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Five Critical Cat Behavior Changes and How to HelpBy: Kelli Rascoe
Your furry 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, you value your cat’s place in your family and want nothing but happiness and health for them.
We sat down with Trupanion veterinarian, Dr. Sarah Nold, to discuss five critical cat behavior changes and when you should seek veterinary care for your best friend.
Five critical cat behavior changes to watch out for
1. 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 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. For more on Hepatic Lipidosis, click here.
2. 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.
3. Cat not using the litter box
If your cat is not using the litter box, it is definitely something worth doing some digging over. Naturally, there’s 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, like with arthritis, they may decide it’s easier or 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. For more on cat litter box problems, read here.
4. 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 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. For more on sudden aggression in cats, click here.
5. 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:
- Change in environment
- New people or pets in their space/household
- Underlying health condition
- Loss of a family member
Also, 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 cat to exhibit this withdrawn behavior.
Cat behavior changes: best practices for caring for your best friend
You want the best for your cats, and changes in your cat’s behavior, small or large can be the direct result of a medical condition or a move to a new home. Also, your furry friends are sensitive animals but are not always the first to let you know if something is wrong.
If you feel your cat is showing signs or experiencing abnormal behaviors, it’s 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.
For more on cats, read How Much Water Should a Cat Drink?
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A WORD FROM TRUPANION
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This blog is designed to be a community where pet owners can learn and share. The views expressed in each post are the opinion of the author and not necessarily endorsed by Trupanion. Always consult your veterinarian for professional advice.