5 ways to tell if your cat is sick (guest post)
I wanted to publish this post by Crispin – even if some clues seem obvious – because having a simple list can really help when we are busy or stressed! – Liz
Animals can’t tell you when they’re feeling under the weather and cats are particularly clever at hiding their illnesses. Often, by the time you realize there is something not quite right with your kitty, it could be too late.
The signals something is wrong are surprisingly clear.
Learning to look out for and see the potential warning signs can save you a lot of heartache (and expensive vet bills!).
Here are 5 signs that your cat may be a bit peaky:
1. The Fur
Cats are extremely clean creatures with very good personal hygiene habits; they will almost always take care of their own grooming. A healthy cat’s fur should be soft, clean and have a slightly glossy appearance. If you see any visible changes in the condition of your cat’s coat, the fur becomes dry, matted, dull or almost greasy, this could be a sign your cat is not well. A cat that suddenly stops preening is almost certainly not well. On the other hand, a cat who ‘over grooms’ so that the skin looks sore and red and missing patches of fur could be a sign of stress, a flea infestation, allergy or a skin condition.
2. Changes To The Cat’s Eyes
Cat’s eyes are extremely striking to look at and they all vary from cat to cat. They can have small, vertically slit pupils, the spindle-shaped cat’s eye or naturally dilated looking pupils. A cat may have different coloured eyes. If a cat is unwell, the eyes will show it. If your cat’s pupils seem to change size, either both of them or just in one eye this can spell out trouble in the cat’s nervous system. Pupils with a milky or even filmy look may indicate vision problems.
Like the coat, a cat will do a good job at maintaining the cleanliness of his ears. With the exception of a bit of ear wax, the ears should usually be fairly clean. If on inspection of your cat’s ears you notice any redness, swelling or a bluish or yellow tinge inside the ears, contact your vet. Same goes for excessively itchy ears, if your cat can not stop scratching his ears it may be ear mites. A cat’s ears are particularly sensitive in extreme temperatures, due to lack of blood flow in the area, your cat could get frostbite on the tips of its ears so keep a close watch on your cat’s ears in winter.
Keeping a close eye on your cat’s eating habits can determine its overall health. If your cat has always been a vicarious eater and suddenly shows no interest in food or eats very half heatedly he may not be 100%. But if your cat stops eating all together or struggles to keep food down, this is a serious sign and should be investigated by a vet.
5. Mouth, Teeth And Gums
If you’ve ever tried to open your cat’s mouth you’ll know it can be somewhat of a challenge, but your cat’s mouth and gums are very strong indicators of illness. The colour of the skin inside the mouth should have a pink tinge off of it, skin that is white or yellow toned could be a sign of anemia or liver damage. Skin that shows a slight blue tinge is a cause of concern as this could show poisoning or a respiratory problem. However, some changes to the mouth and gums are normal, the cat’s mouth may take on the same colour as its coat this is generally normal as the cat gets older but should be checked out by a vet. Teeth should be inspected from time to time, tartar build up can not only cause bad breath but can cause infections that can enter the cat’s bloodstream and end up infecting his organs.
This post was written by Crispin Jones on behalf of House Of Paws. Visit their site by clicking this link.
Thanks for explaining that we need to see a vet if we notice any redness or swelling in our cat’s ears. My cat hasn’t been letting me pet his head or ears since yesterday, and I noticed they looked a little red when I tried to inspect them this morning. I’ll have to start looking for a local veterinarian and not just expect the issue to go away on its own!
My cat hasn’t eaten in almost 5 days. I’ve been giving him water as much as I can and trying to give him food but he won’t eat. He also just sleeps all day but he still walks around, I’ll find him in different places in the house. I think he might be sick after reading this post. I can not afford to take him to the vet right now because I recently had a baby and I’m a single mom. Do you have any suggestions because I’m worried and don’t want to anything to happen to him.
I’m keeping these on my fridge! If you looked up “Feline Hypochondriac” in the dictionary there would be a photo of my worried face, LOL!
Thank you for the great resources. I especially liked the notes about the cat stopping preening itself, so true.
Sara, my pleasure. Yes, it helps for me to keep these clear clues in mind rather than just being a feline hypochondriac.