sick cat signs

12 Signs That Your Cat Might Be Sick

Pets are unable of articulate their discomfort or disease, unlike humans or children. Cats also have a remarkable ability to hide sickness indications, which is a trait that is rooted in their survival instincts.

For wild animals, such as cats, hiding signs of disease an evolutionary necessary in order to reduce susceptibility to predators and intraspecies competition for resources. It’s amazing that this adaptive characteristic still exists in modern domestic cats.

Because cats cannot speak, it can be difficult to tell when they are sick, and they are also very good at hiding symptoms, therefore it is even more important for cat owners to learn how to recognize disease symptoms. Delaying treatment in the hopes that obvious symptoms of illness would go away on their own is one of the worst mistakes a cat owner can make.

When it comes to the health of cats, delaying can be dangerous because a problem that is visible one day could become serious the next. Getting to know your cat’s unique personality, physical traits, daily schedule, and customary activities will help you recognize early warning indicators of possible health problems.

The most important in this process, is to become acutely aware of and familiar with your cat’s normal state. This basic understanding paves the way for spotting variations that could point to your cat’s illness. In the sections that follow, we will go over all 17 signs in detail—from obvious symptoms to more subdued indicators—providing you with knowledge and direction to help you better understand what normalcy looks like for your cat.

Cat refuses to eat food

This is a clear indication that there might be a problem when a cat friend shows a noticeable dislike of eating. While slight variations in appetite may be considered normal, a complete refusal to eat need medical treatment right away.

When cats fast, they may use their fat stores as a source of energy, which can lead to the dangerous disease known as hepatic lipidosis, especially if the cat is overweight. Should your cat be displaying this behavior, you should act quickly, and seeing a veterinarian right away is essential to preventing other problems from developing.


While occasional vomiting to spit hairballs is considered within the realm of normal feline behavior, persistent and frequent vomiting raises red flags, demanding a medical check, and possibly medical intervention.

There could be a number of potential causes such as, spanning infections, liver disease, intestinal blockages, and even the specter of cancer, could underlie a cat’s recurrent vomiting. Thorough investigation becomes imperative to avert potential complications, and timely treatment initiation is paramount to the feline’s overall well-being.


Diarrhea in cats can be caused by a variety of factors, including gastrointestinal infections, dietary sensitivities, stress, and anxiety, as well as the complicated spectrum of IBS. When a cat suffers from diarrhea, the danger of dehydration increases, necessitating a proactive approach to determining the root cause and initiating appropriate therapy as soon as possible.

Waiting and seeing if the cat gets better may result in rising veterinary bills. This is especially important when considering a dehydrated cat’s increased vulnerability to organ damage, which typically necessitates extended stays in clinics for intravenous fluid treatment.

The cat is limping

An obvious sign of possible pain or discomfort in cats is limping. There are a number of possible reasons for this limp, such as small cuts, the presence of a foreign object, a possible fracture, or the start of arthritis.

If your cat appears to be limping, it is advisable to visually assess the animal to determine whether there are any apparent wounds or readily removed foreign items. You should check if the front or rear legs are causing the limping.

The wise plan of action is to seek professional veterinary intervention for a more thorough examination into the underlying cause of the limping, though, if no obvious problems are found.

Increased water consumption

Encouraging feline friends to stay hydrated is difficult since they rely on the moisture content of prey for a large percentage of their water intake. Promoting water consumption is especially important for cats on a dry food diet, and switching to a wet diet is thought to be optimal.

However, when observations indicate a cat drinking more water than normal or using atypical water sources such as hoses or toilets, there is some cause for concern.  Such behavior could be a symptom of a larger problem. Several endocrine illnesses, including diabetes and thyroid problems, are known to cause excessive thirst in cats.

Older cats, in particular, typically suffer from endocrine issues, which are exacerbated by the high carbohydrate content of most dry cat meals. As a result, if a cat’s water intake unexpectedly increases, preventive steps should be implemented, including a visit to the veterinarian for full bloodwork to identify and address any potential concerns.

Increased urination

A cat’s noticeable rise in urination frequency may indicate pain during the act. Cats suffering from urinary tract infections or stones may experience pain while peeing, resulting in more frequent, albeit smaller, urine sessions.

If any other alarming indicators emerge, such as blood in the urine or a lack of urine flow, it is critical to seek emergency veterinarian assistance. This urgency is especially important for male cats, who are vulnerable to developing ureteral blockages, a condition that can be lethal within 24-48 hours if not treated.

The cat is afraid of using the litter box

A cat’s fear of using the litter box may indicate discomfort while urinating. Urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and kidney disease are common causes of this shift in litter box habit.

Recognizing modifications in a cat’s litter habits becomes crucial, necessitating immediate intervention and consultation with a veterinarian to treat potential underlying concerns.

Nasal or eye discharge

Cats that battle with respiratory or eye infections will often show signs of abnormal mucous discharge from their nose or their eyes.

The presence of accompanying symptoms such as sneezing, wheezing, or coughing serves as a crucial indicator of underlying respiratory tract infections.

In order to stop the infections it is important to consult a vet and seek fast veterinary treatment. At the same time it’s very important to isolate the cat from other pets in order to stop spreading the infection to them.

The cat is lethargic

If your cat seems sluggish and not interested in anything, but she is usually energetic and playful, it could be a sign that something is wrong or that the cat is in some kind of pain.

The cat stops grooming itself

Normally, cats are clean creatures when it comes to their grooming habits. Cats feeling unwell will dramatically decrease the frequency of their grooming or completely stop grooming.

If you have noticed less than normally grooming or your cat’s fur looks greasy, matted, unkempt, or with dandruff, this is a sign something is going on. This could be from a skin infection to arthritis. Start investigating possible causes and get professional advice from a vet.

Weight loss

Several illnesses can result in weight loss for a cat. Regardless of eating normally, conditions such as parasites or diabetes might lead to weight loss.

Other diseases decrease a cat’s appetite and result in weight loss. If you have noticed any of those scenarios without knowing that you have purposely put your cat on a diet, take your cat to the vet to start investigating what is causing this weight loss.


Cats who are afraid or nervous tend to hide, but so do cats in pain. Examine the situation, but if your ordinarily social cat has been avoiding you, this is another not-so-clear clue that something is off.

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