the drooling. Even in the case of a tumor, the cause may be something you can't see or determine without a vet's assistance.

Abnormal Changes in Gum Color

Bluish, pale, or yellowish gums are an indication of a serious problem. Bluish gums may indicate a respiratory or cardiac issue while pale gums may suggest a serious iron deficiency. Yellow gums indicate a severe liver problem or an issue with the red blood cells. All of these issues require an emergency trip to the vet for assessment and treatment.

Incessant Diarrhea

Diarrhea that won't stop, especially in kittens, can cause a rapid deterioration of physical stability. It can also lead to dehydration in a cat of any age. It can be a sign of an underlying illness or poison ingestion.