Ask A Vet: Would You Notice These 5 Subtle Changes In Your Cat?



You know your cat pretty well, but would you notice these subtle changes if you didn’t know what they could mean?

Weight loss

You see your cat every day and elusive changes might sneak up on you. Unintended weight loss can be a sign that your cat needs to see a vet.  Some treatable issues cause weight loss as an early sign, like hyperthyroidism, diabetes and kidney disease. All of these issues are best discovered early before serious progression has occurred. If you think that your cat could be losing weight, pick him up when you weigh yourself and then put him down and weigh again. Scales for people are not extremely accurate for small cats, but you can get an idea. Keep a log so you can document changes.


Polydipsia is the medical term for excessive thirst. Cats do not normally drink a lot of water. Their kidneys are normally able to concentrate urine to conserve water. If you see your cat hanging out by the water bowl or you think you are refilling it too often, make sure you start tracking how much water, she really is drinking. Take your log of water consumption to your vet and the appropriate testing can be ordered. Again, early detection is critical to happy management of the diseases that can cause this.


Polyuria is the medical term for excessive urination. This one usually accompanies polydipsia and is a warning sign of many common feline disorders.  When you clean the litter box, be aware of the amount of urine that seems to be present. If you have multiple cats, you might choose to isolate the one that you think is drinking or urinating excessively so you can measure and monitor exact who is producing the urine and how much can be attributed to him.


A normal cat that is eating will be producing stool. If you notice that there is no bowel movement in the box, first look for elimination outside the box and then begin to monitor. There are things that must be addressed whether there is no feces being eliminated or it is just being deposited outside the box and your vet can help you get to the bottom of it.


If your cat seems to be hiding or sleeping all the time, you need to try to figure out why. Any change in behavior for a cat could be noteworthy. Normal cats interact with their owners and house mates, even if they are aloof.  You know what is normal for your cat and any change needs to be reported to your veterinary team. Cats do suffer from arthritis and infections and disorders can all impact energy level and comfort. Cats are masters at hiding disease and physically retreating when they are ill is one of their methods for doing so.

If you notice these or anything new and different for your cat, don’t ignore it. Even if you just call your vet and ask their opinion, it is nice to get some expert advice. Ignoring changes for more than a short time is not in your cat’s best interest. A happy and healthy cat makes everything at home better, so notice and report changes to your vet.

For more information about loving and living with cats, please look me up on Facebook.

Written by Dr. Kathryn Primm
Story Page

Would you donate 10 seconds of your time to help shelter cats?


Signup for Our Newsletter, and We'll Donate 1 Meal to a Shelter Cat In Need!

Because we believe all cats matter, we created an email newsletter that’s packed with health & training tips, safety info, and products that support animal shelters. Can we send it to you?

Thank you for signing up!