Common indications of illness in cats include behavioral changes, such as hiding and neglecting normal grooming, states Vetstreet. They may refuse to eat or drink or, conversely, begin to eat and drink more than usual. Cats may also regurgitate or vomit their food and experience changes in litter-box habits.
Other indications of poor feline health include the presence of bad breath, changes in activity levels, increased vocalization, unexplained weight loss or gain, and increased anxiety, according to Steven Dale of Petfinder. Staying alert to these subtle indicators can help an owner know when to seek veterinary care for a cat.
Cats are masters at hiding serious illness until it is in advanced stages, notes Vetstreet. Often, an owner doesn't realize a pet is sick or in pain until the cat can no longer hide the illness. This is a survival tactic; predators are more likely to prey on cats in the wild that show vulnerability, weakness or illness.
The instinct to hide illness makes it important for cat owners to monitor their pets daily for changes in their behavior and appearance, adds Vetstreet. Whether it's a full-body rub down to check for strange lumps, an examination of their gums and teeth to evaluate oral problems, or a detailed look at the litter box contents, staying aware of what's normal for a given cat can help keep it in good health.