Non-emergencies but needs treatment (the next day)
Itching and scratching
Nasal discharge (blood or mucus)
Vomiting (if the cat is otherwise well)
Sudden weight loss or gain
Cats can be good at masking illness or pain, but there are usually small but subtle signs that your cat is not well. It is up to us to keep a close eye on our cats and look for any clues that our cat may not be well.
We need to be aware of eating habits, toileting, behaviour, sleeping, weight and general wellbeing. If you notice any changes, no matter how subtle it should be checked out with the vet. The earlier problems are caught, the better the chance of recovery.
If you are in any doubt about taking your cat to the vet it is ALWAYS better to err on the side of caution and seek help. Never wait and see because delaying medical attention may prolong suffering and mean that a sickness or injury is all the harder to treat.
This means the cat should be seen by a veterinarian immediately, it can’t wait until the next day.
It may not seem a big deal if your cat refuses food, after all he will eat if he becomes hungry enough, right? No, this is not the case. When a cat loses his appetite it can lead to a serious condition known as hepatic lipidosis (or fatty liver disease) which is life-threatening. Loss of appetite can also just be a vague sign that your cat is not well. Some medical conditions which may cause your cat to lose his appetite include:
Unsteady, wobbly gait, walking in circles. This can have many possible causes including:
Middle ear problems
Nervous system disorders
Weakness and anemia
Bleeding of any sort should be checked out.
Seek veterinary care if you notice panting, wheezing, coughing, suffering shortness of breath. There are many causes of breathing difficulty including heart and lung disorders which are life-threatening.
No matter how mild, any burns should be checked.
Change in toileting habits
Changes such as urinating more or less often, straining to go to the toilet, toileting in inappropriate places. There are many reasons why your cat’s toileting habits may have changed, all warranting investigation by your veterinarian. Some causes are fairly benign such as dirty litter tray, others have more serious causes, some reasons include;
Diarrhea lasting more than 12 hours or if it is blood or mucous tinged or accompanied by other signs of sickness.
Diarrhea in kittens is especially dangerous as they can become dehydrated so quickly. Urgent veterinary attention is necessary.
Even if your cat appears to be well after the incident, you should still seek veterinary attention.
Ingestion of toxic substance (including plants, medications, poisons)
Your cat may look okay, but the toxin could be causing irreversible damage, so veterinary attention is urgent.
If you notice or suspect your cat has ingested something toxic medical attention should be sought immediately.
Fortunately these are relatively uncommon in cats but if you suspect your cat has had a seizure veterinary attention is vital.
Straining to go to the toilet
This common symptom can be mistaken for constipation, but a far more serious cause is FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease), which can lead to the cat becoming completely blocked and unable to urinate. Straining in the litter tray is always cause for concern and urgent veterinary attention necessary.
Any discharge from the vagina is abnormal and must be attended to immediately, possible causes include;
Birth and postnatal problems
Fever after the birth
Suddenly neglecting the kittens
Non-emergencies, but needs veterinary attention (the next day):
Bad breath is a sign there is a dental problem. Any dental problems need veterinary attention before they progress to something worse. Possible causes include:
This is something else you may notice from time to time, and the occasional sneeze is relatively harmless, but if your cat is sneezing frequently, it is accompanied by mucus or your cat displays other signs of sickness, seek veterinary care immediately.
Possible causes include:
Upper respiratory infection (either caused by a virus or bacteria). This is the most common cause of sneezing in cats.
If the cat appears otherwise well and has not consumed a known toxin or medication and is eating and drinking as normal.
All cats vomit from time to time and generally this is normal. You should seek medical attention if your cat vomits several times within an hour, the vomit contains blood, mucus or if your cat is also displaying other signs of sickness.
Vomiting in kittens should be investigated immediately.
There are too many possible causes of weight loss and gain to list fully. Some more common causes include;
Pregnancy and lactation
Any eye changes need to be seen by a veterinarian. These include minor or serious injury, change in eye colour, discharge, weeping, redness. Any eye problems are serious and could lead to blindness if not treated promptly.