Cats are experts at hiding pain and illness, and they often do so by going into hiding themselves. This can be extremely dangerous because if you don’t notice their symptoms, you likely won’t be able to get them appropriate care until their condition becomes serious.

If your cat is reluctant to come out of a closet or out from under the bed – or if your normally aloof feline suddenly can’t get enough attention – it may be the first indication that something is wrong.

In addition to changes in their normal behavior or routine, here are some other symptoms that should never be ignored. If you notice any of these signs of distress in your cat, seek veterinary care as soon as possible:

  • Trouble breathing, including heaving, rapid breathing, or open-mouthed panting
  • Straining or inability to urinate
  • Frequent urination, especially combined with excessive drinking
  • Accidents outside the litter box
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of attention to grooming, indicating your pet may be hurting too much to clean herself
  • Excessive licking of genitals, especially in males
  • Lethargy or stumbling, which can be a result of toxin ingestion
  • Swelling of the face or muzzle, possibly due to an allergic reaction
  • Seizures or tremors
  • Weakness or inability to stand
  • Paralysis, especially of the hind legs, often the result of a blood clot called a saddle thrombus
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Pale, gray, blue, or bright red gums
  • Excessive vomiting – more than 2-3 times a day – or diarrhea

Remember, you know your cat best. Oftentimes, your only indication might be a feeling that something isn’t right with your feline friend. If you’re ever in doubt, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

If your cat needs emergency services during regular business hours, we advise you to call your primary care veterinarian first. However, if it’s after hours, or your veterinarian has instructed you to seek immediate care, we welcome you here at The COVE any time of the day or night. You do not need an appointment or referral for an emergency.

We’re open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, with a veterinarian always on-site along with other skilled, caring members of our team. If possible, however, we urge you to call us first at 757-935-9111 so we can be prepared for your arrival.

About Us

The COVE’s veterinarians and staff wholeheartedly embrace the core values of community, collaboration, commitment, compassion, and integrity. This focus ensures that pets, the people who love them, and their primary care veterinarians have as positive and affirming a healthcare experience as possible, regardless of the circumstances that bring us all together.