Almost every cat illness is accompanied by some early warning signs. These signs can be very difficult to recognize at first and can be easily misinterpreted. In some cases you might spot the changes in behavior but pass it off as being normal or harmless. It is important to remember that early warning signs can be indicating the presence of a developing illness. The sooner you notice the warning signs, the better chance you have of getting rid of the problem. It is a terrible feeling to find out that your cat is very sick because you missed the earlier indications. In order to avoid this situation, always be on the watch for these possible early warning signs.
Sudden Behavioral Changes
Has your usually very social and affectionate cat suddenly started to avoid being touched or held? Or has your very active and energetic cat started to sleep and lie around more often? Any sudden personality or behavior changes can be indicating a developing health issue.
The appearance of new behaviors or an increase in frequency of regular activities may also be pointing towards a developing issue. Suddenly starting to drink from the toilet or constant scratching and grooming are a just a couple of examples. If your cat is drinking significantly more water than it usually does, this could be indicating several different things such as: kidney disease, diabetes or just that it is too hot in the house.
The presence of these warning signs could possibly indicate health problems, but they do not mean that your cat has a serious illness, let alone an illness at all. If you recognize one of the signs, all you have to do is pay closer attention to your cat’s activities and behavior. This will enable you to quickly take action if the signs aren’t going away or get worse.
Contact your vet as soon as possible and inform them of the warning signs you have observed and how they have progressed. They might tell you to schedule an appointment so that they can examine your cat, or to give you advice on what to look and ask you more questions.
Any change in personality or behavior can be a significant one, even if a sign appears to be unimportant or harmless. Being able to properly monitor your cat’s health will help you cat developing health issues early on and give your cat the best chance of being successfully treated.
Sudden Changes of Appearance
If you notice that your cat has lost or gained weight even though its appetite and diet are constant, it could be due to a serious problem. Loss of shine in the fur, fur that is rough to the touch and significant hair loss are all important early warning signs as well. All of these “warning signs” will happen gradually as your cat gets older, but if your cat is young and these signs appear suddenly, they are cause for concern.
Eating and Elimination Signs
Cats are usually picky eaters. They will often refuse to eat food that they think doesn’t taste good in the hopes of being given better food. However, once a cat is eating a particular food, their tastes won’t change. If you have been feeding your cat the same food for while and they suddenly refuse to eat it, it isn’t because they are bored and want something new. This is an indication that your cat is not feeling well. Eating much more than usual is also a sign of illness, albeit a much different one.
Covered litter boxes make it difficult to recognize changes to your cat’s bowel movements. You might find it gross, but you should take a quick look at the contents of the litter box when you are cleaning it. A noticeable influx or decrease of excrement or urine and finding blood, pus or an unusual smell are all signs that there could be a problem. If you don’t clean out your cat’s litter box often, then you should contact your vet as soon as possible because these signs cannot be classified as “early” anymore.
Similarly, if a cat that is trained to use the litter box makes a mess somewhere else in your house, there is a problem. This could be due to high stress levels or a change in environment, but it could also be caused by a worm infestation, bladder infection or other serious illnesses.
It isn’t easy to figure out whether a change is primarily behavioral, appearance or eating and elimination based. Walking back and forth could be classified as a change in behavior or a sign of an overactive thyroid. A cat that has scratched off some of its hair has a different appearance due to a behavioral change. In addition to this, these changes may take place over a few days to several months. They can also appear and disappear randomly, making them very difficult to keep track of. For example, a cat that is starting to develop diabetes will consume more water and urinate more often. It would be extremely hard to notice if your cat started taking one more drink or pee each week and it would still be tough to notice even if it were a daily occurrence! Unfortunately, when you take notice of the extra trips, the diabetes has probably developed into a serious problem.
It is important that you work hard at developing your ability to notice and track any changes to your cat’s behavior, appearance, eating and elimination.
Once you realize that your cat has a problem, you must then determine if it is a problem you can solve by yourself or if you need to make a visit to your veterinarian. Here at Cat Illnesses HQ, we aim to help you decide which option is right for you and your cat.