Recognising the Signs of a Sick Cat

Recognising the Signs of a Sick Cat

Just like humans, cats can have off days when they just feel a bit under the weather. They may not want to eat or spend a lot of time sleeping or they may hide away for a few hours, perhaps lying in a hunched up position.

Most of the time this shouldn’t last more than 24 hours and they will usually perk up and be back to their usual selves. However, there are some signs to look out for that might indicate a trip to the vet is needed.


If a cat has vomited more than two or three times over a 24 hour period it’s time to see the vet. While cats can be sick much more often than humans, mainly because they have a habit of eating things they shouldn’t when out and about – it’s important to take them to the vet if this is more than usual to avoid dehydration and check for any underlying condition.

Diarrhoea and constipation

There are many reasons cats get diarrhoea, such as changes in diet, eating something they shouldn’t or nervousness. If this continues for more than a day or if there is diarrhoea with blood or it’s accompanied with vomiting, the book an appointment at the vet. Cats can also suffer from constipation. Keep an eye on them when they visit the litter box and if they are straining and only pass small, hard faeces then they may need medicine from the vet to ease this.

Eating, drinking, urinating or defecating more or less than normal

Cats can’t tell us when they are sick, so often the only way to tell when they are ill is noticing changes in their usual routines. Stopping eating or drinking is a sign that something is wrong. Equally, eating more than usual and being really ravenous or drinking more could indicate illness. Changes in toilet habits should also be monitored and if they don’t clear up over 24 hours, take them to the vets to be on the safe side.

Strange behaviour

Owners and homesitters know how pets in their care behave. Any changes could be a sign they are unwell. A cat may become very lethargic and disinterested in its surroundings or a usually friendly cat may not want to be touched.

Keep an eye on them and check for other physical signs. If a cat is not grooming themselves or their breath smells bad – then take them to the vet.


Coughing can be an early warning sign of an acute illness. If it persists for more than a day check with the vet that it’s not something serious. If the pet has difficulty breathing or the gums have gone bluish it’s time to rush them to the vet.

Symptoms can be hard to spot in cats, so it’s important to know what usual behaviour is and isn’t. Stroking or grooming pets all over once a day is also good practice in order to notice any unusual lumps and bumps. Always make a note of any behaviour changes or symptoms, and when these occurred, so that a vet can be fully briefed if necessary.

Employing a homesitter to look after your cat when you go away rather than asking someone just to pop in to put out food and water means that any illness will be spotted sooner rather than later.

With pets it’s much better to err on the side of caution and if there is anything that is causing concern, then it’s worth having them checked out at the vets.

Homesitters Ltd is Britain’s leading home and pet-sitting company, providing complete peace of mind for pet and property owners. We have over 35 years of experience of looking after our clients’ pets and most treasured possessions, and we’ve completed over 100,000 bookings. To find out more visit:

Don't miss out!
Subscribe To Newsletter

Receive top cat news, competitions, tips and more!

Invalid email address
Give it a try. You can unsubscribe at any time.

4 thoughts on “Recognising the Signs of a Sick Cat

  1. Pingback: Recognising the Signs of a Sick Cat - Katzenworld Shop

Why not meow a comment to fellow readers?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.