Knowing how to respond to certain behaviors in your cat can save its life. Early detection of illnesses plays the most important part in getting your cat back to optimal health.
These are some of the most common cat behaviors that you should keep an eye out for.
- Loss of appetite.
- Not using the litter box.
- Sudden aggressiveness.
- Consistent sleeping.
- Excessive scratching.
- Pulling out fur.
- Not grooming itself anymore.
- Not playing as usual.
- Slow and weak movements.
- Difficulty with balance.
- Hiding away.
- Excessive meowing.
- Ears twitching back.
Loss Of Appetite
Even if your cat is a fussy eater, you should be able to notice if they haven’t eaten for a while. A loss of appetite is a strong indicator that something’s wrong with your cat. Try to entice your cat with wet food to get some nutrients in.
If your cat stops eating dry foods, it could be an indicator of a dental problem. If your cat hasn’t eaten for one or two days, you need to take it to the veterinarian for a checkup.
Not Using The Litter Box
There are many reasons your cat might not be using its litter box. Cats with urinary tract infections might only produce a small amount of urine when it tries.
Inflammation of the bladder is also a potential cause of your cat not making it to the litter box.
They may have problems using the litter box if they suffer from bladder stones or blockages.
Keep the litter box clean and make sure there’s one available for every cat.
To help identify why the cat isn’t using the litter box, follow these instructions:
- Use large litter boxes, at least 1.5X the length of the cat or more.
- Have at least one litter box per cat.
- Keep the litter box clean at all times.
- Place litter boxes in different areas of the house.
- Keep the litter boxes in private corners of the house far away from any pet food or water.
If you follow the advice above, you can rule out non-health-related issues if they stop using the box.
Usually, physical pain is what will cause your cat to become suddenly aggressive. Physical injuries, dental disease, and infections are some of the most common illnesses that cause aggression due to pain.
Sometimes you’ll be able to spot clumped-up fur that contains dry blood if your cat has been in a fight. You can gently pet your cat while feeling around its body for physical injuries. If you don’t find any injuries and your cat is still overly aggressive, visit your veterinarian for professional help.
It’s difficult to determine if your cat is sleeping too much considering they can sleep for 16 to 18 hours per day in a healthy condition. To help you identify negative changes in your cat’s sleeping habits, we’ve put a few concerning sleeping behaviors together.
- If your cat isn’t responding to things going on around the house like it normally does, it may be extremely fatigued.
- Your cat may get up and lay down slowly. It might also battle to get comfortable if it’s suffering from an illness or pain.
- It might not want to play or rub against you anymore.
If your cat is scratching itself more than usual, it’s either picked up fleas or it’s suffering from an illness that causes the skin to itch.
Illnesses that cause skin irritation in cats include food allergies, insect bites, ear mites, skin mites, and bacterial infections.
Pulling Out Fur
This results from excessive scratching and biting of the skin and fur. Usually, this is caused by an infestation of mites and will cause the cat to constantly lick, bite, and scratch the skin and fur to relieve the irritation.
If you notice a bald spot on your cat, you need to get medical treatment for them.
A cat that’s displaying an unusual amount of paranoia is a serious cause for concern. You may notice the following behaviors:
- Dilated pupils
- Ears in a stiff backward position.
- Raised hair.
- Increased nervousness.
- Tail held close to the body.
- Vigorous tail flicking.
- Fear of being picked up.
Not Grooming Itself Anymore
If you notice your cat isn’t grooming itself anymore, it may be because of a few different reasons.
Your cat might just be getting older and is decreasing its grooming schedule.
Your cat also might be a bit overweight and can’t reach all the areas it normally could. Implement a strict diet according to your veterinarian’s advice if this is the case.
A cat can also stop grooming itself if it’s suffering from any pain or illness in the body causing extreme fatigue or discomfort.
Not Playing Like Usual
Your cat may become lethargic and have no energy to play like it usually does. Any disease that causes discomfort will cause your cat not to play.
Obesity could also be responsible for the reduction of energy and playfulness in your cat.
Slow And Weak Movements
Much like humans, cats will move around slower than normal when they’re sick or in pain. If you notice your cat isn’t running around and jumping high onto surfaces like it usually does, seek medical advice.
Difficulty With Balance
An inner ear infection can cause this behavior in your cat. If your cat is stumbling, walks with stiff legs, and shakes its head a lot, it may be suffering from cerebellar hypoplasia, which affects muscle control.
This disease can occur if a cat is malnourished or poisoned and needs urgent medical attention.
Cats instinctively hide away when they feel weak or are in pain. This is to avoid predators in the wild. It’s also a way for them to deal with the pain, weakness, and discomfort as movement may increase the pain.
The higher the intensity of the weakness or pain, the more they’ll stay out of sight. They’ll choose dark corners inside closets or under your bed.
More often than not, your cat will let you know if it’s not feeling well by becoming increasingly vocal. Hunger, thirst, and pain can all cause a cat to meow more than usual. Kidney disease and an overactive thyroid can also cause your cat to call out for help.
If you leave your cat alone for long periods of time, it may also meow more than usual to get your attention when you are home.
When cats get stressed out, they vocalize it. If there’s a storm on its way, your cat might start meowing repeatedly in a panic. Keep your cat indoors during bad weather and console them during and after the storm if they allow you.
Ears Twitching Back
A cat may move its ears back and forth with a twitching action if they’re irritated. This can be caused by ear mites and should be checked out at the veterinarian.
Another frequent sign of illness in cats is when their ears are low and pointing outward. This is a display of discomfort in most cases.
You might notice this type of ear position if your cat is frightened by a loud noise in the house.
The main thing is to observe your cat to identify any unusual behavior. Keep tabs on how much food and water it’s consuming. Read their body language by observing their eyes, ears, and tail for signs of distress.
Cats that become very vocal overnight are trying to tell you something, make sure all their needs are met, and seek medical help if you can’t figure out what’s bothering them.
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.