How do I know if my cat is sick

Cats are a master in pretending everything is oke, they will always try to hide pain and discomfort as much as possible. If you know your own cat, then you also know what is normal behaviour for them and if you pay close attention you will often notice that something is wrong by the way they act different in some way. Below are the things you have to pay attention to.


Try to schedule a check of the teeth every once in a while with one of the assistants/the vet or do it yourself if you can. First look at the teeth. Do you see dental plaque or tartar? Then the gums; are they nice and pink, or is it very red or even bleeding? Even with very bad and/or infected teeth and gums, most of the cats will continue eating like they always do and so a lot of dental problems won’t be noticed by the owners. The fact a cat is still eating well doesn’t mean that it’s fine, or not in pain. Thereby, bad teeth can cause a lot of problems if not treated! So, if you’re not able to do a dental check at home, make an appointment for a free check at the clinic.

Inspecting your cats teeth
Inspecting your cats teeth

Drinking behaviour

In general, cats don’t drink very much. Cats who only eat dry food do drink more than cats who eat a lot of wet food. That is not very strange since wet food contains a lot of water. You, as owner, often know what amount of water is normal for your cat to drink (except when you have a cat that only drinks outside, then it’s hard to tell). If your cat suddenly drinks a lot more than normal, this is an important sign that there can be something wrong, and therefore a good indication to contact the vet!


Just like with drinking, every cat has his own eating routine. If you suddenly see a significant change in this pattern, then it’s very likely something is wrong. A cat that isn’t eating can have a fatty liver very quickly, so it’s really necessary to go to the vet as soon as possible when your cat is not eating. Don’t wait too long! The opposite is just as important. A cat that suddenly eats a lot more than normal, and especially in combination with weight loss, is a signal that something can be very wrong.


Is your cats fur not looking as good as normal, or is it not shining like it’s supposed to do? Cats who feel sick, mostly don’t take such good care of themselves anymore so you don’t see them wash themselves as much as normal. Because of this, the fur can look dull and spikey. Other reasons that can cause this lack of care are pain and/ or overweight. Cats who are in pain or overweight can’t reach every spot to clean, especially the back and the part above the tail are often missed.

On the other hand: Is your cat over grooming or licking/scratching himself continuously, this also can be caused by a problem. Think of fleas, allergies or skin problems. Pay attention not only to the fur, but also the skin underneath and check for scabs, bald spots, flea faeces, flakes etc.

Overall behaviour

Is your cat suddenly on its own all the time, or is he hiding when normally he sits with you? Is he sleeping a lot while he is always very active? He doesn’t want to play anymore? These are all signals that there’s something wrong with the cat. If you have an elderly cat that is always very active, and suddenly al he does is sleep, don’t think it’s normal because he’s getting old!

Also, walking differently, not jumping anymore or sleeping in (for your cat) abnormal positions can all be sings of pain.


In general, a cat pees two, and poops 1 time a day. This is average, so it’s possible that for your cat a different standard is normal. If your cat suddenly stops going to the litterbox, pees/ poops in your house or is going on and off the box all the time, this is not normal. Sometimes you see them pee very small amounts of urine every time, this can indicate a bladder infection. If the cat can't pee at all, this is an emergency and you should contact the clinic as soon as possible. Also diarrhea, very hard faeces or not pooping at all are sings of a problem or possibly pain. (Pay attention to blood in the faeces/urine, vomiting and miauwing while on de litterbox!)

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