Common Causes of Ain’t Doing Right (ADR) in Cats

Understanding “Ain’t Doing Right” in Cats

Many cats present for nonspecific symptoms that is commonly referred to as “ADR” by veterinarians and veterinary staff. ADR stands for “Ain’t Doing Right”. This is a common term used for nonspecific signs of illness. This term ADR can refer to the following:

  • Eating less
  • Eating less eagerly
  • Hiding
  • Less social
  • Less eager for treats
  • Less exercise tolerance
  • Playing less
  • Sleeping more
  • Lethargic
  • Not drinking

This term is used to refer to owners that just know something is a bit off with their cat. Most signs are subtle with no obvious symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or limping. Those symptoms are much more clear-cut.

ADR is a very common presentation to vet clinics by owners in tuned to subtle changes in their cats.

Common Causes of ADR in Cats

What are common causes of “ADR”. They include the following:

  1. Digestive Upset. Some cats will eat things outside, lick trash, lick or eat dead animals, drink dirty still water in the yard, and just don’t feel good. The symptoms aren’t severe so severe they have started vomiting or diarrhea but make a cat not feel good. Maybe the cat isn’t as eager to eat treats or finish their food. It may these subtle symptoms may lead to vomiting and diarrhea the next day.
  2. Dental Disease. One of the most common diseases in cats which is often under diagnosed and under recognized. This can include periodontal disease, tooth root exposure, and other oral infections. This can often be diagnosis during your vet’s physical examination of your cat.
  3. Generalized Arthritis. Some cats with arthritis will just not feel good and overall and be less active. Some cats will be lame and others will just want to sleep more and not feel good. Studies have shown that as many as 90% of cats over 12 years of age show arthritis changes on x-rays. Some owners noticed subtle signs including less socialization, decreased grooming, not jumping up on things like they used to and overall reduced activity. Many cats exhibit a decreased appetite and weight loss. Diagnostic tests that your vet will recommend will likely include x-rays (radiographs).
  4. Cancer. Cancer is common in cats and can cause a variety of very vague symptoms including lethargy, decreased appetite and weight loss. Cancer can involve internal tumors as well as changes to the blood that can result in anemia. Diagnostic tests that your vet will recommend will likely include blood work such as a complete blood count and profile as well as x-rays (radiographs).
  5. Kidney Disease. Kidney disease common referred to as renal disease, renal failure, kidney disease, kidney failure or chronic kidney disease is common in cats over the age of 7 to 8 years. Early signs of kidney disease are often vague and fall in to the ADR category. Advanced disease is often associated with vomiting, total lack of appetite and weight loss. Diagnostic tests that your vet will recommend will likely include blood work such as a complete blood count and profile, urinalysis as well as x-rays (radiographs).

Other causes of ADR can include diabetes mellitus, heart disease, thyroid disease and pancreatitis. If your cat is showing vague symptoms – please see your vet to help identify the underlying cause.

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