7 Signs Your Cat Might Be Unwell

Cats are creatures of mystery. In the wild, a cat showing signs of illness was singled out as prey. To defend themselves, cats learned to hide their illnesses very well. Even now, when there is no threat from predators, domesticated cats will continue to hide any signs they are unwell. It is up to the eagle-eyed cat owner to find any trace of illness and take the cat to the vet.

But what are you meant to look out for? To make it easier on you, Girraween Veterinary Hospital have come up with 8 signs to keep an eye out for that will let you know that something is wrong with your cat.

Weight Loss/Weight gain

Any drastic change in your cat’s weight could be an indication that they are unwell. This can also be picked up through any changes in appetite. If your cat skips the occasional meal, that’s normal. Cats are often capable of providing themselves with a snack throughout the day. However, if your cat has stopped eating altogether or is eating far more than they usually would, you need to book an appointment with your vet.

If your cat puts on a lot of weight in a very short time, there could be a chance she is pregnant. Our cat ultrasound will be able to confirm whether or not this is the case. If so, our vets can let you know what to expect when your cat is expecting and provide advice on how to handle a litter of kittens. If your cat isn’t pregnant, an ultrasound may help to uncover the underlying cause of your cat’s weight fluctuation.

Vomiting and Diarrhea

Persistent vomiting is not normal behaviour for cats. The occasional hairball is to be expected, but if your cat can’t keep it’s food down and is vomiting for a few hours, you need to take it to the vet. If this vomiting is accompanied by diarrhea, it is a big red flag that your cat is unwell. If left untreated, hours of vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration and intestinal inflammation, so you need to act as soon as you suspect something is wrong.

Changes in physical appearance

  • Skin irritation. This is also likely to be painful or itchy, so don’t touch your cat’s skin if it looks inflamed. Overgrooming will help you recognise skin irritation, as your cat will lick and tend to the one spot for a prolonged time. Bring them in so our vets can have a look.
  • Hair loss. This is often a sign of allergies, external parasites, or skin conditions. Hair loss may be accompanied by skin irritation too. If your cat has any new bald spots, bring them into the clinic.
    Discharge from nose and eyes. This could be symptomatic of respiratory illness or an illness contagious to other cats. Your vet will be able to provide medications for a speedy recovery.
  • Swelling. This should be taken very seriously, as it could be an injury turning into an abscess or it may be a tumor.
  • Ear discharge. Some cats can be prone to ear infections or ear mites. Ear issues need to be addressed immediately to prevent damage to the eardrum.
  • Limping or difficulty jumping. This could be symptomatic of a range of ailments. Our cat x-ray will give us a clearer idea of what is causing your cat pain. Girraween Vet Hospital are the only hospital in Darwin offering cat rehabilitation options. If your cat has an injury, arthritis or another chronic condition we can speed up recovery using hydrotherapy as a cat rehabilitation method, Should your cat be suffering from, laser therapy is a cat rehabilitation option that helps reduces pain and inflammation.

Personality changes

Cats have very distinct personalities. If your cat is acting out of the ordinary, it may be a sign they are unwell.

Personality changes you need to look out for are as follows:

  • Increased vocalisation. Sometimes cats meow more because they’re bored. Other times they are trying to tell you they are stressed or in pain. If vocalisation continues for longer than usual, consider taking your cat to the vet.
  • Disorientation. If your cat seems confused, dizzy, or unbalanced, you need to take them to the vet immediately.
  • Aggression or fear. If your cat is typically comfortable around humans and suddenly seems afraid or has suddenly turned very aggressive, you need to bring this up with your vet.

Change in thirst

Most of the time, you won’t notice your cat drinking. However, if you’ve realised they’ve made one too many trips to the water bowl that afternoon and they’ve urinated more than usual, it could be a sign of a kidney or urinary tract issue. Bring your cat into Girraween Veterinary Hospital so we can use our cat x-ray and cat ultrasound to diagnose and treat any underlying issues.

Changes in breathing

Wheezing, difficulty breathing, or rapid breathing are all signs that your cat needs medical attention. If the issue is severe, take your cat directly to a Veterinary clinic to the emergency clinic for a cat x-ray and treatment. If your cat is coughing, it may be a hairball. Keep an eye on them, but should they have difficulty breathing or blue gums, take them straight to the Veterinary clinic emergency clinic.

Bad breath

Cat breath isn’t minty fresh at the best of times. However, if it smells particularly rank (like rotting eggs), there’s a good chance they need a dental health appointment. Keep an eye on your cat’s dental hygiene and make sure you are brushing their teeth regularly. Dental toys, dental treats, and a dental diet can help support tooth and gum health for your cat.

Book an appointment

If your cat is displaying any of these symptoms, Girraween Vet Hospital are happy to help. We offer a number of veterinary services such as cat x-rays, cat ultrasounds, cat rehabilitation, and more, so book an appointment online or give us a call on (08) 8983 1183.

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