How to Tell If Your Cat Is Sick

When a cat is sick he may hide the symptoms well, so it can be difficult to determine if your cat is in good health. Cats can have a lot of infections and diseases. You should monitor your pet closely, as there may be subtle symptoms visible on the skin or behavior changes that can point to a medical condition.

Hiding Behavior

When a cat is hiding, he may be sick. This is the first symptom you should look out for. Hiding can also mean that your cat is about to deliver kittens, but this is only if you have an unspayed female cat.

Lack of Activity

If your cat is sick, he may be lethargic and will lack the energy to perform his daily routine. He may fail to groom himself and won’t show interest in engaging in activities you initiate.

Insomnia and Agitation

While some cats are lethargic, others may show signs of agitation. Your pet may keep you awake during the nighttime with loud meowing and crying.

Lack of Appetite

Sick cats will not have much appetite, which may be due to the pain or the absence of the sense of smell, which can accompany some infections or diseases. A cat that hasn’t eaten in more than 48 hours should be taken to the vet.

Behavior Changes

An undetected illness can modify the behavior of your cat. He may be very aggressive, and start biting and scratching, as pain makes him irritable.

Vomiting and Diarrhea

If your cat has a digestive disease or parasites, vomiting and diarrhea are common symptoms. Should the vomiting and diarrhea stop in 2 days, you don’t need to worry. If there is blood in the stool, urine or vomit, you should consult the vet immediately. Constipation and tarry stools can also indicate a health problem.

Weight Loss

Weight loss is a natural consequence of a lack of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.

Increased Thirst and Urination

If your cat has increased thirst and urinates more, he may be suffering from a urinary tract disease. Increased thirst can also be indicative of diabetes or kidney problems.

Discolored Gums

Discolored gums can be a sign of illness. Normally, the cat’s gums are pink; if these are whiter or dark red, this can mean that the cat has an internal illness or gum disease.

Bad Breath

Halitosis or bad breath can indicate digestive issues, tooth decay or gum problems.


Panting or superficial breathing can indicate a respiratory problem, asthma or allergies. Panting may also point to pain.

Limping or Difficulty Walking

If the cat is ill and the limbs are affected, he may be limping or have difficulty walking. The cat may have arthritis, muscle problems or a tumor.

Lumps on Skin

When grooming your cat, you should look for swellings or lumps, which could be tumors. The vet will have to test the tumor to establish if it's a benign or malignant growth.

A feline disease can have one or several of the above mentioned symptoms. Pay attention to any sign or symptom that is out of the ordinary. Make sure you monitor your pet and inform your vet about all the symptoms you notice.