Can Cat Behavior Indicate Illness?


Cats are notorious for hiding signs of illness. It’s enough of a problem that they cannot verbally tell us what is wrong. On top of that, they try to deceive onlookers in an attempt to protect themselves from further harm. A sick cat in the wild is a dead cat if predators or foes find out.

You, on the other hand, are obviously your cat’s health advocate, not its foe. Owners therefore need to sometimes be a detective to spot signs of illness. Some outward evidence can be obvious, such as vomiting, having litter box issues, coughing, sneezing and more. Other signs are less obvious. The Humane Society of the United States suggests that you take note if your cat:

  • Misses more than one meal
  • Drinks more water than usual
  • Has no energy
  • Stops using the litter box or strains when it’s using the litter box
  • Develops puffiness or a lump under the skin
  • Hides for more than a day
  • Becomes suddenly short-tempered or doesn’t want to be touched
  • Frequently shakes its head
  • Changes its routine or loses interest in its favorite games
  • Stops grooming
  • Shows signs that the “third eyelid” (actually a membrane) has emerged from the corner of your cat’s eye

Although many of these behaviors may turn out to be nothing important, it’s best that you consult with your veterinarian to make sure that you are not missing a health problem. You could also save a lot of money and worry by nipping whatever it is in the bud.