If Your Cat Does This, IMMEDIATELY Call The Vet
Cats have a tendency to hide their pain, making it difficult to properly care for them when they need it the most. But if you know what to look for, you can recognize subtle signs early and get your kitty the help it needs. In this blog, we will look at the most potentially serious signs that a cat needs help and must be rushed to the vet immediately.
1. Dragging hind legs
If your cat has always walked normally but suddenly starts dragging their back legs it could be a sign of a serious problem. Cats can sometimes develop blood clots in their bodies. If the clot travels down to the back legs it can get stuck there and block the blood supply to the hind legs. This can cause the cat to lose control over their back legs. This condition is very painful, usually causing the cats to cry excessively. Owners typically notice heavy breathing along with the inability to move rear limbs properly. It may look as if the cat suddenly has a broken back. You may also see that the paw pads are pale in colour and cold to the touch. More often than not this type of clot happens in both of the back legs but it can also happen in just one of the legs, the front legs or even other parts of the body. This problem is more common in cats with heart disease. It’s very important for every cat owner to know the signs of this condition. If it happens to your cat a vet visit is urgently required.
2. Trying to use the bathroom but nothing comes out
A cat who tries to go potty but isn’t producing anything may have a urinary tract blockage. They might sit in the litter box straining but still not be able to urinate. This is a telltale sign of a serious blockage and it could be life-threatening if it’s left untreated. Urinary tract blockages are extremely common among neutered male cats. Therefore it’s critical for the cat’s owner to know the signs of the condition. If this happens to your pet a vet visit is urgently required.
3. Too many hairballs
When cats groom themselves, tiny hook-like structures on their tongue catch loose and dead hair which is then swallowed. The majority of this hair passes through the digestive tract with no problems but some hair stays in the stomach and forms a hairball. Oftentimes your cat will vomit the hairball to get rid of it. While vomiting an occasional hairball isn’t cause for alarm. If your cat is constantly throwing up hairballs it’s a sign that they have a problem with their digestive system and a vet visit is necessary. Keep in mind that to help avoid the formation of hairballs you can brush your cat once a day and add more fibre to their diet.
Identifying a cat’s cough can be confusing. At first, it is hard to understand what is happening because the cat looks like it is trying to throw up but isn’t able to do so, this is in fact a cat who is coughing. Coughing can be caused by allergies, hairballs and asthma to name a few of the more minor inflictions. It can however also be caused by more serious conditions like heart disease. It may be normal for some cats to cough occasionally but if the cough persists or recurs consistently a vet visit is necessary.
5. Change in pupil size
Cats’ pupils fluctuate in size and shape based on light and emotion by dilating their pupils. Cats allow even tiny amounts of light into their eyes so they can see better in the dark during the day. Cats contract their pupils depending on how bright it is. Interestingly enough, pupil size can also be an indication of your pet’s mood. If the ambient light is
normal but your cat’s pupils are dilated it can imply that your cat is not relaxed or is stimulated, your cat could be stressed, anxious, excited or in fear. Cats also often have dilated pupils during their heat cycle in situations which produce enjoyment like when they’ve just eaten their favourite food a cat’s pupils may dilate as a reflex. It’s important to remember that some health conditions have dilated pupils as a symptom. If there is enough ambient light and no stimuli or stressors but your cat’s eyes are persistently dilated then it is time to visit a vet. Another thing to keep in mind is that cat pupils should be equal in size. Unequal pupil size is not normal in cats and is a sign of an underlying issue.
6. Open mouth breathing
Generally, you shouldn’t be able to hear or see your cat breathing unless you look and listen very closely. If your cat’s breathing seems noisy, or fast or is causing its belly to move a lot this is often a sign of an underlying issue. It’s also important to be aware that cats nearly always breathe through their nose. If your cat isn’t hot, stressed or tired from exercise but it is breathing through its mouth it’s a sign that a disease process is occurring and a vet visit is necessary.
7. Increased hiding
Cats like to hide but if your cat hides more often than usual, it could be a sign that they are in pain. Pets who suddenly start to hide could be stressed out or have an invisible illness wreaking havoc in their body.
This one is obvious but most people don’t take it as seriously as they should. If you come home and notice your cat is suddenly limping, call the vet immediately. Even though cats are great jumpers they can easily fall off somewhere and break a limb. Early treatment can help fuse the limb back together properly. On that note keep in mind that although cats tend to land on four legs when they fall, it’s not the case that they always land on their feet. Never ever hold a cat upside down and then drop them to see if they manage to flip over and make sure your cat doesn’t have access to open windows.
9. Throwing up a lot
Some people believe it’s okay for a cat to vomit once a week but it’s not. While vomiting a few times a year or an occasional hairball is normal, anything more than this indicates your pet could be suffering from some kind of sickness. Some of the most common causes of vomiting in cats include eating something toxic, hairballs, a change in diet or more serious problems such as cancer or organ conditions. If your cat’s vomiting is frequent make sure to call your vet.
10. Not eating
Loss of appetite is one of the key indicators that something is wrong. Cats can have a reputation for being picky eaters but you know what is normal for your pet. If your cat eats a certain amount of food every day but they suddenly stop being as excited about food as they normally are, it may have an undiagnosed health issue. A sudden increase in appetite could also be a sign of sickness. If a cat who usually doesn’t eat a lot is begging for more and more food there may be a problem: increased appetite can be due to diabetes, hyperthyroidism or nutrient malabsorption issues. Either way, keep in mind that any major appetite changes shouldn’t be ignored if it happens to your cat make sure to call a vet.
11. Behavioural changes
Does your usually outgoing and friendly cat suddenly become aggressive or a shy mess or your typically happy and energetic furball turned into a tired and touchy grouch or maybe your vocal cat has suddenly stopped speaking? Sudden changes in a cat’s behaviour are always a cause for concern. No matter which way your cat sways if your feline is doing anything out of the ordinary, call your vet to discuss.
12. Drinking excessive amounts of water
if you notice that your cat seems to be drinking more water than usual it could be a sign that something is wrong. Cats in general don’t drink copious amounts of water so it should be fairly easy to notice that their water bowl empties quicker. A cat who drinks a lot of water could be suffering from endocrine problems such as diabetes or hyperthyroid disease. It can also mean potential kidney disease which usually starts when cats reach an older age but can come on prematurely.
13. Changes in maintenance habits
Cats are great at maintaining their appearance. They like nothing more than having a clean shiny coat and paws that are free of dirt. When your cat starts to neglect their grooming routine it may be time for a checkup. Your pet could be suffering from a range of ailments that cause fatigue which would explain their dishevelled look or the undoing of their grooming habits. Dishevelled cats might be missing patches of fur, have debris stuck in their fur, have dirty ears or have faeces stuck to their rear end.
14. Stinky breath
Unusually stinky breath in your cat can be a sign of gum disease or tooth decay. A pet’s teeth are home to hundreds of bacteria and you can minimise the risks by brushing their teeth and scheduling an annual dental cleaning.
15. Unexpected weight gain or weight loss
If your feline is suddenly losing or gaining weight for no obvious reason it’s important to visit a vet. Cat’s physiology is different from that of humans. A cat’s gaining or losing a single pound is roughly comparable to a human gaining or losing 10 pounds so make sure to pay attention to small variations in your pet’s weight. In older cats, weight loss can be normal as they lose muscle mass but extreme changes in weight can be a sign of something serious like cancer.
16. Discoloured gums
Your cat’s gum appearance can provide important insight into its overall wellness. Normal gum should generally be a bubble gum pink colour. When pressed with your finger the gum should lighten to a pale pink or white colour and when you take your finger off it should return to the normal pink colour within two seconds. Pale gums that lack colour are usually a sign of blood loss or poor circulation this is because gums get their bubble gum pink colour from blood flowing beneath the surface. Bluish gums can indicate a life-threatening lack of oxygen, bright red gums could be a sign of toxicity or overheating but it can indicate a dental issue. If the redness is right above the teeth, yellow gums often indicate organ problems such as liver disease. You should call your vet to discuss this.