Feb 11, 2022

National Cat Health Month: Knowing the Signs of Sickness in Cats

Posted by Bob under Cat Ownership, Cats

February is National Cat Health Month. This month encourages cat owners to place extra focus on their cat’s physical and emotional well-being. It can be beneficial for cat owners to educate themselves on the signs of unhealthy behavior and illness in cats, since most cats are masters at hiding their pain or sickness.

Veterinary Care for Cats

Several studies in the last decade have demonstrated that as many as 50% or more of cat owners do not take their cat to the vet regularly. According to one study, some of the reasons owners cited for not taking their cat to the vet include worrying their cat will have an unpleasant experience at the vet, seeing cats as self-sufficient and requiring minimal attention, believing their cat was in excellent health and was never sick or injured, and believing an indoor-only cat is not susceptible to diseases. But as we know, cats can be masters at hiding their pain. So, while you may think they are perfectly healthy, there can be subtle signs of sickness or pain that are easy to miss if you’re not looking closely.

Signs of Sickness and Pain in Cats

As a cat owner, it’s important to educate yourself about the signs of potential sickness or pain in cats. Some of the more obvious signs include vomiting, diarrhea, limping, discharge from eyes or nose, and changes in appetite. But there are other subtle signs you can look for to help you determine if your cat is not feeling well. One sign is a change in activity level or social interaction. A sick cat may play less or may not jump as high, or they may start hiding more. Sick cats may also groom themselves less or, alternatively, excessively groom themselves. Another potential sign of illness in cats is a change in litterbox habits. Cats that are not feeling well may start to have accidents outside of their litterbox or you may notice decreased or increased urine output. A more detailed description of potential signs of sickness in cats can be found here.

What to Do if You Notice a Problem

If you notice any of the above signs and are concerned that your cat may not be feeling well, a veterinary visit may be in order. An examination and routine tests can help determine if your cat may be suffering from an illness or disease. And since February is National Cat Health Month, there’s no better time to pay extra attention to your cat!


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