Cats are extremely good at hiding the fact that they are unwell. Not showing signs of weakness is a natural protection mechanism.
Often, by the time you realize your cat is unwell, the problem has been around for some time, so it is really important you pay attention to the subtle signs that may mean there is an issue.
The following can help you to identify a problem early and get your cat the help they need:
Frequently, a cat will seek hiding places and be quieter than normal, often sitting in a hunched position if unwell. Constant low level purring can also be a sign that something is wrong.
Cats that are unwell often groom less, leading to an unkempt, less shiny coat. Matts may develop on the underbelly.
Cats that don’t feel well often have a reduced appetite (and reduced water intake) but certain conditions can cause a ravenous appetite, so anything different from the norm should be noted.
Increased thirst can be a sign of poor health either through dehydration or as a symptom of kidney problems or hormone imbalances (such as hyperthyroidism). Reduced water intake could be a sign of nausea or discomfort.
Frequent visits to the litter box and missing the litter tray when urinating can be an early sign of urinary tract infection (or FLUTD). Often the amount of urine produced is very small and may be red-tinged, indicating blood.
Producing excessive urine (again with frequent visits to the litter box or accidents) may indicate a problem such as diabetes.
Prolonged straining in the litter box may indicate urinary tract discomfort or possibly constipation. Likewise, diarrhea can cause frequent visits and straining.Generally, it is a good idea to know what a normal urination and normal defecation looks like when you clean the litter box. That means you will be able to detect changes and potential problems.
As the primary caregiver, you should know what is normal and what is abnormal for your pet. In most cases, spotting these subtle signs early can ensure a prompt visit to your veterinarian and a swift resolution to a problem.