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Is my cat sick?

Cats can be stoic creatures and often manage to hide their discomfort when they are sick. Our Tigard vets share some of the signs your cat is sick and what you can do to help. 

Signs of a Sick Cat

Cats, like many animals, are remarkably good at hiding their discomfort when they are ill. In fact, signs of illness may not be obvious until your cat is feeling very unwell. That's why it's important to visit your vet as soon as possible if you notice any of the following signs or symptoms:


It is common for cats to vomit occasionally, but it is important to monitor the timing and frequency. If your cat is vomiting frequently or consistently, it is recommended to schedule a visit with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues such as gastrointestinal distress or food allergies.

Increased or Decreased Appetite

It is crucial not to ignore changes in appetite, as they can lead to health issues if left unchecked. 

If your cat stops eating entirely or is only eating tiny amounts, it is important to involve your veterinarian as soon as possible. Lack of eating for even a couple of days can lead to a serious problem called fatty liver or hepatic lipidosis. 

Additionally, an increased appetite in a cat, especially if it comes on suddenly in an older cat, may be a sign of hyperthyroidism. However, your vet will need to run tests to determine the correct diagnosis and provide appropriate treatment.

Bad Breath

Signs of dental issues in cats, such as bad breath, should not be ignored. Mild halitosis indicates a need for a dental check-up, while severe bad breath should be addressed promptly. Additionally, watch for excessive drooling and bleeding from the mouth, as these could indicate an oral infection that may lead to systemic health issues if left untreated.

Localized Swelling

Swelling in any area of your cat’s body should not be ignored. It could indicate a wound that has become an abscess, or it could even be a tumor. Keep a close eye on the swollen area and if it is painful for your cat, warm to the touch, or shows no improvement within a day or two, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for further evaluation and treatment.


Intestinal parasites, eating something that doesn’t agree with them, and various other factors can all cause diarrhea in cats. If left untreated, it can result in dehydration and intestinal inflammation, causing discomfort for your feline companion. It is important to schedule a vet appointment promptly, and consider bringing a stool sample for examination.

Limping & Trouble Jumping

Limping and trouble jumping are common indicators of an underlying injury or condition, such as arthritis, in cats. It is important not to overlook these signs, even if your cat appears to be eating and behaving normally otherwise. Seeking veterinary care promptly can help ensure proper treatment for your feline friend's comfort and well-being.


If you observe your cat engaging in excessive grooming, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue. Schedule a consultation with a veterinarian to properly diagnose and address any potential concerns to ensure your cat's well-being. 

Debris or Discharge from the Eyes, Nose, or Ears

If you notice discharge from your cat's eyes or nose, it could be a sign of an upper respiratory infection, which may require medication to help your cat recover. This condition can also be contagious to other cats in your household, so it’s important to get it treated quickly to prevent it from spreading. 

Ear debris or discharge could indicate an ear infection or parasites, such as ear mites, which should be addressed promptly to prevent discomfort and potential damage to the eardrum.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your cat is showing any of these symptoms, it's important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment. If you're in need of specialized care, as your vet for a referral to Cascade Veterinary Referral Center.

New Patients Welcome

Cascade Veterinary Referral Center is accepting new patients! Get in touch with us today for information on how to book a specialty appointment for your pet. 

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