Signs of Sickness in Cats

February is National Cat Health Month! One thing for people with kitties to be concerned about is the fact that cats usually try to hide signs of illness or injury. This can be very dangerous, as you may not realize that there’s something wrong with your feline friend until she’s quite sick. Therefore, it’s important to know what to look for. In this article, a Rochester, NY vet lists some signs of sickness in cats.


Just like people, cats often withdraw when they don’t feel well. Fluffy may take to hiding somewhere unusual, such as under a bed or behind a couch. Of course, some kitties are quite shy by nature, and may bolt when the doorbell rings. What you want to look for here is uncharacteristic behavior.

Poor Grooming

Our feline pals are very clean, and will carefully groom themselves every day. Fluffy may ignore her usual beauty rituals if she isn’t feeling well. This can make her fur look unkempt or even greasy.


We know, some kitties are furry little curmudgeons. However, if your normally-sweet furball has suddenly morphed into an angry grouch, she could be sick.

Litterbox Issues/Straining

Any time you see a cat straining to relieve themselves, it’s always a red flag. Diarrhea is also a warning sign, as are any changes in the amount, texture, or smell of your pet’s waste.


The occasional hairball is more or less ‘purr’ for the course with cats. However, if Fluffy throws up often, and/or is dry heaving or vomiting violently, there may be something much more serious going on.

Decreased Appetite

Fluffy can be a bit finicky, and sometimes likes to turn her nose up at what you put in her bowl. However, a fussy furball will probably meow to demand something else. If your kitty just doesn’t seem interested in eating, she could be sick. Increases in appetite can also be a warning sign, as can changes in water consumption.

Respiratory Issues

Coughing, wheezing, sneezing, and gasping are definitely not normal for cats. These are typically signs of respiratory distress, which is extremely dangerous for kitties.


If you notice any of these symptoms in your feline buddy, contact your vet immediately. The sooner an issue is treated, the better!

Please contact us, your Rochester, NY vet clinic, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

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