Though cat lovers may disagree, veterinarians consider cats to be creatures of subtlety. Specifically, when it comes to cats letting you know they are sick, they are masters of disguise. According to veterinarian Patty Khuly, cats purposely don’t want you to know that they are feeling under the weather.
Dr. Khuly says that sick cats naturally try to hide it, due to the fact that they don’t want to give predators and competitors any indication of weakness. Cats feel that if they show they are sick, they might lose status among other cats, or fall prey to predators. Khuly says that on a regular basis, veterinarians discover feline illnesses that have remained undetected by their owners. For this reason, it is a good idea that you pay attention when your cat displays these subtle behaviors that indicate they might be ill.
- They don’t interact with you as much: If your cat used to play with you regularly and they don’t anymore, there may be more than meets the eye. They may be having a reaction to environmental stress or a health issue. In either case, you should take note of it. On the other hand, if the cat is doing everything to get your attention but has never been like this before, there may also be a problem.
- Changes in activity levels: Perhaps your cat is known for being very active and energetic. Now, your cat just lays around the house. Or, perhaps it is the opposite. Your cat usually enjoys lounging around and now they are running around like a chicken with their head cut off. According to Khuly, older cats who become more active often do so because their thyroid gland has gone into overdrive. This means that whether the cat’s activity level has significantly increased or decreased, this may be evidence of an underlying disease.
- A change in how much the cat eats or drinks: Many people already know this is a sign. However, this may be hard to determine if you are constantly filling up their food and water bowl throughout the day. Veterinarians say to not only pay attention to how much the cat is eating, but the way she is eating as well. For example, if the cat is very messy while she is eating, she could have an oral disease.
- Losing or gaining weight: Some cats will do this for no reason, but these are the exception. The difficult part may be identifying whether or not this has occurred, since you see your cat every day and get used to the way that they look. To be sure you notice, you could take a new picture of your cat every month, or weigh them regularly, of course.
- Changes in their sleeping habits: Perhaps your cat is staying awake at night when he wasn’t before. Or, he could be sleeping the day away now when you never noticed him doing that up until now. In either case, this could be evidence of an underlying disease.
- Changes in grooming habits: Does your cat’s fur look a mess and they are not grooming themselves? If your cat isn’t grooming regularly, this can mean that they have an oral disease. If they have stopped grooming because of general malaise, this can indicate a wide variety of conditions that include orthopedic pain, or excessive weight gain.
- Not using the litterbox: If your cat is using other places than the litterbox to relieve themselves, they have a problem that is either behavior or medical related. According to PETA, this may mean that your cat has a urinary tract infection, which can be fatal for some cats if left untreated.
- Showing signs of stress: Whether your cat is constantly hiding, or on the other hand is pacing around the house all the time, it is a sign that you should call their vet.
- Changes in their vocalization: Look for changes such as a higher-pitched yowl, vocalizing frequently and the like.
- Changes in smell, bad breath in particular: Many different problems can lead to bad odors in cats. Is the smell coming from their top or bottom? If it is their mouth, it could be oral infections or advanced periodontal disease. Other possible conditions include kidney disease and diabetes.
And there you have it. If your sweet kitty is displaying any of these 10 signs, it is a good idea to have them checked out by their veterinarian.