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What Is Wrong With My Cat

What If Your Cat Is Not Eating Or Drinking

Whats wrong with my cat? Why does he look like that? What is wrong? AHH-!

Approved By: Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM

Certified Content. This article has been fact checked and verified by our veterinary adviser.

Loss of appetite can be cause for concern for any pet parent. After all, cats seem to live to eat, so a cat that suddenly doesn’t want to eat can feel like a reason to worry. If you know what can be causing your cat’s sudden hunger strike and how to handle it, your worries will be eased.

It may be something serious that requires veterinary intervention, or it could be just a case of the picky-pickies. Know your cat, and you’ll know what to do.

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  • Have A Sick Cat 9 Ways To Tell If Your Cat Is In Pain

    Some of the most profoundly heartbreaking moments of my cat-caretaking life revolve around being unable to tell how much pain my beloved friends were suffering. Even though I know cats are very good at disguising their pain, I cant help but guilt-trip myself sometimes over this health issue, because as a person whos lived with cats almost all my life, I should be able to notice when somethings out of whack. A sick cat will show symptoms, although often theyre quite subtle. In hopes of helping you recognize signs of pain that eluded me, here are some tips that could signal a sick cat or a cat in pain.

    Excessive Cat Meowing Could Signal Hyperthyroidism

    Typically found in older cats, hyperthyroidism displays a number of symptoms, including weight loss despite ravenous hunger, excessive activity and excessive vocalization. If your cat is showing these symptoms and your cat wont stop meowing, take her to the vet right away for a checkup and blood test.

    Related: What Do Different Cat Meow Sounds Mean?

    Recommended Reading: What Are Cat Years Compared To Human Years

    How Do I Know If My Elderly Cat Is Suffering

    Changes in her appearance Often, the easiest way to tell if your older cat is suffering from ill health that isnt directly related to her age is by her physical appearance. These may not be obvious at first, but eventually you may notice changes such as: Skin problems such as rashes, swelling, sores and dry skin.

    Is His Temperature Abnormal

    Whats Wrong With My Cat Why Does He Look Like That

    To take your cats temperature, lubricate a rectal thermometer and insert it 1 to 1.5 inches into the cats rectum. Depending on the thermometer, leave it there from 10 seconds to a minute. The normal temperature for a cat is 100 to 103 degrees, averaging 101 degrees. If the temperature is 104 degrees or above, or 99 degrees or below, call your veterinarian for advice if its 105 degrees or above, or 96 degrees or below, go to your veterinarian.

    When in doubt, call your veterinarian. A false alarm is better than ignoring the symptoms of a sick cat.

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    Signs Your Cat Needs To Go To The Veterinarian

    Regular check-ups are important for your cats health. These regular pet examinations keep your cat caught up on vaccinations and catch early signs of disease. There are times, however, that your cat may exhibit certain symptoms, and you arent sure whether they require a trip to the veterinarian or a wait and see attitude at home. While it is always a good idea to error on the side of caution and take your cat to the veterinarian if you are concerned, here are ten symptoms that should never be ignored.

  • Signs Of Obvious DistressCats are typically very stoic animals, so if your cat suddenly seems to be in distress, it is a cause for concern. Howling, crying, hiding, and otherwise acting in a way that is out of character for your pet should alert you that something may be seriously wrong.
  • Abnormal Litter Box BehaviorChanges in litter box habits, particularly in male cats, can indicate a serious health problem. Urinary obstruction is a condition that prevents the cat from passing urine and can be fatal without treatment. If your cat suddenly begins urinating outside the litter box, straining and crying while producing little urine, or begins grooming the genital area excessively, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • Overwhelming FatigueMany cats are naturally low energy, but if your cat suddenly becomes entirely sedentary, does not work up enthusiasm for things she normally enjoys, and even goes off by herself to sleep in strange areas, something could be seriously wrong.
  • Facial Expression Signs Of A Cat In Pain

    Some cats may show an obvious change in their facial expression when in pain, while with others it may be more subtle for example:

    • Your cat may squint or close their eyes.
    • Their ears may appear slightly flattened or pressed to the sides.
    • Their mouth, nose and cheeks may appear tenser and more compressed.

    Some cats may be less obvious about displaying signs that theyre in pain and may display some but not all of them.

    If you have any concerns about your cat being in pain, take them for an assessment by your vet as soon as possible.

    Also Check: What Are Cat Years Compared To Human Years

    A Change In Drinking Or Eating

    If you regularly feed your cat at a particular time of day, you should know how much food they consume. Any change in how much your cat eats or drinks can indicate a problem. Note that this goes both ways. A cat who eats less or drinks a lot more than usual is probably sick. A loss in appetite may indicate dental issues or stomach pains.

    How Do I Know When It Is Time

    Whats wrong with my cat why does it look like that

    Most cat owners feel it in their gut when it’s time for their cat to pass on, but acknowledging that feeling can be difficult. There are a few questions you can ask to help guide you in making the right decision for yourself.

    • Keep track of your catâs good days and bad days. Occasional bad days are a normal part of life, but there will come a point when your cat is experiencing more pain and discomfort than happy, comfortable days.
    • Evaluate whether or not your cat still enjoys the things she always has. Does she eat her favorite treats when offered? Does she purr when you pet her? Is she able to access her favorite perches or play with her toys?
    • Talk over your feelings with friends and family. Use your support system as a sounding-board to work through how you want to handle the end of your catâs life.
    • Talk to your cat. It may sound silly, but it can help. Curl up together in your favorite spot and talk it over. She just might tell you when it is time.

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    Symptoms Of A Sick Cat

    Cats, like many animals, are remarkably good at hiding their discomfort when they are ill. In fact, signs of illness may not be obvious until your cat is feeling very unwell. That’s why it’s important to visit your Bartlett vet as soon as possible if you notice any of the following signs or symptoms:

    • Constricted or dilated pupils
    • No inclination to play or appearing lethargic
    • Much less or much more vocal than usual
    • Sudden changes in appetite, drinking, or eating habits
    • Noticeable weight loss or gain
    • Rapid breathing or shortness of breath
    • Neglecting grooming or over-grooming
    • Improper use of litter box
    • Limping or injuries
    • Discharge from eyes or nose
    • Hair loss or skin irritation
    • Hiding

    Restlessness And Waking At Night

    A cats sleep-wake cycle can be impaired by FCD. However, as with most symptoms of FCD, there are also many alternative reasons for increased nighttime activity. For instance, cats who sleep more during the day can become more restless and active at night. Sensory changes, such as eyesight or hearing loss, can affect your cats depth of sleep. An increased need to eliminate combined with a decreased ability to locate or access a litter box can prompt your cat to wake up and wander around. Ask your cats veterinarian to do a complete examination to identify medical problems that could cause restlessness, discomfort or an increased need to eliminate. At the same time, try to reestablish your cats normal sleeping and waking hours. Its best to increase her activity level by engaging her in play during the day and in the evening so shell want to sleep at night.

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    Drop Or Gain In Weight

    Cat weight loss, which can happen quickly or over a more extended period of time, and rapid weight gain can be signs your cat is sick.

    Weight loss

    Loss of appetite and weight loss can indicate common cat illnesses from simple tummy aches to more serious problems, like cancer or kidney disease. With some illnesses, like hyperthyroidism, cats may drop weight in spite of having a hearty appetite.

    Weight gain

    If your cat balloons up, it could be from bloating or abdominal swelling rather than added pounds. Other causes of rapid weight gain include pregnancy, tumors, parasitic infections, hypothyroidism, or Cushings disease. In any case, you should check in with your veterinarian about whats going on.

    Your veterinarian should also keep track of your cats weight at annual wellness exams.

    Your veterinarian should also keep track of your cats weight at annual wellness exams. Obesity is a growing problem for cats and can result in a number of health issues, such as feline diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems. An annual exam is covered by our wellness options, which can be added to any plan .

    Nasal And Sinus Issues

    Whats wrong with my Cat?

    Cats can also suffer from inflammatory conditions like rhinitis and sinusitis. Rhinitis is the inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose, which we all know as a stuffy nose, and sinusitis is inflammation in the lining of the sinuses.

    These two conditions often occur together in cats, termed rhinosinusitis, and are common complications of upper respiratory infections.


    In addition to frequent sneezing, signs of rhinitis and sinusitis in cats include:

    • Clear nasal discharge in mild cases OR yellow, green or bloody in severe cases
    • Labored breathing, snoring and/or breathing through the mouth
    • Pawing at the face
    • Tearing and discharge from the eyes
    • Reverse sneezing
    • A lump on the bridge of the nose


    Diagnosing rhinitis and sinusitis involves an evaluation of your cats medical history, along with a thorough physical examination. A rhinoscopy, which involves inserting a small endoscope into the nose or mouth for better visualization of the nasal structure, may also be needed along with a nasal wash to collect samples.

    Treatment may include a nasal flush and broad-spectrum antibiotics to treat or prevent bacterial infections, along with a dose of steroids to open up the nasal and sinus cavities. Intravenous fluids and nutritional support may also be needed in severe cases.

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    What To Do If Your Cat Is Sick

    If your cat is displaying any unusual behaviors it’s worth a trip to the vet for diagnosis and treatment. Early detection and treatment of illnesses can help to prevent conditions from becoming more severe or potentially life-threatening.

    Cat injuries or illnesses often require urgent medical attention, surgery or even emergency care. It is essential to seek professional veterinary advice as soon as possible. The sooner treatment begins, the sooner your furry friend will be acting more like themselves again.

    Your Pet May Be Experiencing Psychological Stress And Anxiety

    Just like humans, your pet feline may be going through psychological stress, anxiety and even depression. Some of the reasons that can attribute to this include the loss of a companion animal, loud noises or competition in a multi-pet household. Aside from weight loss, a stressed cat may become aggressive, have mood swings or may hide and avoid company and interaction.

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    Is Cat Sneezing Serious

    It depends on whether the cause is environmental or a disease.

    Sometimes the irritants that trigger the sneeze reflex are environmentallike dust, mold, or pollenwhich the cat inhales, causing them to sneeze. In these cases, sneezing is usually not serious, especially if seen in an isolated episode.

    More often, though, cat sneezing is caused by one or more disease processes.

    Most commonly, a viral infection is the initial problem, with subsequent inflammation and bacterial infections causing damage to the architecture inside the nose, perpetuating the problem.

    Whats Wrong With My Cat Owners Hilarious Pics Of Their Malfunctioning Cats Part 2

    What’s wrong with my cat?

    Our cats often confound us, we find their behaviour baffling and are often confused by their actions. In reality, theres a lot that we still dont know about cats, but we love them for who they are and accept them into our families with open arms and hearts.

    Theres a group on Reddit that serves as a place for cat lovers to show off their furry friends being goofy and doing things that are completely bewildering to us. Whats Wrong With My Cat? has over 200,000 members posting pictures of their kitties in the most bizarre and hilarious situations.

    Its true that we have no idea why these cats are acting so strange and we probably will never know why. All we can do is put it down to cat logic, which has always been the human way of explaining cat behaviour.

    And as you liked part 1 so much, we thought it was time for more! So sit back and enjoy part 2, these hilarious pictures of malfunctioning cats are sure to delight everyone who appreciates kitties as much as we do.

    1. Too Lazy To Stand Up So He Clogged The Sink With His Body And Created A Drinking Pool

    2. Some Cats Hunt Mice And Bring Them To You As A Gift. My Cat Hunts Bread!

    3. My Friends Explanation Is Hes Just Weird, Idk

    4. My Moms Cat. 100% Stuck And Not Nearly As Amused As I Was

    5. Whatever Is Comfy I Guess

    6. Just As The Prophecy Foretold

    7. The Whisker Demon Has Returned To Assert Dominance While I Clean Up Her Hairball

    8. Longè

    10. Even More Heartwarming Is That It Was A Mommys Home Reaction

    Read Also: What Does It Mean When A Cat’s Pupils Are Big

    How To Prevent Illness In Cats

    Many owners underestimate the importance of routine veterinary care for cats. They may wait several years to bring their cats to the vet for check-ups. Worse, they sometimes wait until their cat is sick. It’s understandable that people would want to avoid putting their cats through the stress of a veterinary visit. Some cats become very anxious or even aggressive at the vet. Rather than waiting, try to find a veterinary practice that is less stressful for your cat. Many feline-friendly practices are out there, some even cat-only practices. Alternatively, you may consider finding a mobile vet who can come to your home. Many cats do better in a familiar environment.

    Annual veterinary exams are essential for cats. Senior cats can benefit from biannual check-ups and routine lab work. These visits give the vet an opportunity to examine your cat when he appears healthy. The vet may find minor abnormalities on the exam that indicate a minor problem before your cat gets really sick. Early detection might mean you and your vet can take action before the illness becomes serious.

    You can also keep your cat as healthy as possible by feeding a healthy diet. A healthy diet can help your cat avoid obesity and a wide array of other health issues. Many vets recommend wet diets high in protein and low in carbohydrates.

    Be sure to use routine parasite prevention as recommended by your vet. This can prevent fleas, intestinal parasites, and other parasites from making your cat sick.

    Avoiding The Litter Box

    A change in litter box habits, even a slight one, may be an early sign that your cat is under the weather. “When a cat goes to the bathroom outside of its litter box, it could indicate a urinary tract infection, blockage, bladder stones, constipation, or kidney, liver or thyroid issues,” says Dr. Ryan. Similarly, if your cat is using the litter box more or less frequently than usual, you should tell the vet.

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    Why Is My Cat Suddenly Hidingand How To Help

    Some cats hide under the bed. Others, in closets. And others, have a hiding spot so good you still dont know where it is.

    Although shyness is a personality trait and hiding under certain circumstances is okay, its important to know when its normal, when theres something wrong, and when you need to build their confidence.

    Ill tell you how to spot each of these scenarios, and then give you some advice on what to do to help your kitty feel like they always belong even when guests visit.

    Breathing Through Their Mouth

    Help: What The Heck is Wrong with My Catâs Tongue?

    While it may not be a big deal to see your dog breathing through its mouth, it may be a serious issue when your cat follows suit. While a cat breathing through their mouth can be a sign of an infection or allergies, Dr. Bales cautions that it may also be a sign of a life-threatening form of respiratory distress, and definitely merits an immediate call to the vet.

    Recommended Reading: Cat Pee On Wood Floors

    Signs That Your Cat Is Sick

    Jenna Stregowski, RVT has worked in veterinary medicine for more than two decades. Her veterinary experience ranges from routine wellness care and preventive medicine to emergency and specialty care, where she has performed duties ranging from specialized nursing to clinical administration. Jenna has been writing about pet care for over 10 years, including for publications like DVM 360 and DogTime.

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    Illustration: The Spruce / Ellen Lindner

    Could your cat be sick? It may be difficult to know if subtle changes in your cat indicate a health problem. Cats are experts at hiding illness. In the wild, this instinct can protect them from predators or other cats that might be a threat. Today’s house cat has the same tendency to avoid vulnerability, even if the only potential threat is a housemate. Even cats in single-pet homes tend to have the instinct to self-protect.

    There is another reason why cats and many other animals are less likely to show pain or illness: they simply do not have an emotional relationship with their discomfort. Animals tend to accept the pain or illness as the new normal and move on. It may not be until they are extremely ill that their sickness becomes obvious to humans.


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