Symptoms of Liver Problems in Cats

Unfortunately for the diagnosis of liver diseases, the symptoms of liver problems in cats are routinely not detectable until the condition has progressed to a dangerous level. The reason for this is generally that the liver is a resilient and powerful organ, and it is capable of maintaining full or nearly full function for a long period of time and even while a large portion of the organ is damaged or dead. However, once the symptoms do set in, it's often only a short period of time before the liver will fail completely. Because of this, knowledgeable and conscientious cat owners know to watch vigilantly for signs of liver problems, particularly in older animals. The following are the most common of these symptoms.

Changes in Diet

One of the most common symptoms of liver problems in cats is a drastic drop in appetite. You may notice that your cat leaves food untouched or that he seems to be eating in a pickier way than usual. This may turn into full blown feline anorexia, where your cat will not eat any food at all. The result is potentially very serious; loss of weight in many cats, and among cats that are already overweight, shows a tendency toward fatty liver disease.


Unique among all of the symptoms listed here because it is the only symptom that is completely isolated to problems of the liver, jaundice is another important sign to watch out for that indicates liver issues. Jaundiced cats are characterized by having unusual yellow tints to their eyes, ears, gums, tongues and pads of their feet.

Vomiting and Diarrhea

Cats with liver problems may seem to have a difficult time processing food in general. If you notice that your pet seems to vomit up his food shortly after eating it, or if you notice that most of his bowel movements result in diarrhea, you may have a pet with liver problems on your hands. These can be secondary symptoms of many different diseases, making it difficult to use vomiting and diarrhea alone to help identify your pet's liver problems. If you notice this set of symptoms, pay careful attention for any of the other symptoms on this list as well.

Changes in Behavior

Cats with liver damage often have problems with lethargy and other behavioral changes. You may notice that your cat acts irritable or has other changes in attitude or mood.


In particularly advanced cases of liver damage and liver disease, your cat may experience seizures and may even become comatose at times. This is a sign in most cases of very advanced and severe liver damage, and requires immediate veterinary attention.

If you notice any of these symptoms, take your pet to the veterinarian as quickly as you can for proper diagnosis, so that you can treat the condition.