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10 Warning Signs Your Cat Is Crying For Help

10 Warning Signs Your Cat Is Crying For Help

Having a cat means having a fun companion all day along in your home!

This is super existing, especially for novice cat owners that are likely to get thrilled about everything their new furry companion does.

But, owning a pet isn’t just about fun. It also means a great responsibility and taking care of an animal that can get sick, injured, sad, and so on. Therefore, there will be some situations you’ll need to recognize your cat isn’t feeling well, and help her. 

However, this might not be the easiest task, since cats are masters in hiding their pain. Back in the wild, they tried their best not to show pain, since this made them vulnerable to predators. This natural instinct is still present in our domestic cats.

So, you’ll need to get to know your cat well to be able to recognize she’s feeling bad. 

You should also know everything about the 10 warning signs your cat is crying for help, therefore, let’s learn more about them.

1. Decreased Activity Levels

cat lying down

Cats vary in their need for physical activity: While some may be content with just a few minutes of playtime with you, others seem to have an insatiable desire for play and leaping about!

A cat’s activity level might also depend on factors such as age and weight. For instance, even playing can be challenging for obese cats, according to VCA Animal Hospitals, leading them to mostly spend their time sleeping and eating.

But, if neither weight gain or age is the issue with your cat, showing significantly less activity all of a sudden might be her way to ask help for you.

This means that something is bothering her and making her uninterested in her usual activities.

2. Change In Eating And Drinking Habits

Regular meals and water intake are crucial for a cat’s health.

Any kind of change in these two could imply that your cat is in trouble. If she refuses to eat, or, perhaps, eats more than usually, this might mean she’s struggling with stress or some type of illness.

Eating too much can lead to obesity, while not eating at all for longer than two days is alarming for cats.

Struggling with peeing or peeing too often could also signify health problems in your cat, such as bladder infections, Urinary Tract Infections, kidney problems, etc. 

As soon as you notice severe change in your cat’s eating and drinking habits, you should reach out to a veterinarian.

3. Hiding Behavior

cat hiding under a couch

All cat parents are likely to witness hiding behavior in their pets, at least sometimes. But, this could be a sign your cat is crying for help if you see it too often, like, on a daily basis.

Hiding is a normal feline behavior, since it’s associated with cats being both predators and prey in the wild. It serves as a survival mechanism in the outdoors.

However, according to Feline Behavior Solutions, if your cat suddenly starts to hide for extended periods of time, this might indicate that she isn’t feeling well.

If the hiding behavior interferes with your cat’s normal activities, such as sleeping, eating, or playing, it’s time you take her for a vet’s check-up.

4. Change In Litter Box Habits

Cats are naturally very clean and it’s usually an easy task to teach them where they should defecate. Most cats will be litter-trained in a few days, while several weeks for mastering this is pretty rare for cats.

However, it seems that your normally litter-trained cat is suddenly house soiling. What’s happening?

Salla Mikkola and her associates [1] explain how house soiling can indicate that a cat has health problems, or perhaps some environmental stressors and social conflicts are the culprit for the change in her litter box habits.

You shouldn’t punish your cat for defecating outside the litter box, but rather try to figure out the exact cause behind this behavior.

There’s a good chance your cat will soon show her normal toilet habits. If this doesn’t happen, it would be good to ask a vet for advice.

5. Overgrooming

cat licking itself

Cats love to groom themselves, and you’ll probably see your pet doing this numerous times a day.

However, if you suddenly notice your cat spending too much time on licking and grooming herself, this is a potential symptom of some problem in her. Overgrooming can also cause sores and hair loss in your cat.

Stress is the most common trigger for overgrooming in cats. This could be her attempt to comfort herself.

Many things can cause stress in your cat. Some of them, as explained by Spruce Pets, are the arrival of a new family member, moving to a new home, lack of environmental enrichment, living in a chaotic house, etc.

Furthermore, some medical conditions could cause your cat to over groom, such as an allergic reaction – she’s licking herself excessively to relieve the itching.

Once again, you’ll need to have your cat checked by a veterinarian to determine what’s causing her to groom herself excessively.

6. Yowling

At times, a distressed cat may become more vocal, producing louder and more frequent vocalizations. These will usually be yowls – sounds similar to meowing, but more drawn-out, and louder.

For a visual reference of this vocalization, check the video below.

A cat that’s yowling excessively is probably in some kind of pain or discomfort. You might want to check out your cat’s body for injuries. 

Be patient and gentle, since she probably won’t be thrilled with you doing this, and might even prevent you from examining her.

7. Aggressive Behavior

close-up photo of an angry cat

If your normally docile and gentle cat suddenly becomes aggressive towards you and other family members, this might indicate she actually needs your help.

A cat in pain can become aggressive, because she’s unable to help herself and becomes stressed in fear the pain will last long.

Your cat might also be showing fear aggression due to some change in your household, such as a loud noise, a new human or a new pet, etc.

Sudden aggression, or aggression of any kind shouldn’t be allowed, so, you might want to seek help from a veterinarian to identify the exact root of aggression problem in your cat.

8. Change In A Cat’s Coat

Your cat’s coat can also be an important indicator of her health.

Since felines are such good groomers, if their coat is in poor condition, it could be a result of their inability to groom themselves as usual. Or, perhaps, your cat is dealing with some health condition causing her fur to look bad.

For example, skin infections or allergies can be intensely itchy, prompting your cat to excessively lick and scratch her fur, causing it to look separated.

9. Vomiting

side view of a tabby cat vomit in back yard

Every cat will experience vomiting at least a couple of times in their lifetimes. There are many causes of this gastrointestinal problem.

According to the cat vomit chart, if a cat’s vomit is brown, she’s probably having a food allergy. If she vomits green, this might be due to plant-eating. Red vomit is alarming, and could indicate an infection, toxication, or a foreign body ingestion.

Although vomiting isn’t rare in cats, this doesn’t mean it’s normal, especially if it keeps happening for a couple of days in a row.

If you notice this, you must seek help from a veterinarian.

10. A Change In The Way Of Walking

You’re probably used to seeing your cat looking gracefully while walking.

If you suddenly notice her walking differently, like bumping on things, or knocking them down while passing by them, this might mean your cat is injured.

Furthemore, a cat could be walking weirdly, like on her back legs, due to health problems, such as muscle weakness or arthritis

A change of this kind shouldn’t be ignored and also requires an immediate visit to a vet clinic.


You shouldn’t ignore if you notice any of these 10 warning signs your cat is crying for help, especially if you notice a couple of them at the same time!

Cats won’t show their pain so easily, so revealing these signs is serious, and might mean your cat is in severe distress.

As soon as you get to the root of the problem, the sooner you’ll be able to help your cat recover. 

In most cases, you won’t be able to do this on your own, therefore, remember a veterinarian that will have the solution for your cat is only one call away!


[1] Mikkola, S., Salonen, M., Hakanen, E., & Lohi, H. (2023). Feline litter box issues associate with cat personality, breed, and age at sterilization. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 261(5), 652-660. DOI, Retrieved Aug 23, 2023.