The sooner you can tell if your cat is sick, the better its chances will be of a full recovery.

In this article, you will learn some of the telltale signs to look out for.

How to tell if your cat is sick

There are several ways you can see if your cat is sick. Here is the most common reasons.

1. Changes in Appetite

If you have noticed your cat eating a lot more or less than usual, they could be sick. This is one of the more common signs that you should be aware of.

Cats that experience problems with their intestines or digestive system tend to eat less or stop eating altogether. If your cat has diabetes, it could start eating more than it normally does. Either way, this is a cause for concern.

sick kitten

2. Vomiting

There is no question that vomiting is a sign of illness with cats. The odd hairball isn’t a big deal, but frequent throwing up means you need to see the vet right away.

You don’t want to simply wait for your cat to get better, as this is a pretty serious symptom. In fact, there is a pretty good chance that it will only get worse without treatment. Your veterinarian will most likely be able to pinpoint a reason for your cat’s vomiting.

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3. Weight Fluctuation

It is not normal for cats to rapidly gain or lose weight, so you will need to watch out for this as well. If your cat is losing weight very quickly, they could have cancer or some other serious illness that requires immediate treatment.

weight gain can be the result of feeding your cat too much, but it usually happens over the course of months and not weeks.

sick cat under blanket

4. Sluggishness

If you notice that your cat is uncharacteristically sluggish and lethargic, they might be sick. Some cats are more active than others, so you need to consider what your kitty is usually like.

Diabetes is just one condition that affects cats and can cause sudden lethargy. If they seem to always be lying around and not playing with their toys, there is a reason. This type of change in behavior should always be taken seriously.

5. Increased Thirst

Cats that have diabetes or problems with their kidneys often exhibit a significant increase in thirst. If you notice that your cat is gulping down its water much faster than normal, there might be a problem.

If this is the case, you don’t want to simply keep giving your cat more water to drink. This could actually make the problem worse. It is important that you make an appointment to see your veterinarian as soon as possible.

6. Hair Loss

Some cats that are sick begin losing their hair in big clumps. This is a lot more serious than normal shedding, and it’s usually easy to notice.

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This particular symptom could be the result of parasites, which can most likely be treated with a medication prescribed by your vet. The longer you ignore the hair loss, the worse their condition is going to get.

You should also pay attention to general irritation of your cat’s coat, as this can also be a sign that they are sick. Redness, inflammation or raw spots on your cats coat are all red flags that should be of concern.

7. Excessive Licking

Both cats and dogs tend to lick themselves more when they are sick. This can be a way for these animals to comfort themselves when they don’t feel good. It might also be a problem with their skin.

Sometimes a cat will also lick random objects in addition to themselves. If you start to notice this behavior, you’ll want to take your cat to the vet.

8. Aggressive Behavior

It is also possible that a sick cat will become more aggressive than usual. If your cat is typically very calm and friendly, this is another big red flag to pay attention to.

Any sudden change in behavior with your cat should be a cause for concern. A normally affectionate cat becoming aggressive is just one of the more obvious signs that something is wrong with it.

9. Difficulty Getting Around

You also want to pay close attention to changes in your cat’s movements. If your feline friend is limping or seems to have problems walking, there is definitely something wrong.

Limping can be a sign of arthritis, which is a condition that does affect many cats, especially older ones. There could also be some sort of injury that you are not able to see unless you do a closer inspection.

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10. Swelling

If you ever notice any area of your cat’s body swelling up, you will need to get them in to see the vet right away. This is often a sign of an infection, which can be quite serious. Your cat may require antibiotics to treat the infection, which will cause the swelling to go down.

Check Your Cat Out on a Regular Basis

It is a good idea to give your cat a thorough looking over on a regular basis to make sure that there are no signs of illness. This includes closely looking over their coat and skin for signs of irritation or swelling. The sooner you spot a sign that something is wrong, the better off your pet will be.


  • Pay close attention to any changes in appetite that your cat exhibits, whether it is eating more or less than usual.
  • Vomiting should be a clear indication that your cat is sick and needs medical attention.
  • A sudden decrease in energy and playfulness can also mean that something is wrong with your cat.
  • An increase in thirst could mean that there is a problem with your cat’s kidneys.
  • If your cat is shedding its fur much more than usual, there is probably some issue that needs to be addressed.
  • Excessive licking is another sign of illness with cats and should not be ignored.
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Hi! I'm Anna and I´m a certified cynologist (KAU, ACW). Expert, blue cross volunteer, owner of Chinese crested kennel "Salvador Dali" and breedless friend called Fenya. "I can't imagine my life without dogs and I totally support the idea #AdoptDontShop".