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Are You Okay, Kitty? How to Tell If Your Cat Is Sick

Published by Annie Anderson
Last updated: December 20, 2023

Staying on top of your cat’s health can be an expensive endeavor. Surveys have found that cat owners pay anywhere between $110 to $550 per year for vaccines and routine veterinary care. This doesn’t include the cost of unexpected or emergency visits to the vet.

For the sake of your kitty and your wallet, it’s best to catch your cat’s illness and seek treatment as early as possible. The problem is, you may not know how to tell if your cat is sick.

Why? Cats are incredibly good at hiding signs of pain or illness. Their instinct is to avoid vulnerability even though, as house pets, they don’t have any predators to worry about!

Read on to learn more about the subtle signs your cat is sick so that you can get her the treatment she needs.

The Top Four Signs Your Cat Is Sick

There are four key problems you may begin to notice in your cat that could indicate illness. Note that because these symptoms could be the result of a number of illnesses, it is important that you take your cat to the vet for a proper diagnosis. Let’s take a closer look at the top four signs that your cat is sick.

1. Bathroom Issues

Most cat owners note that they never had to train their cat to use the litter box. It’s like they knew from the start that this is where they were meant to go. If your cat suddenly starts urinating or defecating outside of the litter box, this could be a sign that something is wrong with their kidneys, urinary tract, or bowels.

You should also take it seriously if your cat seems to have trouble relieving herself. Many cats will make loud “crying” sounds if this process is causing them pain. Blood in her urine or stool is also a cause for concern and could indicate infection.

2. Dietary Issues

Most cat owners become fairly familiar with their cat’s eating habits, whether they feed her on a schedule or allow her to “free eat.” If your cat starts eating far more or far less than normal, she may have digestive issues or even psychological issues like anxiety. If this change in eating habits results in extreme or sudden weight loss or gain, a trip to the vet is necessary.

Cats may vomit once or twice to get something funky out of their stomachs. However, repeated vomiting that persists for more than a few hours may indicate a larger problem that requires treatment. 

3. Mobility Issues

It is not uncommon for older cats to develop arthritis. As arthritis progresses, you may want to consider a pain management regimen.

Signs of arthritis and other mobility issues include limping, stiffness, and the favoring of certain legs over others. Note that in younger cats, these same symptoms may indicate a sprain or muscle tear. Mild muscle injuries may heal themselves, but if these symptoms continue for more than a few days, you may want to schedule an appointment with the vet.

4. Behavioral Issues

There are a number of reasons why your cat’s behavior may change. Introducing a new member to the household, whether that’s another pet or another person, could create tension for a few days or weeks. Moving to a new home can also lead to temporary behavioral changes while your cat adjusts to her new space.

However, if you can’t think of any reason that your cat’s behavior has changed, they may be experiencing illness or an increase in anxiety or even depression.

Behavioral changes include an increased drive to hide. If your cat is normally social and has suddenly taken to darting under the bed or into the closet, this could be the sign that they are not feeling well. 

A behavioral issue that tends to cause the most concern is an increase in aggressive tendencies. Hissing, scratching, growling, and pouncing are all unsettling behaviors in a cat, especially if they seem to have come from nowhere. 

If your cat is behaving in a strange way, your vet may be able to identify the source and prescribe medications that will get things back on track.

What’s Next Now That You Know How to Tell If Your Cat Is Sick?

Now that you know a bit more about understanding your cat’s symptoms, it’s time to make an action plan. Visit your vet to get a better understanding of what these symptoms mean and whether or not medication can help. For some cat owners, this plan could be a huge financial strain.

Pet insurance is an available resource that can alleviate some of the pressure when the vet bills roll in. However, hefty premiums and deductibles may make this option less attainable.

If this is the case, find a group like Pet Assure who will help to lower the cost of your vet bills with participating vets all over the country. There is no deductible to worry about, which means you can start saving money right away, no questions asked. Learn more about these plans and see which one is best for you. 

A Healthy Cat Is a Happy Cat

Hopefully, we’ve helped you learn more about how to tell if your cat is sick. Remember, she won’t come right out and show it, so it’s up to you to recognize the signs when they happen. If you begin to notice any of these signs in your cat, there’s no need to panic–a little treatment will restore her to health!

For more info on all things feline, bookmark our page and check in with us often!

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