We do our best to take care of our feline friends, but sometimes signs of pain and sickness go unnoticed. Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, described feline behavior that could mean an underlying health issue.
“Cats tend to hide their symptoms, which is probably due to survival instinct,” Eckman said. “Most signs of illness or injury are subtle, including sleeping more than normal; not getting up to greet you, if that is normal behavior; or laying and sleeping in the same position for long periods of time.”
Other changes pet owners should be aware of include the cat withdrawing or being reluctant to be petted. Changes in litter box habits and vomiting can also indicate underlying issues. In addition, cat owners should keep an eye on their pet’s food and water bowl; any changes in appetite and water consumption may mean their feline friend isn’t feeling well.
Since it can be hard to notice subtle changes in your cat’s behavior, going to regular veterinarian check-ups can help identify illness or areas of pain and discomfort before they become a more serious health concern.
“Your veterinarian will be able to monitor vital signs, such as temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate, as well as check for weight loss or weight gain,” Eckman said.
As your cat ages, your veterinarian also may recommend laboratory tests to identify or follow-up on any health abnormalities, such as frequent urination or a decrease in appetite.
Overall, regular veterinarian visits are key in protecting your cat’s health. Even if your cat seems fine, it is always a good idea to visit the veterinarian at least once a year.
Pet Talk is a service of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.