Every loving cat parent wants their kitty to be healthy and happy. We are proactive about their well-being and ensure our cats routinely play and exercise, eat healthily, and have regular check-ins with the vet. Some cat owners go the extra mile and undertake cat DNA testing to detect in advance illness tendencies to mitigate them. Despite all these proactive steps, there are times when our curious companions exhibit worrying signs. You might not be sure whether to wait and see if it will pass or rush to the vet. Often, we turn to the internet for tips or tools like the cat symptoms checker to help us decide. Whereas it is always good to learn about the signs your cat exhibits, it is better to err on the safe side and get a vet’s help. Here’s how you can tell it is time to take your cat to the vet.
When the Cat Exhibits Sudden Behavior Change
Many cats are often low energy and not as enthusiastic about stuff or people as dogs. But if your cat suddenly loses enthusiasm for things they ordinarily like, something could be wrong. For example, if the cat suddenly becomes lethargic or goes off to nap in strange or hidden areas, something could be wrong. Cats instinctively avoid interaction to hide their pain. They can become sedentary, violent, or stop usual activities like grooming. If your cat is not acting normal, she needs a vet check-up.
When cats self-groom they often swallow hairballs which they vomit later. Occasional vomiting by cats is not abnormal. However, recurrent vomiting is a sign that all is not well. If it is the only sign, call the vet and chat about it. It could be a food intolerance. However, if signs like irregular eating, drinking, and abnormal litter box usage accompany the vomiting, it could be an emergency. Vomiting also can occur when cats have been in contact or have ingested toxic plants. If you have an indoor plant or you have an indoor/outdoor cat, and your pet shows signs of vomiting, diarrhea, or drooling, take your cat to the Vet. Check a list of toxic plants for cats to make sure your suspicions are correct.
Lumps and Unusual Growth
Lumps, bumps, and unusual growths could be harmless. But without examination by a vet, you can’t tell what’s going on. Cat x-rays and biopsies are usually required to diagnose your pet. The growth could be malignant or benign and fade off. Don’t take chances with unusual growths. Have them checked by the vet.
Unusual Weight Loss or Gain
The weight of a healthy kitten steadily increases until she becomes a young adult. After this, the weight doesn’t fluctuate too much. A sharp increase or loss of weight can indicate a health issue. It is better to take a trip to the vet, have the cat checked out, determine the problem, and address it.
Coughing and Breathing Issues
If your cat exhibits changes in breathing, for example, repeated coughing or shallow breaths, you should take her to the vet. Breathing problems could indicate more serious issues like allergies, tumors, respiratory ailments, parasites, or exposure to something poisonous. Check a video of a cat coughing here.
Signs of Physical Strain
Cats are typically very stoic. It is hard to tell when they are in pain. But sometimes you may notice signs of distress. Perhaps the cat is experiencing difficulty in movement, or maybe they are unable to leap short heights. Such signs may appear after a brawl with another pet or they could be unexplained. For example, sometimes a cat may drag her back legs due to Aortic thromboembolism – a disorder of the heart. If you notice physical signs of pain and distress, it is time to take your cat to the vet.
Healthy gums should be pink and bright. If your cat’s gums are too pale, blue, or yellowish, it’s a good indicator of a disease. Make sure to be careful and gentle when checking your cat’s gum.
Unusual Discharge From the Eyes or Nose
Tearing is not a sign of emotion by cats. When your cat discharges fluid from the eyes or nose, especially when accompanied by short breaths or coughing and wheezing, something could be wrong. Your cat could have a respiratory issue and would need a vet’s help. There are many causes of eye discharge, coughs, and wheezing in cats and sometimes such signs could be a mystery even to a vet. Don’t lose heart when going back and forth from the Vet. You could do some checks and find out possible causes. Whereas conventional remedies might not solve the problem effectively all the time, a proper diet, natural supplements, exercise, and a stress-free environment with a well-established routine, will strengthen the immune system and help the cat get better.
The Appearance of the Cat’s Eyes
The cat’s eyes should have pupils that match in size. If your cat has one eye with the pupil dilated and the other with the pupil smaller, something may be wrong with your kitty. According to NTU Cat Management Network, a sign of illness in a cat is when both third eyelids are visible (see picture), and with no change throughout the day.
Cat pressing its head against a wall or other objects
We are not talking about headbutting which is a cute cat behavior to express love. When a cat presses its head against a wall, the floor, or any other solid object it’s called Head Pressing and it’s a sign of a neurological condition whose cause could be anything from a brain tumor, to exposure to harmful chemicals or toxins (e.g. lead poisoning). This behavior is compulsive and doesn’t follow any pattern, it is totally random. Other symptoms can be the cat getting stuck in corners, staring at walls, having visual problems, and others. If you see your cat pressing its head against a wall, floor, or other objects, in a random way, take it to the Vet inmediately.
Cat Elimination Issues
A final and not very pleasant tell-tell sign that you need to take your cat to the vet is if she suddenly begins to have bathroom issues. Look out for the following behaviors:
- Urinating outside the litter box
- Producing very little or too much urine
- Expressions of distress like crying or straining when doing her business.
- Excessive grooming of the genital area.
If you notice any of these, have a vet check her out. It could be anything, from bladder crystals to urinary tract infections or even clogged anal glands. A vet will examine the cat and treat it appropriately.
These signs will be obvious if you know what your cat is like when normal. Spend time with your curious buddy and learn what makes them tick, what’s their normal energy level, gait, appetite, and eating & drinking patterns. With thorough knowledge of your cat and proactive measures to keep them healthy will help you know when to take your cat to the Vet.