Diagnosing Cats' Illness Symptoms

Diagnosing cats illnesses symptoms can be helpful for feline owners. A few symptoms can let you know if the condition of your pet is severe or if it may be treated at home. The early detection of illnesses can help the pet and may save you cat’s life.

Common Symptoms

When a cat is ill, he may display a different type of behavior and this may prompt you to suspect that he is ill. The cat may be hiding when he is ill. Decreased activity, lack of appetite or excessive meowing may also be signs that the cat is ill.

There are also other particular symptoms that may help you suspect a certain illness.

Vomiting and Diarrhea

Vomiting and diarrhea often go hand in hand and may point to:

  • Intestinal parasites
  • Hairballs (clear vomit)
  • Gastritis
  • Colitis
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Tumors in the stomach or intestinal area
  • Poisoning
  • Heat stroke

Excessive Scratching

Excessive scratching may signal the presence of an allergic reaction (to food, smoke, pollens or chemicals), a skin infection or parasites such as fleas of ticks.   

In addition, the cat may also bite, chew and lick the itchy areas. The cat may also lay on the bathroom tiles, as these are cool and may provide temporary relief for the itchiness.

Sneezing and Coughing

Respiratory infections in felines can manifest through sneezing and coughing. However, these symptoms may also indicate allergies, lung problems or dental and gum problems.

If the cat is sneezing blood, he should be taken to the vet.


If a cat is spraying, he may be marking his territory; if your cat is neutered and suddenly starts spraying, this may mean that he is either stressed or has a urinary tract infection. The urinary tract infection (UTI) will also present symptoms such as painful urination, more frequent urination and sometimes blood in the urine.

If your cat is older, he may also urinate in other places than the litter box as he may have lost his sight or sense of smell.

Nose and Eye Discharges

Nose and eye discharges may be a symptom of allergies, respiratory infections or eye infections.

The type of discharge will help determining a diagnosis:

  • Pink nasal discharges point to fungal infections
  • Yellow and thick secretions mean that the infection is caused by bacteria or viruses
  • Clear discharges point to allergies

The eye infections will have additional symptoms such as red, inflamed eyes.

If the cat has an infection, he will also have fever.

Moving Disabilities

If the cat shows signs of moving disabilities, he may have joint problems or fractures.

If the problem occurs suddenly, the cat may have vestibular disease or be under shock.

Gums and Eye Whites

When monitoring your cat for symptoms, you should also check his gums and eye whites.

If the gums are pale, he may have hypoglycemia, poisoning, kidney disease or anemia. If the gums are red and swollen, the cat may have gingivitis.

If the eye whites are yellowish, the cat has a liver disease.

The vet can diagnose your cat through testing, but it is helpful to provide all the symptoms you notice.