Cat Symptoms Checker

A quick guide to your cat’s symptoms. Scroll to the particular symptom to get suggestions on a possible cause.

Abdomen (painful)

Abdomen (swollen)

Aggressive behaviour

Painful conditions including:


Alopecia (hair loss)

Pruritic (itchy):

Nonpruritic (non-itchy):

Anal bleeding

Anal scooting

Anorexia (not eating)

Ataxia (unsteady gait)


Bad breath (halitosis)


Bald spots



Bleeding (excessive)

Blood in the stool (bright red)


Blood in the stool (dark/tarry)

Black and tarry feces (melena) is caused by blood that originated in the upper gastrointestinal tract. The dark colour of melena is due to digested blood in the feces

Blood in urine (hematuria)

Breathing, rapid (tachypnea)

Claws (thickened)



  • Dehydration
  • Reluctance to defecate due to behavioural issues.
  • Obstruction of the colon
  • Dietary
  • Drugs and medications
  • Painful defecation
  • Neurological
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Pelvic injuries
  • Metabolic/hormonal
  • Idiopathic





  • Hunger
  • Estrus
  • New kitten: If you have just obtained your kitten it may meow excessively for the first few days. Leaving it’s mother and siblings and moving into a new house with new owners is a huge change to your kitten.
  • Loss of a companion: Cats are sensitive creatures and form close bonds with their owners and other pets in the household. If there are changes to the family dynamics, such as a separation, or the loss of an animal, this may cause your cat to meow more than usual.
  • Moving house: Again, this is a big change for your cat and may result in it becoming more vocal.
  • Attention seeking: Excessive vocalisation may be a result of your cat is feeling lonely or not receiving enough attention from his owner.
  • Outside influences: A neighbourhood cat coming onto your cat’s territory.
  • Old age: Some old cats may meow excessively. This usually happens when they begin to lose their cognitive functions.
  • Medical problems: If your cat is sick or in pain it may result in excessive vocalisation.
  • Nocturnal behaviour: Cats by nature are nocturnal, and may meow more during the night.

Decreased appetite

  • See anorexia


  • Vomiting and or diarrhea
  • Sickness: A sick cat may go off his food and water and therefore not receive enough fluids and become dehydrated.
  • Increased urination: Medical conditions such as diabetes and renal failure in which the cat urinates more often may cause dehydration.
  • Heatstroke
  • Lack of available, fresh drinking water.
  • Shock
  • Blood loss
  • Fever



Dilated pupils

Drinking (increased thirst)



Dull hair/coat

Excessive blinking

Eye discharge

  • Blepharitis
  • Blocked tear ducts
  • Feline upper respiratory infections (cat flu)
  • Conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva)
  • Dry eye
  • Allergy
  • Keratitis
  • Epiphora (excessive tear production)
  • Foreign bodies in the eye
  • Trichiasis (rare in cats, eyelashes growing from the eyelid and rubbing against the cornea causing irritation)
  • Trauma
  • Uveitis (watery discharge)

Excessive tearing (eye)

Exercise intolerance

Fading kitten syndrome

  • Blood type incompatibility
  • Congenital defect
  • Environmental temperature (too hot or cold)
  • Maternal neglect
  • Dehydration
  • Inadequate nutrition during infancy
  • Viral, bacterial or parasitic infection


Frequent urination


Gums (colour)

Hair loss

  • See alopecia

Head tilt

Head shaking


Hunger (increased)



Inappropriate urination


Increased heart rate (tachycardia)

Increased thirst

  • See drinking

Increased urination

Itchy anus

Itchy ear


Itchy skin




Nasal discharge



Painful abdomen

  • See abdomen

Painful urination



  • Aortic thromboembolism (saddle thrombosis)
  • Poisoning (tick, botulism, macadamia, ciguatoxin, tetrodotoxin)
  • Stroke
  • Trauma
  • Cancer
  • Slipped disc
  • Viral infection
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Meningitis

Photophobia (sensitivity to light)

Pupils dilated (see dilated pupils)

  • See dilated pupils

Pupils (fixed)

Pupils (odd/different sized)

  • Anterior uveitis
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Certain drugs/medications
  • Glaucoma
  • Head trauma
  • Horner’s syndrome
  • Iris atrophy
  • Spastic pupil syndrome
  • Oculomotor nerve paralysis
  • Stroke
  • Cancer

Rapid/shallow breathing

Scabby ears

Scabs (neck)

Scabs (back)




Straining to urinate


Swollen abdomen

  • See abdomen

Swollen breast and/or nipple

Swollen chin


Swollen eye


Swollen lymph nodes

Swollen paw




Food/Diet Related:

Vomiting blood

  • Foreign body in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Ulcers (stomach, esophagus)
  • Aspirin poisoning
  • Inflammation (stomach, esophagus)
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Tumours (stomach, esophagus)
  • Certain medications
  • Intestinal worms
  • Swallowed blood (from mouth, nose, esophagus)





Weight loss


  • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

    Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio

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