It is said that the eyes are the mirror of the soul. And research suggests that this could also be true for our four-legged friends. Since the days of the most famous nature historian, Charles Darwin, humans have been interested in how animals communicate through their facial expressions, and how different species can express themselves in the same way.
However, in nature, cats are not expressive animals, something that can be lifesaving for felines in the wild. It allows them to hide their weaknesses from their predators. But for domestic cats, this ability can be dangerous, since it makes it more challenging for their owners to detect a health problem and seek medical advice on time.
3 ways your cat asks for help
We’ve put together a list of the 3 most common ways your cat asks for help. As well as other few clues that could also help you indicate if something is wrong and act accordingly.
1. Sudden change in eating behaviours
Cats who don’t feel well usually eat much less than normal. However, some health conditions might increase the appetite, so don’t ignore your suddenly ravenous cat. Increased thirst and urination is also a very alarming sign. It might indicate diabetes, kidney diseases or other conditions. Frequent and sudden attempts to urinate especially in small amounts may indicate urinary tract infections or blockage. Note that urinating problems is a common problem especially in male cats.
If your cat vomits food soon after eating, it can indicate poisoning, blockage or other health problems. Continuous vomiting for more than a few hours, or if it was accompanied with lethargy is an alerting sign to seek medical attention immediately. Read more about causes of vomiting in cats here.
3. Diarrhea or constipation
Nervousness, diet or water change, food sensitivities, intestinal parasites, infections, poisoning or many other illnesses can all cause diarrhea. Whether it was watery diarrhea, or accompanied with blood or vomiting, they are all signs indicating that your cat needs help.
Constipation is common in cats, they may strain to defecate; cry or meow in the litterbox, pass only small, hard feces; or watery feces. Examine your cat’s litterbox to make sure it is defecating as it should be.
Other signs your cat needs help
Other signs that can also be alarming and indicate that your cat needs help, include:
Limping is the most visible sign of pain in cats. If he starts regularly limping for no reason, it might be a sign that he has hurt himself or a symptom of osteoarthritis.
Struggling to move
If just getting up seems like a big strain on your cat, something is wrong. A healthy cat should not have difficulty jumping, running, or just walking. Your cat might have hurt himself. Check signs of broken bones here.
Aggressive when touched
When you pet your cat, and it starts to bite, meow, or suddenly run away when you touch a specific area of its body, then most likely it is because of pain.
If you notice that your cat is continuously licking itself in a particular place (a paw, belly, etc.), something is bothering him there. Conversely, if your cat is no longer grooming, you should also be concerned.
Meows more than usual
If your cat starts meowing more often and her meows sound like complaints or cries, then she might be seeking help. Read more about excessive cat meowing here.
Purrs all the time
Contrary to popular belief, purring is not just a sign of well-being in cats; it might be to soothe the pain.
Coughing can result from a variety of conditions, including foreign bodies, hairballs, allergies, asthma, tumors, heart disease, lung disease or several contagious illnesses. If coughing persists for more than a day, don’t wait, contact your veterinarian. If your cat has difficulty breathing or has bluish gums, then he needs to see his veterinarian immediately.
A third eyelid
The third eyelid is a whitish membrane that appears on the cat’s eye when the cat is not feeling well. It can be accompanied by discharge from the eyes or even by a strong sensitivity to light.
When in pain, cats tend to isolate themselves from their owners. He tries to hide at all costs, and the reason can be to conceal his state of weakness.