Three Health Warning Signs Cat Owners Need To Know

If you currently have a cat or are thinking of getting a cat, you may know that cats have a reputation for not showing their symptoms when they're sick. This is only partially true! While it's true that a cat can't come to you and tell you they're not feeling well, cats do show subtle signs when they're under the weather. As a responsible pet parent, it's your duty to recognize and respond to the following signs.


Without proper training and tools, recognizing a cat fever can be difficult. Cats naturally have a higher body temperature than humans, so they'll probably feel warm to you all the time. One popular myth is that you can tell if a cat has a fever by checking to see if their ears or their noses are hot and dry. While this is sometimes a side effect of a fever, cats can have fevers with cool, damp noses and normal-feeling ears. However, cat fevers are often accompanied by lethargy, a lack of appetite, or in severely high fevers, shivering or seizures.

The surest way to know if a cat has a fever is to use a thermometer. Cats have a normal temperature range of 100.4 to 102.5F, so anything in that range is healthy. Cats enter the danger zone at 106, where they may experience organ damage from their high temperature. If your cat has a fever for more than one day or their temperature gets anywhere near 106, get them to a vet immediately.

Loss Of Appetite Or Thirst

You don't need to weigh how much food and water your cat is drinking every day, but you should try to keep an eye on their appetite and thirst. A cat that isn't interested in its usual favorite foods, feeding time, or doesn't drink water may be ill.

If your cat won't drink, you should seek immediate emergency care. Dehydration can cause kidney damage and puts your cat's health at risk. If you can't get to a vet right away, try giving your cat small amounts of water with an eyedropper to keep them hydrated.

Appetite may become subdued due to a variety of diseases or from a fever, but it shouldn't be ignored either. Cats can go longer without food than water, but prolonged starvation can result in liver damage, blindness or worse. If you can't get your cat to eat anything at all after a day, it's time to see a vet.

Inability To Urinate Or Defecate  

It's easier to tell if your cat is going to the bathroom if you only have one cat who doesn't go outside, but it's still something you should try to monitor when you can. If your cat goes to the litter box and strains, but produces nothing, you may have an emergency on your hands.

Cats can suffer from intestinal or bowel blockages that prevent them from defecating. If your cat is experiencing this, they may also lose their appetite or vomit. This is a serious condition that needs medical attention.

If your cat isn't urinating, you need to get them medical care now. When a cat can't urinate, their kidneys may shut down as a result, and toxins rapidly accumulate in their blood. This can cause death in as little as 24 hours. Other signs that your cat can't urinate may include crying in the litter box and trying to use the box repeatedly in a short period of time.

While all of this may sound scary, recognizing the signs of an ill cat can potentially save their life. If your cat suffers from one of these conditions, don't wait until your regular veterinarian can see you. Contact a local emergency animal hospital, like Denville Animal Hospital, so your pet can be seen immediately for treatment.