Sick Cat? How To Tell If My Cat Is Sick


Is my cat sickAre You Worried That Your Cat Is Ill?

Since your cat can’t come up to you and say, Hey, I’m not feeling well…you have to figure out the mystery of a sick cat. Cats tend to have a change in their normal behavior when they are ill, even though they often try to hide being sick. If you have had your cat for some time, then you will probably understand the difference between their normal behavior and abnormal behavior. Some cat behavior changes are easy to tell, even if you don’t know your cat that well yet. If your cat has had some weight gain or weight loss, a change in appetite, or seems lethargic, you may have a sick cat.

Symptoms Indicating You Have A Sick Cat

  • Cat is hiding
  • Going to the litter box, but not urinating
  • Decrease in energy
  • Blood in the urine or stool
  • Accidents outside the litter box
  • Runny eyes and/or nose
  • Limping
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Trouble Breathing
  • Bad breath
  • Drooling
  • Any weird bumps or swelling

Checking Your Cat’s Temperature

You can check your cat’s temperature with a thermometer placed in the rectum. Your cat’s temperature should be between 100.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature if higher or lower than this threshold, you may have a sick cat and need to bring him to the vet right away.


Cats tend to lose their appetite when sick – regardless if they are “finicky”.  However, some sick cats still have an appetite, which can be noticed when they come running for their food. But when they get to their food dish they eat or drink very little. Typically, this is a sign that the cat has some pain within his mouth or teeth and gums.  Only after he starts to eat, is he reminded of the pain.

Watch for No Grooming

Cats are clean animals. However, if he hasn’t been grooming himself, there could be a problem. Also, if he is grooming excessively, this could be a sign of stress and/or illness. Older cats may suffer from arthritis and grooming movements may be painful. Extremely overweight cats may have a difficult time reaching areas to clean. Cats that drool may have a tooth decay and gum disease – this may make it uncomfortable for the cat during grooming.

Check for bald spots, bugs, thinned fur, and bumps. Make a habit of doing this when you are grooming your cat. Any of these could be a sign of a sick cat or illness.

Cat’s Mouth

Cats don’t like opening their mouths for people, but you should be able to get your cat to reluctantly do this for you so you can check his gums and teeth. The inside of your cat’s mouth should be a pink tint. The following colors could indicate a sick cat:

YELLOW: Yellow discoloration may indicate Jaundice (also referred to as icterus) which points to issues with the cat’s liver.

BLUE:  “A pet with a blue tint in his mouth is a sick pet,” says Paul D. Pion, D.V.M., a veterinary cardiologist in Davis, California, and founder of the Veterinary Information Network (vin.cim), an online service for veterinarians. “The color of your pet’s mouth reflects how much oxygen is circulating in the bloodstream. The bluer the mouth and gums, the less air he is getting.” Reported by iVillage.

RED:  If the inside of the mouth looks reddened and inflamed then your cat may have Stomatitis. Otherwise known as, sore mouth. You may also notice that your cat is drooling, refusing to eat, head shaking, or pawing at the face.

Cat’s Ears

Checking your cat’s ears and eyes is also something you can do during grooming time. Like the gums, any blue or yellow in the ears could be a sign of an illness. Look for redness, swelling, something that looks like coffee grounds (which is ear mites), pus, or unusual bumps.

Cat’s Eyes

Problems with a cat’s eyes can show up with a cloudiness on the pupil, a change in the eye color, yellow or bloodshot eyes in the white part, plus any scrapes or bruises. These are all signs that indicate you should take your cat to the vet. Inflammation is another thing to look for.

These are all signs you can keep an eye on to tell if your cat is healthy or not. Many times, people will only notice that their cat is ill when it becomes severe. Don’t let this happen to your cat. It’s important to know your cat well, so you can easily tell if there is something different with her. When you know how she looks and behaves when she is healthy, you will be more likely to notice when she is becoming a sick cat.


Nicky LaMarco has been a freelance writer since 2001. Nicky is an experienced ghostwriter and copywriter. She also writes for a variety of magazines. Nicky lives in Maine with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. Learn more about her at