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Caring for a Sick Cat: 4 Basic Tips

For any cat owner, it could be challenging to deal with a pet sickness because one could only rely on physical symptoms and the cat’s behavior. You may not be able to tell how much pain or discomfort your cat feels until you visit the veterinary clinic. As such, it’s important to know what to look out for if you suspect that your feline friend might be sick.  

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Here are some signs and symptoms of sickness in cats: 

  • Noticeable change in mood or behavior. 
  • Less energetic. 
  • Dilated pupils. 
  • Shortness of breath. 
  • Sudden weight change. 
  • Refusing food and water. 
  • Vomiting. 
  • Loose bowel movement. 

Depending on their condition, it could take time for your cat to regain its strength and heal. As such, it’s essential to know how to care for a sick cat at home so you’ll be able to comfort them until they recover. Here are some suggestions you may find helpful when caring for a sick cat: 

1. Visit the Vet Clinic Immediately 

When you notice signs that your cat might be sick, it’s best to get them examined by their vet right away. This is because there’s a risk of dehydration especially when the cat refuses to eat or drink. It can also gradually lose strength with continued vomiting or diarrhea, which can further aggravate pain or discomfort. As such, it’s important to visit your vet for immediate medical attention as needed. Also, your veterinarian may decide to hospitalize your cat if medical supportive care is needed.  

2. Pamper Your Cat With More Love and Attention 

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As you follow medication and care instructions from your vet, you’ll also need to dedicate time to make your cat comfortable and safe while it recovers. To ensure it can get quality rest, you can find a quiet spot in your home where it could sleep soundly. You’ll also need the area to be at a comfortable temperature with sufficient ventilation.  

You may also need to move the litter box closer to the cat’s bed to make it more accessible. However, if the cat is unable to go to its litter box, you may have to supervise bowel movements and ensure its resting area stays clean and dry.  

From feeding to playing, there are many ways you can shower your cat with love and attention when it’s most needed.  

3. Supervise Food and Water Intake  

To fully recover, your sick cat needs to eat a sufficient amount and stay hydrated as well. However, it’s common for sick cats to stop eating and drinking. Given this, you’ll have to supervise their food and water intake to ensure they’re sufficient. If the cat can’t eat on its own, you may have to hand feed it as well. While doing so, make sure the portions are small enough so they’re easier to swallow and digest. Depending on your vet’s instructions, you may also have to make adjustments when it comes to the cat’s diet. 

When it comes to fluid intake, you’ll need to ensure that your cat is drinking enough water throughout the day. Your vet will recommend how much fluid is required. If the cat is in pain or too weak to drink on its own, you may need to administer fluids through a syringe. You can also ask your veterinarian how to effectively provide fluids through this method.  

4. Groom And Pet Your Cat 

Your cat needs more attention when it’s sick, and you can show support and affection through grooming and petting it as needed. Take this time to bond with your cat as you closely observe its recovery.  

You can gently comb and scratch its fur at least once a day. On the other hand, you can use a soft cloth or wet cotton balls to remove discharge or dirt on the eyes, ears, and nose. Maximize this time to cuddle your sick cat as your warmth can give them an extra comfort. 


As you supervise your cat’s recovery, take note of any signs or symptoms of sickness that may not have been present before and contact your veterinarian right away for a consultation. If the cat is unable to eat or drink sufficiently and continues to lose strength, it may be time to take them back to the clinic for further examination.  

While it’s normal for owners to panic or worry about their cat being sick, it’s important to remain calm especially when you’re around them. Cats can easily pick up anxiety from people, and it could upset them as well. Your cat’s health and comfort must be prioritized as it recovers.  

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One comment

  1. Making sure that a sick cat gets good water and food intake might be the most helpful tip for me to remember. Since the one I adopted is still quite young, missing a single meal could be extremely detrimental to its health, so I better keep that in mind. To make sure I am aware of any changes in its health, I’ll look for a veterinarian in the area that can advise me on what to look out for so I can still feed it properly.

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