Warning Signs for Cat Health Problems

Regularly checking your cat for early warning signs of underlying health problems is crucial for their well-being. Cats are masters at hiding illnesses and may withdraw when feeling unwell. By being vigilant and aware of the tell-tale signs of common health issues, you can catch potential problems early and seek veterinary care promptly. Consider completing a monthly health checklist at home to monitor your cat's overall condition. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately. 

The Warning Signs to Watch for Include 

General lethargy

If your cat is not behaving like their usual self, take a closer look. Just like humans, cats can appear unwell even without obvious symptoms. If your cat's lethargy persists, it is advisable to consult your veterinarian. 

Repeated Vomiting, Gagging, or Sickness

Occasional vomiting of hairballs or grass is normal for cats. However, persistent vomiting or choking while eating can be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a kidney infection. If you notice these symptoms, it is important to seek veterinary attention. 

Refusal to eat for over 24 Hours

Cats are typically good eaters, so if your cat refuses food for a day or more, it is a cause for concern. Consult your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment. 


If your cat experiences persistent diarrhea that lasts for longer than 48 hours, it is important to visit your veterinarian. If possible, take a stool sample with you to aid in diagnosis and treatment. 

Difficulty Urinating

If your cat is constipated, crying while urinating, or has blood in their urine, they may be suffering from Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease. This condition is more common in males and can become life-threatening if not treated early. Seek veterinary care immediately if you observe these symptoms. 

Progressive Weight Loss

If your cat is progressively losing weight over a period of two to four weeks or shows a slow but steady weight loss over a longer period, it is advisable to consult your veterinarian. Unexplained weight loss can be a sign of an underlying health issue that requires attention. 

Excessive Thirst or Urination

Unusually excessive thirst and frequent urination can be signs of feline diabetes or other medical conditions. If you notice these symptoms, it is important to have your cat evaluated by a veterinarian to determine the cause and appropriate treatment. 

Itchy, Flaking Skin

Your cat's skin should be smooth and free from excessive itching or flaking. Persistent itching and signs of dermatitis could indicate an allergic reaction, particularly to flea bites. Consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment options. 

Red or Swollen Gums

Reddened or swollen gums, particularly when associated with bad breath, are indications of gum disease. Severe gum disease can lead to tooth loss, difficulty eating, and weight loss. Seek veterinary care to address gum disease and prevent further complications. 

Runny Eyes or Nose

Sneezing, panting, runny eyes, and nose, gasping, or shortness of breath may be signs of respiratory problems. These symptoms can indicate infections or other respiratory conditions that require veterinary attention. 

Proactively checking for cat health problems is an excellent way to keep track of your cat's body condition and overall well-being. By being observant and seeking veterinary care when needed, you can help ensure that your cat receives timely treatment and enjoys a long and healthy life. Regular veterinary check-ups are also important for preventive care and early detection of any potential health issues. 

Health Information: The information on our website is intended to impart general nutrition and health information, and is not intended for diagnostic or treatment purposes. Purina is not engaged in rendering veterinary advice or services and always recommend consulting a qualified veterinarian for veterinary advice or services. 

Cat on scale
Healthy Weight Tool

Use our step-by-step tool to check your cat's current and ideal size.

white cat by the window
Comforting Pets with Anxiety

Ease pet separation anxiety with expert tips on signs, routines, playtime, and more.

Cat with Vet taking Probiotics
Probitotics For Cats

Probiotics for cats offer more than relief for digestive issues but improve overall feline health.