How to Tell If Your Cat Is Sick — 7 Symptoms to Watch Out For

Is his gum color off?

If you suspect a problem, check the gums. They should be a deep pink, and if you press with your thumb, they should return to pink within two seconds after you lift your thumb. Very pale gums or slow repinking may indicate anemia, shock or poor circulation. Bluish gums or tongue can mean a life-threatening lack of oxygen. Bright red gums may indicate overheating or carbon monoxide poisoning, and yellow gums could be a sign of jaundice. Tiny red splotches may indicate a blood-clotting problem. Tooth and gum problems often cause bad breath and pain, with redness around the gumline.

Is his temperature abnormal?

To take your cat’s temperature, lubricate a rectal thermometer (petroleum jelly or personal lubricant are both OK to use) and insert it 1 to 1.5 inches into the cat's rectum. Depending on the thermometer, leave it there from 10 seconds to a minute. The normal temperature for a cat is 100 to 103 degrees, averaging 101 degrees. If the temperature is 104 degrees or above, or 99 degrees or below, call your veterinarian for advice; if it’s 105 degrees or above, or 96 degrees or below, go to your veterinarian.


When in doubt, call your veterinarian. A false alarm is better than ignoring the symptoms of a sick cat.

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