Despite being predators themselves, stronger predators will prey on a cat when in the wild. Since sick and aged animals are easy prey, any visible evidence of disease would signal other carnivores that the creature is sick. As a result, over time, cats developed the ability to mask signs of illness and pain. 

This also leads to cat owners not observing that the cat is quiet and reclusive during the early stages of a disease. However, this implies that a cat could become ill before its owner notices anything is amiss. 

Keep a close eye for prevalent disorders’ telltale indications and keep regular health checklists at hand. If you observe anything unusual, contact your veterinarian right away. Veterinarians can detect subtle indicators that the cat is developing some health condition thanks to their knowledge and experience. 

The American Veterinary Medical Association and professionals recommend twice-yearly checkups for average adult cats. If you have an essential awareness of how cats exhibit disease indications, you will be able to spot early symptoms and determine what details to give to the veterinarian. 

Signs to Look Out for 

Changes in physical features, activity level, socialization, shedding amounts, nutrition, litter box utilization, respiration, or secretions from the nose and eyes are all illness indicators. Unexpected changes in your feline’s behavior should alert you to the need for veterinarian care. 

1. Change in Physical Features

Diseased cats may appear to be “odd.” The cat would sit in a slumped posture, walk less elegantly as it used to, fail to elevate and tilt its head or unusually swing its tail. 

There might not be a single change that jumps out, but rather a series of small changes. Dehydration is a recurrent issue in sick cats. Gently hold the cat’s skin at its shoulder blades, pull it up, and let go to test whether it’s dehydrated or not. The cat is dehydrated if the skin does not snap back and stays tented up, and requires immediate medical attention. 

Cats suffering from chronic diseases suffer from gradual weight loss, which is only noticeable if you run a hand over its spine and ribs. For example, a cat that lost weight quickly, especially if it was previously obese, could be suffering from a metabolic condition like diabetes or hyperthyroidism. 

2. Litter Box Utilization 

There are a few things to keep an eye out for in the cat when it comes to litter box usage. Recurrent defecation, straining grunts when passing stool, excreting outside the litterbox, pungent feces’ stench, watery or crusty feces, and others are among them. 

Blood in stool is alarming even if your cat is acting normal and a typical occurrence. Fresh blood is red and presents as light crimson streaks, particularly on the outer side of the feces. It usually indicates problems with the anal glands or the lower intestine. 

Metabolized blood is usually black and changes the color of the feces, making them completely black. Melena is the term used by vets to describe this condition. Black stool implies bleeding in the upper digestive tract. 

Pay close attention to these signs. At times blood in stool is just a consequence of a minor infection. However, rule out infections and consult the veterinarian if your cat exhibits signs of agony and weakness. 

3. Constant Vomiting, Choking, or Nausea

Generally, it is customary to spit out hairballs or grass occasionally. On the other end, constant nausea or choking may indicate an ailment like a kidney infection. 

4. Inflamed Gums 

Inflamed gums accompanied by poor breath are signs of gum disease. Cats with severe dental disease can lose teeth, causing them to drop food and even lose weight due to their inability to eat. 

5. Troubled Breathing 

Shortness of breath, huffing, and mouth breathing indicate an issue with the respiratory tracts and lungs. The cat would extend its head and neck to find relief and would be unable to sleep in a comfortable posture. Constant sneezing and coughing are also signs of a problem.

6. Eye Changes 

Squinting, unusual pupil constriction or dilation, or anisocoria, a condition where one pupil remains dilated while the other remains constricted, are red flags. An elevated third eyelid is also an indication of a disease. 

The third eyelid is a structure that lies behind the lower lid and covers a part of the eyeball in an ill cat. Any eye abnormality could lead to blindness. So if uncertain, visit your veterinarian immediately. 


Regular monitoring for cat health conditions is an excellent method to stay on top of your cat’s wellbeing. While disease symptoms might be subtle, fall on the side of safety and book appointments for a veterinary inspection as early as possible if your cat is not feeling well.