5 Symptoms that Indicate Your Cat May be Sick

July 14, 2016

Beautiful Ragdoll Cat

In memory of Bella

If you are owned by a cat, you may have experienced health issues with your feline friend. If so, you most likely realized that your kitty does not advertise her ill health.  An illness or injury will most likely reach serious before you become aware that she needs help.  We experienced this several times with various cats.  The most difficult and painful for me was Jake. Jake was my baby, an 18-month-old rescue that Jim brought home at age 3 months to heal from being run over by a golf cart. At that time, he suffered a broken jaw and an upper respiratory infection.  He stayed in our guest room while he recuperated, separated from our other two cats.  One of those was Chico, also 3 months old. They become acquainted by touching paws beneath the closed door and once Jake was released from quarantine, he and Chico became best buddies.  They played from dawn to bedtime and at night, Jake slept curled up beside me.


Jake at 1 Year

When he was 18 months old, Jake didn’t come to bed with me for the first time ever!  Next morning, Halloween Day, we found him hiding in a corner of the breakfast room.  I headed to work and Jim took Jake straight to the vet’s office.  A few hours later, Dr. Carlos called to tell me that Jake was really struggling to breathe, that he was working with him but wasn’t sure he would make it.  Said he would keep me posted.  Later in the afternoon, I received the dreaded call that I needed to allow him to euthanize my boy. I was locked in to work.  The street was closed off for a children’s Halloween celebration and I could not get my car out to drive to Jake.  Heartbroken, I agreed to let Jake go and learned later that he had a congenital heart condition and it was surprising he had lived as long as he did.  We never had a clue that anything was wrong with him.

When our son’s Ragdoll, Bella, reached the end of her life she, too, found a corner to hide in and refused to come out to eat.  Michael knew when he took her to the vet the next morning that the end had arrived because of Bella’s advanced age.  Our permanent foster, Abby, behaved the same way. She hid under my desk until we dragged her out to visit the vet.

Cats in the wild know not to call attention to any infirmities to protect them from enemies. Apparently, that instinct transfers to domestic animals, as well.  However, there a few warning signs to watch for to alert you when problems arise.

Diarrhea.  By itself, diarrhea would be something to watch, not worth a trip to the vet.  However, if it continues and you cannot find a cause such as change in food, talk to your veterinary professional.

Listlessness.  If your pet is normally active and engages in regular activities, you should be concerned if she shows signs of lethargy or hides from everyone.

Stops eating.  You know your kitty’s eating habits. If they change, or she stops eating altogether, it’s time for another opinion.

Vomiting.  It goes without saying that if your cat vomits frequently or you see projectile vomiting, take her to the veterinarian pronto!  Occasional vomiting isn’t usually a concern and often involves trying to hack up a hairball.

Coughing and sneezing.  Together, these two could signify an upper respiratory infection. Because we had seen it before, when our Chico began sneezing recently and it went on for 2 days, we called vet.  We were told that as along as it wasn’t accompanied by fever or other symptoms, we should buy some Lysine.  We found some chicken-flavored chewable Lysine tablets and crumbled them over Chico’s food.  He gobbled them up and within 2 days, he stopped sneezing and wheezing.

These are 5 simple ways to determine if your cat is sick.  You may run into others.  Just remember that it’s always better to call your veterinary professional if you are in doubt.

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