VCA Beacon Hill Cat Hospital

Sick or Not Sick ?

Sick or Not Sick?

Sign of illness in cat be subtle, so even the smallest thing may turn out to be significant. Here are 10 subtle sign of illness in cats. Each is a "paws-up" to see your veterinarian.
  1. Changes in interaction: A previously clingy cat acting uncharacteristically aloof, or a more independent cat that suddenly transforms into "Velcro kitty" are examples.
  1. Change in activity: A decrease or increase in activity and /or a change in the cat’s daily routine can be a sign of a medical condition. For instance, arthritis is far more common in cats then previously thought.
  1. Changes in chewing or eating habits: Contrary to popular belief, most cats are not finicky eaters. Look for changes such as a decrease or increase in how much they eat. Eating less can be a sign of several disorders, ranging from dental problems to cancer. Increased eating can be cause by diabetes, hyperthyroidism or other health problems.
  1. Changes in water intake: Drinking more or less water can be an indicator of a health problem, such as diabetes or kidney disease.
  1. Unexpected weight loss or weight gain: Weight doesn’t always go up or down with a change in appetite. Cats with diabetes or hyperthyroidism, for example, may lose weight even if they eat more.
  1. Bad breath: If those pearly whites don’t smell sweet as a daisy, there may be a dental and / or gum issue. Bad breath may also be related to a digestive disorder, infection or kidney disease.
  1. Changes in grooming habits: Fastidious groomers letting themselves go-even just a little bit-might be ill. Over –grooming may be related to stress, pain, or skin Conditions.
  1. Changes in sleeping habits: From catnapping more often to awaking in the middle of the night, the explanation may be illness, perhaps associated with aging.
  1. Changes in vocalization: Wallflowers that begin to vocalize or a cat that howl in the night may be doing so as a result of a medical problem. Feline cognitive dysfunction (feline Alzheimer’s), hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure or anxiety are among the possible explanations.
10. Signs of stress: Cats dislike changes more then anything. Changes in your   families schedule, new pets coming or going, or even rearranging the furniture can cause stress. A cat that isn’t feeling well may be anxious as a result. Geriatric cats may be particularly prone to stress. Anxious cats may exhibit behavioral changes ( such as missing the litter box) and physical changes. Anxiety requires the same professional attention as diabetes or heart condition.
By the way, because illness is so commonly associated with changes in a cat’s activities of daily living, it’s good idea to create a "healthy profile" for your cat. That way and your veterinarian will know what is normal for your cat so that in the future, it will be much easier to notice when something out of the ordinary happens.

Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:


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Emergency Care

If your cat has an emergency, please come right away - your cat will be seen immediately.  If possible, call to let us know you are on the way.

If we are closed, our voicemessage has the phone numbers of nearby Emergency locations that we recommend.  Our phone number is 703-765-2287.

After hours we recommend you call:

VCA Alexandria Animal Hospital 703-751-2022

or VCA Southpaws Referral Center 703-752-9100