wikiHow to Know if Your Cat is Sick?
Pay attention to how much your cat sleeps. Sick cats will sleep more. If your cat doesn't have other signs of illness, such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or obvious swellings, then keep him/her under observation. If symptoms develop, get him/her checked by a vet.
- If your cat isn't showing other symptoms, monitor him/her for 24 hours (of course, it's fine to get her checked by a vet before this if you are worried). If he/she enters a second day of excessive tiredness then it's time to take him/her to the vet clinic.
Check your cat's temperature for fever. Use a rectal thermometer to check your cat's temperature. However, if she gets distressed it is best to stop and leave this to your veterinarian. 99.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit is a normal temperature range, while anything over 102.5 is regarded as raised, and over 103 is feverish.Take your cat to the vet if it has a fever.
- A feverish cat usually sleeps heavily, may refuse food, and often has a dull coat that sticks out at odd angles. Its nose and ears may be dry and warm when you touch them with fingers at normal body temperature. While touching the ears is an inaccurate way of checking temperature, if the cat's ears feel cool then it is unlikely he/she has a fever.
Monitor any change in your cat's litter box habits. Pay attention to: how often your cat uses the tray, if it has difficulty, if blood or mucus is in the urine, or if the feces are hard and nugget-like.If the cat has had diarrhea, but continues to strain or has constipation (signaled by the hard dry feces) take it to the the vet. Repeated straining and not passing urine, or the presence of blood, should trigger an urgent call to the vet.
- Male cats are prone to urinary problems where they have difficulty passing water. The signs include visiting the tray frequently, and perhaps even squatting outside the tray. The cat may squat for several minutes or keep getting up and moving to a new spot then squatting again. If possible, check to see if he/she produced any urine (is the patch wet or dry?) and if he/she did, check for blood.
Pay attention to your cat’s appetite. If you have noticed that your cat has not been eating much, or has been eating more than normal, there may be something wrong. If your cat shows no interest in food for a full day, there could be a range of issues--from eating the neighbors’ food, to feeling nauseous, to kidney problems. On the other hand, if you cat is suddenly ravenous, it could signal a health issue.
- If your cat refuses food for more than 24 hours, get him/her checked by a vet so that the underlying problem can be corrected before he/she develops complications.
Check to see if your cat is dehydrated. Be alert for changes in your cat's drinking behavior. How much your cat drinks depends on whether he/she eats wet food (in which case it is unusual to see him/her drinking) or dry food (it is normal to see him/her drinking). Many conditions cause increased thirst, such as some types of infections, kidney disease, overactive thyroids, and diabetes. If your cat is thirsty, have him/her checked out by a vet.
You can also physically check. Carefully and gently, grasp his/her skin between his/her shoulder blades. Pull the skin up and away from his/her body (again, very gently) and then let go. If your cat’s skin does not snap immediately back into place, he/she is more than likely dehydrated and should be taken to the vet.
Pay attention to your cat’s weight and body silhouette. Any change in weight is significant and should merit a trip to the vet. Sudden or even gradual weight loss could signal illness. If in doubt, weigh your cat once a week at home and if the cat keeps losing weight seek veterinary advice.
- In the early stages of conditions such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism, the cat may seem otherwise well, but lose weight. Seek medical advice if the cat keeps losing weight.
- Some illnesses, such as cancer in the belly or heart disease, mean the cat's overall weight stays the same but he/she loses body condition. This means you can feel his/her ribs and backbone more easily as there is less fat cover, but his/her belly might look rounded or swollen. If in doubt, get him/her checked by a veterinarian.
Examine your cat’s coat. A sick cat usually doesn't have the energy to groom himself.Typically, a coat that was once glossy and well-kept becomes dull, matted, and tangled. While stress can account for shedding or changes in grooming habits, your cat may actually be sick. Consult with a vet.
- Changes in grooming habits may also be a result of arthritis. Grooming may be painful if your cat is stiff and sore. Once again, it's a sign that a trip to the vet is necessary.