Our feline friends are independent creatures and can be quite particular with how they behave and interact with us on a daily basis. But, when do cat behavior changes merit seeking medical care? Certainly, we value our cat’s place in our families and want nothing but happiness and health for them. We sat down with Trupanion’s on-site veterinarian, Dr. Sarah Nold, to discuss five critical cat behavior changes and when you should seek veterinary care for your furry friends.
Five critical cat behavior changes to watch out for
Cat stops eating
A cat can stop eating for multiple reasons. While a cat could stop eating due to a recent move, stress, or a change in food, it also could indicate something more is going on. “If your cat continues not to eat or has a decreased appetite it’s best to contact your veterinarian sooner than later, as a significant reduction in caloric intake can result in a serious condition called Hepatic Lipidosis,” cites on-site Trupanion veterinarian, Dr. Sarah Nold. Consider keeping a journal to keep track of how much your cat is eating per meal, especially if there has been a recent change.
Cat stops drinking
Hydration is incredibly important for all our pets, and cats
are no exception. Besides a change in diet from dry to wet food, or vice versa,
it could really be dependent upon the circumstance. “If you haven’t made a
recent change in your cat’s diet, then you should consider contacting your
veterinarian. As such, “Your cat may also not be drinking water, if they are
too weak or it is too painful to get to the water dish,” points out Nold.
Consider keeping an eye on the amount of water your cat is drinking, such as how
often and how much your cat is drinking, so you can keep your veterinarian informed.
Cat not using the litter box
If your cat is not using the litter box, it is definitely something worth doing some digging over. Certainly, there is a chance if your cat is not using the litter box, they might be using the bathroom somewhere around the house. Besides being a messy situation, this could also indicate an underlying behavior or health concern that needs to be addressed. “If your cat is in pain, such as with arthritis, they may decide it is easier (less painful) to use the bathroom elsewhere instead of having to step up or jump into the litter box,” says Nold. Additionally, if your pet is vocalizing and crying out, please seek veterinary care immediately.
Cat suddenly aggressive
Although we know our feline friends can sometimes be a bit temperamental, sudden aggression is definitely something worth noting to your veterinarian. For instance “underlying health conditions that could be related include rabies, hyperthyroidism, seizures, toxins, or cancer, “states Nold. Alternatively, it could be a simple introduction that is needed between additional people or pets in the household. Just as their human counterparts, cats like to be familiar with the people and places around them, and want to feel at home in their space. Consider if your pet has any new pets or people in their environment and check in with your veterinarian, as there could be more going on with them.
Cat suddenly depressed
Your cat could become suddenly depressed due to a number of scenarios. If you feel your furry friend is suddenly depressed, consider the following:
Similarly, if a pet is experiencing signs of being depressed,
lethargic, or withdrawn, you should seek care with your veterinarian as they
might have an underlying health condition that is causing your furry friend to exhibit this withdrawn behavior.
Cat behavior changes: best practices for caring for your feline friend
We want the best for our cats, and cat behavior changes, small or large can be the direct result of a medical condition or a move to a new home.
Our feline friends are sensitive animals but are not always the first to let us know if something is wrong.
If you feel your cat is showing signs or experiencing abnormal behaviors, it is best to seek care with your veterinarian, so a full assessment and check-up can be performed.
Further, by staying in tune with your cat behavior changes you are providing a loving and supportive family dynamic that they can depend on.
is a digital content writer and editor for Trupanion. She spends her workday writing for the Trupanion blog. She loves writing about pets, being inspired by pets, and luckily gets to hang out with her rescue dogs all day long. In her free time, she enjoys exploring and traveling with her family. Her work has been featured on the DOGTV blog, KitNipBox blog, Get Your Pet blog, Fansided, among many others.