Cats are the masters of disguise. Here we see a beautiful Abyssinian cat decoratively perched on a pedestal and disguised as a piece of sculpture- that is until she changes her mind and becomes something else!
Although cats in disguise bring enormous enjoyment to our lives, many cat owners are frustrated with their favorite fur person’s Academy Award-winning ability to masquerade as a healthy cat until hospitalization and intensive care are required. Sick cats commonly hide under the bed or in the closet; however, many cat owners mistakenly believe this behavior is simply their cat expressing its feline independence rather than a potential sign of serious illness. Another sick cat behavior frequently mistaken for bad cat behavior is a loss of litter box training.
Common illnesses, common signs
According to Best Pets Insurance, the top five medical claims for insured cats include: chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, allergies, cancer and diabetes. These five diseases make up one-third of all feline claims to Best Pets Insurance. I don’t want to minimize the important impact allergies have on your cat’s quality of life but, in general, allergies are not life threatening and because they manifest on the outside of your cat, allergies are easy to detect. This blog will focus on how to recognize the big four: chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, cancer and diabetes.
Weight loss in all
Many cat diseases look the same, which is one reason it is difficult for cat owners to identify that their cat may be ill. In fact, weight loss is a common clinical sign in cats with chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, cancer and diabetes.
Increased water drinking in most
When I talk to cat owners at an annual physical examination, I ask about water consumption. Increased drinking can result from chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism or diabetes. Only occasionally, does cancer cause cats to drink more water.
Hungry all the time in a few
Hyperthyroidism causes metabolic rate to soar. Hyperthyroid cats are hungry all the time to compensate for their increased metabolic rate. Diabetic cats lack insulin, which allows nutrients to enter the cells. Diabetic cats are hungry because their bodies cannot utilize the food they eat. Cats with cancer and kidney disease usually have poor appetites.
- An annual physical examination by your veterinarian will go a long way to detecting weight loss, which is a common feature of the big four.
- Collect a urine sample and take it to your cat’s annual physical exam, since abnormalities like sugar in the urine will help diagnose diabetes early.
- If your pet is showing any of these signs, discuss blood testing with your veterinarian to help identify your cat’s medical condition.