Common Sick Kitten Symptoms

Common sick kitten symptoms are easy to recognize if you know what to look for. Many of these symptoms can indicate mild or moderate illnesses while some require emergency attention.

Failure to Thrive

Some kittens cannot thrive and develop what's called fading kitten syndrome. She may just not able to put on weight and may develop diarrhea and dehydration. If the kitten can't seem to ingest any water or the diarrhea is incessant, see the vet as soon as possible.

Upper Respiratory Symptoms

Kittens can get cold-like symptoms. These include sneezing and lower energy. The vet may find a mild fever as well. You may also notice wet patches around the nostrils and runny eyes. These symptoms require a vet visit if they don't go away or lessen after 3 days or if they progress into more serious symptoms.

Lower Respiratory Symptoms

If your kitten's cold has moved down into the lower respiratory system, you may notice some hacking type of coughing and a raspy sound to the meow. Your cat may also wheeze while breathing. In terms of veterinary care, follow the guidelines above.


A kitten is more susceptible to infection because their immune system is not fully developed, and infection can strike in various areas of the body. One of the most common area for a kitten is in the eyes, and eye infections of this sort are called conjunctivitis. In this situation, the kitten's eyes are runny and excessively teary or closed. The eye discharge might be yellow or green.

Infections can also occur in the ears. The kitten's ears may have a strange odor to them if infected.

Urinary Tract Symptoms

A kitten can also develop an infection or other problems in the urinary tract. If you notice your kitten straining at the litter box or visiting the litter box a lot more often than usual, a urinary tract infection may be present. It's also suspicious if a trained kitten suddenly begins urinating outside the box. The urinary tract issue is more serious if you see blood in the urine. It's an emergency if your kitten starts making really horrible noises like yowling. This may be an indication that there bladder has become obstructed.

Critical Emergency Symptoms

There are several times to seek veterinary care immediately. If you are ever unsure, it's better to take your kitten in than to wait for the next appointment. If your kitten is struggling to breathe or if you can't rouse your kitten, it's an emergency. If your kitten seems suddenly confused or has a strange head tilt, a brain injury may be present. Incessant vomiting and diarrhea are also cause for immediate concern.