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Signs of Illness in Cats

February 15, 2018

Kitties are very charismatic and personable, and have a way of wrapping their human pals around their paws. Fluffy will definitely let you know if she is hungry, or wants you to play with her. However, cats aren’t that forthright when it comes to letting us know they don’t feel well. In fact, our feline friends can be very secretive about letting on that they are ill. Therefore, it’s very important for people with cats to know what to watch for. Read on as a local Salem, VA vet lists some common signs of sickness in kitties.

Poor Grooming

Healthy kitties take their beauty regimens very seriously. Fluffy may spend up to a third of her waking time grooming herself! However, if your furball isn’t feeling well, she may forego her usual routines. If she does, it won’t take very long for her coat to start showing the neglect. Matted, greasy, or unkempt fur can all be signs of illness in cats.

Reduced Appetite

While Fluffy may be a bit picky at times, she should still be interested in dinner. If your pet doesn’t seem to have an appetite, she may be ill. Sudden increases in appetite can also indicate sickness.


We know, kitties sometimes like to sleep in quiet nooks and crannies, because, well, that’s sort of what cats do. However, if Fluffy doesn’t want to leave her hiding spot, she could be sick.

Unusual Behavior

Keep an eye out for behavior that doesn’t seem normal for your cat. For instance, if Fluffy is usually a furry little curmudgeon, but suddenly wants to be cuddled, she could be sick. The opposite is also true: friendly cats that start acting uncharacteristically grumpy may also be ill. Changes in your kitty’s vocalizations can also be warning signs.

Respiratory Issues

Respiratory issues can be very, very dangerous to cats. If you notice your kitty wheezing, gasping, or coughing, contact your vet right away. If you notice your cat showing signs of respiratory issues, unusual grooming habits, or other symptoms mentioned, it may be time to explore our ‘Allergies & Dermatology’ services for a comprehensive approach to your pet’s health.

Litterbox Issues

Changes in the smell, color, amount, or texture of your cat’s waste can be red flags. Straining to go, or avoiding the litterbox altogether, are also warning signs.


While the occasional hairball may not be unusual, extreme, frequent, or violent vomiting are signs of trouble.

As you monitor your cat for any signs of illness, also consider the special care your senior pet may need during holiday gatherings. Read our ‘Thanksgiving With Senior Pets’ article for tips on making the holiday safe and enjoyable for them. If your pet has any of these symptoms, please contact us, your local Salem, VA pet clinic, immediately. We are dedicated to providing excellent care.

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