Cats might seem like they can take care of themselves. While they are very self-sufficient, they do require a little TLC on a regular basis to make sure there’s nothing serious going on.

A good daily cat care routine includes plenty of fresh water, regular meals, and clean litter boxes. Use this one-on-one time to check for warning signs of illness. Here are five signs that your cat could be sick:

1. Changes in Appetite and Weight

Putting your cat on a regular feeding schedule not only helps establish a routine, it helps you see when things deviate from the norm. A drastic change in appetite or weight could indicate GI or kidney problems. Sudden weight loss can be caused by infections or parasites. Either way, you can catch the changes early and alert your vet as needed.

2. Activity and Sleep Pattern Changes

Checking in regularly on your cat will also allow you to observe its normal sleep and activity patterns. If you normally feisty feline suddenly want to sleep all the time, something might be wrong. Lethargy and sudden inactivity can be symptoms of arthritis or other joint-related diseases. Just like humans, cats have more energy on some days than others, but similar behavior over days or weeks could mean there’s something bigger going on.

3. Litter Box Issues

Once a cat is trained to use a litter box, they usually stick to it pretty well. If you start to find surprises outside the litter box, it’s a sign that there might be digestive or urinary tract issues that prevent your cat from making it to the litter box. Older cats may also miss the litter box if getting to it involves going up or down stairs or other hard-to-reach areas. Keep an eye on the patterns and adjust the box’s location if needed.

4. Bad Breath

No animal’s breath is ever going to smell perfect, but a noticeable change can be an indicator of everything from liver disease and diabetes to tooth and gum problems. Good dental care should be part of your regular cat care routine. Brush your cat’s teeth every day and check under the gums for anything that might be stuck there. If their breath does not improve after regular brushing, consult your vet to check for more serious issues.

5. Grooming Changes

As you know, cats are meticulous about their grooming habits and seem to be constantly cleaning themselves. Under-grooming in the form of  dirty or greasy coats, not grooming at all or over-grooming can be signs of something more serious. Under-grooming sometimes occurs when cats gain weight and have trouble reaching parts of their bodies. Keep an eye on this and make dietary adjustments as needed. Excessive grooming can indicate a skin condition caused by things like allergies, dry skin, or fleas.