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Cat Symptom Checker: Match Your Cat’s Symptoms to Health Conditions

An Intuitive Tool to Help Figure Out What's Wrong With Your Cat

By Meredith Alling. December 30, 2013 | See Comments

  • expert or vet photo
    vet verified

    PetCareRx Staff Veterinarian

    DVM

A Cat Sleeping In A Pet Bed

Cats can get sick all the time with many of the same ailments as pet parents. However, symptoms for cats can be much different than they are for humans. Our cat symptom checker is a great way to figure out what may be wrong with your feline friend.

When cats become sick, they can’t tell us with words. Instead, cat parents need to be vigilant, keeping an eye out for any symptoms that could point to illness. This useful chart breaks down cat symptoms by area of the body, then tells you what each symptom could mean.

Our cat symptom checker is a good place to get started identifying what could be wrong with your cat, but always contact your veterinarian for final diagnosis and treatment solutions.

Ears
Eyes
Nose
 
Mouth
 
Abdominal
 
Urinary
 
Bowel
 
Skin & Coat
Behavioral  
 
Head
Other
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If you prefer your information less jazzed up, and a little more scannable, below is all the same information contained in the Cat Symptom Checker Tool above in a neat table format.

The Cat Symptom Checker Table

 

COMMON SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES

Ears

Itching, redness, discharge, or odor: Ear infection, ear mites, allergies, wax buildup, tumor

Swelling: Ear cancer, abscess, hematoma

Hearing loss: Deafness

Eyes

Discharge, redness, or swelling: Eye infection, allergies, conjunctivitis (pink eye), upper respiratory infection, corneal disorders, dry eye, feline infectious peritonitis, feline AIDS, leukemia, distemper, glaucoma, eye defects, eye injury

Clouding: Eye infection, eye defects, corneal disease, tumor

Jaundice (yellowing): Liver disease, feline infectious peritonitis, infection, heart tumor, stem cell disorders

Mouth

Abnormal gum color: Heart disease, heart failure, anemia, cancer, distemper, feline AIDS, leukemia, kidney disease, poisoning, upper respiratory infection

Bad breath: Gingivitis, gum disease, mouth ulcer, cavities, tumor, gastrointestinal problems, liver disease, kidney disease, retained deciduous teeth

Bleeding: Gingivitis, mouth cancer, ulcer, tumor, jaw fracture

Difficulty breathing or coughing: Pneumonia, anemia, heartworm disease, upper respiratory infection, hyperthyroidism, feline infectious peritonitis, heart problems (disease, failure, murmur, or cancer), poisoning, bronchitis, asthma, lung cancer, fungal infections, hernia, foreign object in throat

Difficulty swallowing: Dental infection; mouth infection; hyperthyroidism; tonsil, thyroid, or throat cancer; tonsillitis; sore throat; foreign object in throat

Drooling: Rabies, upper respiratory infection, feline AIDS, mouth, tonsil, or tongue cancer, tooth fracture, kidney disease, ulcers, gum disease, cavities, heat stroke, epilepsy

Vomiting: Swallowing something indigestible, rushed eating, distemper, intestinal parasites, allergies, heartworm disease, infection, poisoning, tonsillitis, inflammatory bowel disease, leukemia, kidney disease, liver disease, pancreatitis, epilepsy

Nose

Bleeding: Injury, foreign object stuck in nose, infection, tumor, parasites, clotting disorder, cancer

Sneezing or discharge: Bacterial, fungal, or viral infections (especially feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus), upper respiratory infection, allergies, feline infectious peritonitis, feline AIDS, leukemia, chlamydia, bordetella

Head

Shaking: Ear mites, ear infection, kidney stones

Swelling: Allergies, insect bite

Tilting: Rabies, vestibular disorders, meningitis, tumor

Skin and Hair

Chewing, licking, scratching, flaking, or redness: Parasites, allergies, dry skin, skin irritation, infection, kidney disease, pain, anxiety, boredom

Hair loss: Hyperthyroidism, parasites, allergies, skin irritation, ringworm, alopecia, ulcer, infection

Urinary

Blood in urine: Urinary tract infection, kidney disease, cancer, diabetes, feline urinary tract disease, fungal infection

Frequent, painful, or strained urination: Urinary tract infection, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, bladder stones, feline urinary tract disease, liver disease, kidney disease, cancer

Incontinence or going outside of the litter box: Aging, kidney disease, urinary tract infection, feline urinary tract disease, bladder stones, congenital defect of the uterus, spinal cord injury

Bowel

Blood in stool: Stomach or intestinal bleeding, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, poisoning, parasites, infection, ulcer, leukemia

Constipation: Dehydration, hairballs, tumor, colitis, feline urinary tract disease

Diarrhea: Food allergies/intolerance, heartworm disease, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, hyperthyroidism, parasites, cancer, pancreatitis

Abdominal

Pain: Urinary tract or intestinal obstruction, bladder rupture, trauma, poisoning, feline infectious peritonitis, liver disease, cancer

Swelling or distention: Foreign body in gastrointestinal tract, tumor, hernia, heart disease, feline infectious peritonitis

Behavioral

Aggression: Rabies, poisoning

Disorientation or loss of balance: Rabies, vestibular disorder, hypoglycemia, high blood pressure, liver disease, brain injury, brain parasites, epilepsy

Increased thirst: Kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, liver disease, diabetes, bacterial infection, poisoning

Lack of appetite or weight loss: Upper respiratory infection, heartworm disease, pancreatitis, hyperthyroidism, feline infectious peritonitis, feline AIDS, kidney failure, cancer, liver disease, intestinal problems, parasites, pneumonia, distemper, toothache, recent vaccination

Lethargy, weakness, depression, or hiding: Heart disease, heart failure, heart murmur, heartworm disease, cancer, feline infectious peritonitis, feline AIDS, feline herpes, kidney failure, lyme disease, anemia, pneumonia, infection, arthritis, hip dysplasia, poisoning, tumor, pancreatitis, diabetes, liver disease, distemper

Other

Fever: Bacterial, viral, or fungal infection, distemper, upper respiratory infection, feline infectious peritonitis, injury, tumor, pancreatitis

Lameness or limping: Injury, arthritis, infection, lyme disease, hip dysplasia, cancer, muscle disorder

Paralysis: Spinal cord injury, rabies, heart disease, heart failure, tumor, poisoning

Seizure: Poisoning, head injury, kidney failure, liver failure, epilepsy


Contact your veterinarian if your cat is showing any signs of illness. Many health conditions require immediate veterinary attention.

More on Cat Health

Why Is My Cat Throwing Up After Eating?
Semi Moist Cat Food and Mixed-Food Diets
All About Cat Examinations - What to Expect at a Vet Visit

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

 

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