Signs of a Sick Cat

Learn the signs of a sick cat.

When you share your home with cats, it's imperative that you know the signs of a sick feline. That way, you can act quickly to get to the vet right away, hopefully allowing more treatment options and a better outcome.

Any behavior change could indicate illness in a cat, so always call your vet if you're concerned about something. Below are some of the most common signs of sickness in cats.

Appetite Changes

Most of the time, illness causes cats to have a decreased or absent appetite. Some conditions, especially hyperthyroidism, can result in an increased appetite and interest in eating items the cat hasn't previously tried to eat, like people food.

Any time you notice an appetite change in your cat, call a vet. Don't wait until your cat stops eating completely because, by then, things may be quite serious. It will be easier for you to tell if your cat's appetite has decreased a bit if you feed your cat meals and measure the food. Feeding your cat free choice and filling the bowl whenever it gets empty makes it harder to tell if she eats less, especially if there are multiple people in the home doing the bowl-filling.

These are general signs of illness in cats. Any behavior change may indicate illness, whether or not it's on this list. You should call your vet if you notice any difference at all in your cat.

Changes in Litter Box Habits

If your kitty suddenly begins eliminating outside the litter box, it could indicate a medical problem. Additionally, if your cat develops soft or hard stool, diarrhea, or stops producing stool, an illness is probably the culprit.

Changes in urination like increased or decreased amounts of urine production are early signs of many medical conditions in cats. Also, urinating small amounts often or visible blood in the urine indicates a problem.

Vocalization Changes

If your cat suddenly starts meowing more than usual or his regular vocalization patterns or their decibel levels change, it could mean pain or illness. Sometimes sick cats begin crying or become quieter than usual. Cats that start meowing at night might have a medical condition or be developing dementia.

New Behaviors

If your cat begins doing something he's never done before, illness might be the cause. This can include hiding or extra clingy behaviors, sleeping in different spots than usual, or having different patterns of playing, interacting, and eating than before.

Grooming Changes

Sick cats often change their self-grooming behaviors, usually neglecting them. A sick cat's coat might begin to look dingy, matted, or dirty. Some cats overgroom a specific area if they're sick. That can be due to stress or pain. Those cats usually develop bald spots or sores on their skin in the overgroomed areas.

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.