Signs Your Cat Could be Unwell

Just like humans, cats can have their off days when they just feel a bit under the weather. They may not want to eat or spend a lot of time sleeping. This may pass after a day or two and they bounce back to normal. However, it’s important to look out for signs that may indicate a more serious problem.

Cats can often hide symptoms or even just hideaway themselves, but it’s vital that health conditions are treated as early as possible to ensure the best outcome. Here, Homesitters have listed some of the signs to look out for which could 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. Whilst cats can be sick more often than humans, it could be a sign of something more serious such as poisoning or a blockage. It’s important to take them to the vet to avoid dehydration and check for any underlying condition. Keep an eye out for other symptoms too such as lethargy and diarrhoea and make sure to let the vet know.

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, then book an appointment at the vet. Cats can also suffer from constipation. Keep an eye on them when they visit the litter tray and if they are straining and only pass small, hard faeces then they may need medicine from the vet to ease this.

Litter tray issues

Cats that have always used the litter tray but suddenly start going outside the tray should be monitored. Check that the tray is clean first and there are no other obvious reasons why the cat isn’t using it. If it continues happening take them to the vet.

Also if you notice your cat is straining to go to the toilet, not producing anything or crying then it’s time to go to the vet straightaway. This could mean they have a blockage which left untreated could be fatal.

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

Cat 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 clear 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.

Changes in behaviour

Owners know how their pets behave and what is usual or not. Any changes could be a sign they are unwell. For example, a usually friendly cat may not want to be stroked or starts hiding away all the time. They could become more lethargic, disinterested in their surroundings or suddenly aggressive if a certain part of their body is touched. It’s important to keep an eye on them and check for other physical signs. If the changed behaviour continues then a trip to the vet is needed to rule out anything sinister.

Blood in urine, stools or vomit

There could be a number of reasons why there is blood in the urine or stools, from urinary tract infections to parasitic infections. Some conditions will be relatively minor, others more serious, so it’s best to take your cat to the vet as a precaution.  Blood in vomit though is always a sign of something serious and the cat should be rushed to the vet immediately.


Coughing in cats can be simple to treat or could 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. Some common causes for cats to cough are fur balls, allergens such as pollen and dust, and even cat asthma, but it could also indicate upper respiratory infections, lung cancer or even heart failure. It’s time to see the vet immediately if your cat is distressed or having difficulty breathing.

To conclude

These are just a few of the signs that your cat could be unwell. It’s important that cat owners or anyone looking after your cat, such as a pet sitter knows what the cats usual behaviour is, as this will enable them to spot any signs the cat could be unwell much quicker.

Stroking or grooming cats all over once a day is 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.

Remember the earlier cats get treated the better, especially with more serious illnesses. For homesitters looking after someone else’s cat it’s always better to err on the side of caution. If there is anything that is causing concern, then it’s worth having them checked out at the vets.

Our professional homesitters are well versed in the common symptoms to look for that could indicate your feline friend is poorly. So if you want that extra peace of mind when you go away this year get your cat looked after by one of our experienced homesitters.

Give Homesitters a call on 01296 630 730.

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