Cat Behaviour Set Against Possible Health Problem

This is a truncated, compact chart showing a list of possible health problems resulting in certain kinds of feline behaviour/symptoms despite a cat’s skill at hiding illness.

I think that it is quite useful, although it is limited. The list could provide some ideas to people as to what might be going on if they spot these sorts of behaviour patterns/symptoms in their cat. The list comes from Dr Bruce Fogle, the well-known British veterinarian/author.

Any of the signs on this list warrants an immediate trip to a veterinarian.

Cat behavior set against illness
Cat behavior set against illness
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Provided a cat caretaker is diligent in taking their cat to the veterinarian as and when required, I think it is useful to have some knowledge about cat health problems as it informs the cat caretaker, makes them more aware of what is going on and it can also help the veterinarian in diagnosis.

Associated page: Cat Illness Symptoms – a list of symptoms linking to possible health causes.

5 thoughts on “Cat Behaviour Set Against Possible Health Problem”

  1. I’d like to add that abnormal breathing that is indicative of fluid in the lungs may only express itself in the breathing rate. A lot of people think of it as panting, but in, for example, my previous cat it manifested as very rapid breathing noticeable only when you look at how quickly her chest and stomach went up and down. There was no panting at all. Even when the vet listened to her lungs, they appeared clear, but we decided to do an X-ray just in case as she just started on prednisolone for IBD, and it showed fluid in the lungs. An echo showed that she also had a preexisting abnormality.

    One other thing. Being unsteady on the feet can also be a sign of vestibular disorder. The table does mention brain trauma and ear infection, but there are other causes of vestibular disease ranging from self-limiting to serious. As I learned from a vet neurologist when it happened with my previous cat, there are two types – central and peripheral. The central is very serious and is likely due to something being wrong with the cat’s brain – injury, stroke, tumor. The peripheral is usually caused by something in the middle ear and can be an infection – viral or bacterial – or idiopathic (translation: no known reason). While you need antibiotics for a bacterial infection, viral or idiopathic vestibular disease just resolves itself. The way the neurologist could tell that in my cat it was peripheral vestibular disease was from the eye movement. In central vestibular disease the pupils move at random, all over the eye. In peripheral disease, the pipils move side to side. Incidentally, I guess pupil movement is what distinguishes vestibular disease from poisoning. In my case, non-specialists thought that it was something in the brain and that we’d need MRI to find out, but the neurologist was able to figure out from the examination that as it was peripheral, we can wait and see if it resolves. This is important to know because given the cost of an MRI and the seriousness of brain abnormalities, people may jump to the conclusion that it’s something incurable and put a cat to sleep whereas a peripheral disease just resolves by itself in a couple of weeks with antibiotics (just in case it’s bacterial). My cat was a little better in a week, and almost back to normal after a month. It was very scary when it happened though – looking like drunk, falling over every few steps.

  2. Abnormal Breathing, Unsteady on Feet, or Loss of Appetite (3 of your 5 symptoms listed) can also be symptoms of the “paralytic” or “dumb” symptoms of rabies. 1 out of 5 rabid animals (approximately 20%) do not exhibit the “furious rabies” symptoms, just the “dumb” or “paralytic” symptoms. Sometimes these symptoms are so minor that nobody realizes the cat had rabies during the last 6 to 9 months, confusing the minor symptoms of rabies with just a slight increase of a cat’s typical “entertaining” behavior. If they display any symptom at all it is only during the last 2 weeks of infection before the animal dies from rabies. Giving a rabies vaccine to an outdoor cat without knowing its vaccination history does not cure it of rabies if it already has rabies. And giving a rabies vaccine to any kitten found outside is also ineffective against the disease because a kitten’s immune system is not developed enough to respond to the vaccine. This is why so many rabies cases are now appear in the USA in cats. Out of all domesticated animal species, and therefore being in close proximity to humans, cats are more than 4 times more likely to carry rabies to humans today than any other domesticated animals. With the lax import laws in the UK now it’s only a matter of time until you are dealing with this too. Especially since you’ve all become so used to rabies being so rare you will want to refuse to believe it is even happening. Just like all the TNR groups in the USA that loudly refute what’s happening in all their outdoor cats. Rabies shall rear its ugly head once again throughout Europe. With your penchant for allowing all cats outdoors, the UK will have it even worse than in the USA. Since you so strongly want to attract visitors from the USA and more frequently report on happenings in the USA than even in your own backyard, you might want to remind all your USA visitors too of what is causing this in cats in the USA (and many other countries today).

    • You sound like Woodsman, the notorious cat website troll and cat hater. I report on USA matters because the USA is the biggest domestic cat marketplace. Simple. Rabies was eliminated in the UK years ago. But I agree that being part of the EU is jeopardising the situation as crappy Eastern European countries (and former USSR satellite states) are now part of the EU sadly and they import animals with rabies illegally.

      Rabies is an animal and human health problem in the USA. At present the UK is doing better than the USA in respect of rabies. Therefore please try and be more humble difficult though it is. I have assumed that you are an American.

  3. Don’t forget what many people consider “inappropriate” elimination. Cats peeing outside the box can oftenbe a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as a urinary tract infection, bladder infection or other issues that need attention. While spraying (vertical urination on objects) can be a behavioral territorial issue, it can also be indicative of a medical issue.


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