4 Signs that Your Cat May Be Sick

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Unlike children or humans, pets cannot speak to tell us when something is not quite right. On top of that, cats are professional “disease maskers.” As part of their survival strategy, cats have evolved to hide any sign of disease. Showing illness makes a wild animal vulnerable to predators and members of the same species competing for resources. This characteristic is still present even in modern house cats.

Since it is not always easy to know when your cat may be sick, learning to recognize signs of disease is a crucial part of owning cats. One of the worst mistakes a cat owner can make is waiting to see the signs of illness pass because in the case of sick cats, if you notice it today, tomorrow might be too late.

Know Your Cat

Knowing your cat’s personality, physical aspects, routines, and behavior can help you catch early signs that something is not quite well. Being observant and familiar with your cat’s normal state is the first step in recognizing the signs that your cat might be sick. In the following guide, we will review 17 signs, going from very obvious to not so obvious, and give you tips on how to improve your level of awareness of what is normal for your cat.

The 4 Signs That Your Cat May Be Sick

1.Cat Refusing to Eat

A cat that is not accepting any food clearly indicates that something is not right. Although slight changes in appetite can be considered normal, a cat refusing to eat needs attention. Cats not eating will tapper on their fat reserves for energy and develop a dangerous condition called hepatic lipidosis, especially if they are overweight. If your cat is not eating, don’t hesitate and take it to the vet before the case complicates.

2.Cat is Limping

A limping cat is a clear indication of pain or discomfort. The limp could be caused by a minor wound, a foreign object, a fracture, or arthritis. If your cat is limping, it is best to make a visual inspection to see if you can recognize any apparent injury or foreign object that might be easy to remove. But if there is nothing very obvious, then the right thing to do is bring the cat to the vet for further investigation.

3.Cat is Drinking More Water

In general, it is challenging to get cats to drink water as they should get a good part of their hydration from the moisture content in their prey. Cats on a dry food diet should be encouraged to drink water and ideally be changed to a wet diet. However, if you notice that your cat is drinking more than usual or drinking from unusual sources, such as a hose or the toilet, this could be a sign that something is wrong.

Endocrine disorders, such as diabetes and thyroid issues, cause increased thirst. Endocrine disorders are fairly common in older cats, and unfortunately, we also see a lot of cats developing diabetes due to the higher-than-normal carbohydrate content in most dry cat foods. If your cat has suddenly started drinking more water, bring it to the vet for bloodwork to identify the issue.

4.Cat Urinating More Frequently

If a cat seems to be urinating more frequently, it could be an indication of painful urination. Cats suffering urinary tract infections or stones experience pain when urinating and usually urinate in smaller quantities but more frequently.

Blood in urine or no urine at all is a clear indication that you must take your cat to the vet urgently. This is especially important in the case of male cats. They tend to develop ureteral obstructions, which can become fatal in as little as 24-48 hours if left untreated.


Hiding signs of disease has been a feline’s survival strategy that is still prevalent in our modern cats. Being aware of the signs of a sick cat can go a long way in preventing complications and potentially saving your cat’s life.