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How to recognize cat's distress: Signs indicate health problems

How to recognize cat's distress: Signs indicate health problems Illustrative photo (Photo: freepik)
Author: Daria Shekina

An animal cannot talk about its well-being, so any deviations in its health can only be noticed by the owner through changes in the behavior of the pet. Moreover, cats can often exhibit signs that indicate problems, according to the PetMD website.

Refusal to eat

Decreased appetite and refusal to eat are among the most common signs of various illnesses and pain in cats.

If your pet is eating less than usual, it could be due to factors like hot weather, which can reduce appetite, or finding food outside the home.

Moreover, if a loss of appetite is accompanied by symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and other signs of serious illnesses, it is essential to consult a veterinarian immediately.

Change in activity level

Cats can become less active, sleeping more hours than before. Lethargy, prolonged sleep, a desire to hide in dark and cozy corners are signs of health issues, as the cat used to be very active and playful.

Skin and fur

The condition of the skin is a reliable indicator of a cat's health. Your pet's skin should have a smooth texture and be black or pink, and the fur should be shiny.

Frequent grooming or scratching, the presence of scratches on the skin, or hair loss can indicate skin problems. Simultaneously, poor fur condition and a dull coat, along with a lot of dandruff, may suggest various health issues.


Aggressive behavior, hissing, and even growling can occur if the owner touches painful areas on the cat's body. In this case, the most affectionate pet may scratch or bite the person's hand.

Oral cavity

Any redness around the mouth, swollen gums, or an unpleasant odor - all these can be signs of infection in your pet's oral cavity.

These symptoms can be quite painful, and, as a result, the cat may lose its appetite or only chew food on one side of the mouth.

Inappropriate elimination

This is probably the most obvious symptom of health problems when the cat will certainly draw the owner's attention.