Cats are known for their ability to hide their pain as it helps them appear less vulnerable to predators in the wild. But if you’ve chosen to get a cat as a member of your family, it’s best to understand more about cat behavior. Many sites have reviews, tips, and more cat information to help cat lovers all over the world give the proper care to their pets.
Aside from keeping your pet safe from wild dogs and other animals that may harm them, you must also protect them from unseen factors that may affect their overall wellness. Thus, you should be wary of the following behavior problems in your cat that may need attention:
If you notice that your cat is lacking affection, refuses to be pet, it can feel heavy on you as a pet owner. You simply want to see your cat in its sweet self again but no amount of playing makes it happy. This could signal that your cat is feeling a health condition that needs to be checked by the vet.
2. Loss of Appetite
Not wanting to eat or inability to eat is a pet behavior that needs immediate attention. Often, this sign is the first thing to observe when your cat is sick. There are various causes of appetite loss and it needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Whatever sickness your cat is experiencing, not eating can have a serious impact on its health. Cats that are younger than 6 months of age need even more attention as not eating may lead to more serious problems.
3. Increased Appetite
While you may think that this is a good sign to see in your cat, you should be concerned if this suddenly happens to an old cat. This is a sign of hypothyroidism, which should be confirmed by various tests by your vet. For younger cats, however, this sign may not be so scary, but it should be monitored as excessive food intake can usually lead to obesity and overeating.
4. Problem Breathing
This could mean shortness of breath, difficult or labored breathing and can happen anytime during breathing, whether during inhalation or exhalation. If your cat has trouble breathing, it may have difficulty getting sufficient oxygen to its tissues. Trouble breathing is also linked to fluid accumulating in the chest cavity or lungs. This condition can result in your cat having shortness of breath, coughing, or needing to open its mouth to breathe. This condition is fatal and should be checked immediately.
5. Excessive Thirst and Urination
Like humans, these behaviors are usually early indicators of diseases such as thyroid gland problems, diabetes mellitus, kidney failure, or uterine infection. Regular-sized cats usually consume about one cup of water daily. Others may drink less if given food with more water content. Contact your veterinarian if you observe that your cat is drinking too much water or urinating more frequently.
6. Weakness or Lethargy
If your cat is unresponsive to various stimuli like touch, sound, light, always asleep, then your pet is lethargic. This is a sign of many possible systemic disorders, which can be fatal. Being lethargic for more than one day should be immediately addressed.
7. Experiencing Seizures
When brain nerves excessively work, convulsions or seizures happen. Seizures can vary from twitching a part of the face to urinating, falling on one side, defecating, or paddling its limbs. Seizures may also last from a few seconds to several minutes. When your cat has seizures, it means that it has a neurological disorder which could be one of the following: tumors, toxins, or metabolic diseases.
Although coughing is a reflective reflex to help clear the throat or airways of foreign matter to prevent aspiration, it is not a common problem among cats. Coughing affects your cat’s respiratory system by hampering its ability to breathe properly. Coughing can mean heart failure, windpipe obstruction, lung tumor, bronchitis, heartworm diseases, and pneumonia. Have your cat checked by a veterinarian as coughing can mean life-threatening issues.
9. Changes in Litter Habits
Cats are naturally clean, and they usually want to stay clean by tidying up their waste. They’re known to bury their urine or feces after relieving themselves. If you notice that there is a change in their urine or bowel movements, inspect if its litter box is clean. Cats usually will find a clean place to do their thing. However, if the litter box is clean, then it could signal that your cat is suffering from a serious condition, which deserves the attention of a professional.
10. Intense Scratching and Hyperactivity
Cats are known for this behavior of being playful and wanting to scratch everything. Although this is a fairly simple issue to resolve, delaying it can mean the destruction of your home furniture. Moreover, it’s possible for your cat to develop aggression and more serious behavioral issues. Give your cat a place with enough space to play around and add a scratch post. Allow them to get busy with some toys and release some of its energy.
11. Meowing Too Much
Cats or any animal would express their discomfort by making a sound that should be like crying. A little bit of meowing may not be a cause for concern but if your cat’s being too noisy than her usual self or if she sounds different, you may need to visit the vet with your cat.
12. Changes in Voice
Cat owners tend not to pay attention to their kitty’s vocal changes thinking that something so minor can’t be a health concern. For this issue, it’s important that you are familiar with your cat more than anyone else so that you can easily observe any changes with its behavior. Your cat may not be feeling well if she becomes too quiet, too noisy, or if her voice sounds different than normal.
13. Biting and Itching
Your cat can itch due to many things including ticks, fleas, and mites. However, there are other reasons why your cat can itch, which may not be too obvious. Infections including yeast, fungus, and staph or hormonal problems can cause itch, too. You need to be careful especially when you notice skin irritation, scratches, or hair loss. Check if your cat is licking, chewing, or scratching more than usual.
14. Lameness and Difficulty Moving
Such symptoms can mean that your cat has arthritis but sometimes, it can also mean that your cat is getting older. While it’s nice to spoil your pets and let them do what they want, it’s also crucial to keep them active for health reasons. If your cat has arthritis, there are various treatments that can be given to provide relief. Painful movements may also be brought about by various reasons including ruptured ligament, injury, hip dysplasia, and tick-borne diseases.
Other Signs That Shouldn’t Be Ignored
1. Urination Problems
This can include showing signs of discomfort when urinating, frequently trying to urinate, straining during urination, inability to hold urine or urinating outside its litter box. Check if your cat is excessively licking its urogenital area or crying when urinating. Although there are various causes of such behavior, one fatal reason is urinary obstruction. If this condition is left untreated, it can lead to death in less than 2 days.
2. Weight Loss
Losing weight happens when your pet excretes or uses essential nutrients faster than it absorbs them. What happens is that the animal’s body burns more calories than it retains. Your cat needs attention if it loses more than 10% of its body weight. There are also different reasons why your cat would lose weight and some of these underlying issues can be life-threatening.
If your cat has lost weight without modifications in its lifestyle habits, it could mean something serious. If your cat is not eating, this is something to consider as well. But if he’s eating as much as he usually does, it can probably mean a disease such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes, parasites, and other causes.
You can easily observe jaundice in people or in pets because the tissues around the body become yellowish. This condition is due to an increased level of bilirubin, which is brought about by several reasons. Whatever is the underlying condition in your cat, jaundice is not normal and shouldn’t be ignored.
4. Having Pale-colored Gums
This can indicate shock or blood loss, which can indicate a life-threatening issue and must be checked by an expert.
5. Warmer Body Temperature Than Normal
Fever indicates that the body is trying to fight infection. When viruses and bacteria invade the body, the body responds by increasing temperature to fight these foreign organisms. Cats have a normal body temperature of 100.5 to 102.5ºF. If your cat’s temperature goes higher than normal, then it could be time to check with your veterinarian.
6. Getting Red Eyes
When a cat gets red eyes, it could mean that it has an infection or inflammation. Check if your cat has one or both its eyes are red, which could signal a sickness that could eventually lead to blindness. Such a symptom can mean diseases involving various eye parts including the cat’s sclera, external eyelids, cornea, conjunctiva, or third eyelid. Other diseases that cause red eyes include glaucoma or eye socket diseases.
7. Blood In The Stool
Fresh blood in your cat’s stool can mean bleeding of its colon or rectum. But if the stool appears black and tarry, this can indicate digested blood in its feces. A cat with bloody stool should be immediately brought to the veterinarian to determine the underlying cause of such concern.
8. Bloody Urine
Blood in the cat’s urine can indicate several conditions including cancer, bacterial infection, or urinary tract stones. The presence of blood in the urine is called hematuria and can be microscopic or visible to the unaided eyes.
9. Appears to Have Bite Wounds
Animals can engage in either rough play or in a fight and get bitten. Wounds due to biting may look like a small hole in the skin. However, when a tooth pierces the skin, damage can occur to its underlying tissues without incurring obvious skin damage. Depending on the body part that was bitten, some of these bite wounds may seem minor but can have the potential to pose danger to your cat’s life. Thus, bite wounds should be given immediate attention by a veterinarian.
10. Blood In Vomit
A cat may have bright red fresh blood in its vomit or show digested blood, which looks brownish in color. The underlying causes of the presence of blood in vomit can vary among cases and could range from minor conditions to life-threatening problems.
11. Hair Loss
Shedding is normal for most furry pets, but if your cat has obvious bald spots or that it sheds hair in patches, it could be a different story. Parasites and skin infections may cause patchy hair in your cat. Symmetrical bald areas that appear on both sides of the cat’s body can mean that your cat is suffering from an endocrine disorder such as hypothyroidism. If your cat has a single bald spot, it could mean that your cat had an injury. Check your cat’s hair loss signs but wear gloves before touching your pet as ringworm, which causes hair loss, can be transferred to humans.
12. Severe Diarrhea And Repeated Vomiting
While it’s normal for your cat to throw up and then return to its normal self after, vomiting several times a day together with other symptoms like lack of appetite and lethargy is not to be taken lightly. Minor issues can include your cat swallowing something undesirable, a gastrointestinal sickness, parasite such as roundworm or it can be a more serious condition such as metabolic problems.
Paralysis can be brought about by physical injury or it can also be a sign of fatal internal illness. If your cat is suffering from paralysis of its back end together with pain and distress, it can signal that your cat has aortic thromboembolism. This is a condition that occurs as a complication of heart disease, where blood clots in its legs.
When you notice the different behavioral and physical symptoms mentioned above, it’s highly recommended that you visit your veterinarian immediately for further examination. These signs shouldn’t be ignored as these can pose danger to your cat’s health. What’s important in noticing these signs is that you know your cat well enough to know that she’s not feeling herself and that she needs professional attention.