The Top 10 Common Cat Health Problems

The Top 10 Common Cat Health Problems

If you are a cat owner or if you are thinking of getting a cat as a pet, we recommend you read the following because you’re going to want to know all of this to ensure your cat remains healthy.

1) Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Feline lower urinary tract disease, or FLUTD, consists of many different conditions that can affect a cat’s bladder and urethra. The disease shows itself in a number of painful ways (mentioned below), it is recommended you take your cat to the vet as soon as possible because this might become fatal.

Symptoms:

  • Not using the litter box.
  • Straining without producing urine – this could be fatal if it means the urethra is blocked.
  • Excessive licking of the genital area.
  • Blood in the urine.

Treatment:

  • Identifying the cause of the symptoms which could be bladder stones, infection, urinary tract blockage, and even cancer.
  • Pain medication.
  • Removing or pushing the blockage back into the bladder.
  • Dietary changes.
  • Increased water intake to prevent future problems.

2) Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases are usually respiratory infections and they are also the most common infectious diseases. Second being feline panleukopenia.

Symptoms of upper respiratory infections:

  • A runny nose.
  • Teary eyes.
  • Sneezing.
  • A cough.
  • Fever.
  • Sores in the mouth.

Treatments for upper respiratory infections are close to none. It is recommended though that you take your pet to a vet.

For the other one, feline panleukopenia, it should be known that it is a highly contagious viral illness and it is recommended that you get your cat, especially kitten, vaccinated before they are infected.

Symptoms:

  • Fever.
  • Bloody diarrhea.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Lethargy.
  • Dehydration.

Treatments:

Since there is no medication that can kill the virus, so what could be done is hydrating the cat and monitoring its health.

3) Cancer

Cancer is scary when it is faced by humans and it is equally scary, if not more when your pet goes through the sickness. There are two common types of cancer that cats face: lymphosarcoma and feline leukemia virus. Lymphosarcoma is a cancer of the lymph system that can be intestinal or in the chest. Another one is common, especially in white ones, and is called squamous cell carcinoma.

Symptoms:

  • Lumps.
  • Swelling.
  • Persistent skin infections or sores.
  • Lethargy.
  • Weight loss.
  • Sudden lameness.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Defecating.
  • Urinating.

Treatment:

It should be known that the options vary and may depend on the type and stage of cancer. A vet specializing in oncology may tell you better. Some of the options, however, are given below:

  • Chemotherapy.
  • Surgery (if the cancer is in an operable area)
  • Radiation.
  • Immunotherapy.

4) Heartworm Disease

This is not a normal host for cats and maybe this is why some of the cats might not show any signs or symptoms. However, cats who do show, suffer from coughing, respiratory problems, and vomiting. Unfortunately, this fatal disease has no effective and safe treatment; however, many cats are able to fight it off on their own. In severe cases, a veterinarian may recommend any of the two options:

  • Medication to reduce the inflammatory response.
  • Surgery to remove the heartworms – a very risky procedure for your pet to endure.

5) Fleas

Fleas are known to suck blood from the body of the host that it is living on, which in this case means your pets.

Signs:

  • Scratching.
  • Hair loss.
  • Bald patches where the cat licked excessively.
  • Fleas.
  • Flea eggs.
  • Flea excretions in your pet’s fur.

Treatment:

  • Insecticides.
  • Prevent egg development.
  • Use flea-control products designed for cats only because they are very sensitive to insecticides and could be fatal if the wrong one is used.

6) Kidney Disease

Problems relating to the kidney in cats are very common and can reduce their ability to excrete waste which leads to a dangerous build-up of toxins in the bloodstream.

Reasons:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Exposure to toxins.
  • Infection.
  • Kidney stones.
  • Cancer.
  • Age.

Symptoms:

It should be known that some cats don’t show any symptoms at all but those who do, face the following:

  • Decreased appetite.
  • Weight loss.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Lethargy.

Treatment:

In severe cases there are two options:

  • Dialysis.
  • Kidney transplant.

7) Dental Disease

Symptoms of dental disease in cats often

  • Difficulty eating.
  • Bad breath – could indicate digestive problems or gingivitis.
  • Change in chewing habits.
  • Discolored, red, or swollen gums.
  • Ulcers on the gums or tongue.
  • Loose teeth.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Constant pawing at the mouth area.

If you suspect that your cat has dental problems, take her to a veterinarian dentist. For good oral hygiene,

Treatment:

  • Brush your cat’s teeth with a toothbrush.
  • Use toothpaste specially-made for felines.
  • Give her a chew toy to exercise her gums.
  • Remove tartar before it hardens.

8) Fractures

Contrary to popular belief, cats do get hurt while jumping off a roof or something that exceeds the boundary of being called ‘good distance.’ The good thing is that they have high chances of getting better if treated immediately. How to know your cat has broken something should be easy but still, here are some very obvious and apparent signs.

Signs:

  • Limping.
  • Not moving.

9) Vomiting and Diarrhea 

Vomiting and diarrhea in cats have to be the most common disease of them all! Especially when you are starting out with a pet and have no real experience or idea about how to go about the whole ‘nurturing’ process, you might end up feeding your cat the wrong thing and they might end up spilling their guts all over the place. However, there are other things too.

Reasons:

  • Eating a plant with rough edges.
  • Eating too quickly.
  • Eating expired dry food.

An isolated episode of vomiting or diarrhea in cats is usually not a cause for concern but the following must create some concern:

Symptoms:

  • Persistent vomiting.
  • Diarrhea with vomiting.
  • Diarrhea that lasts for more than a day.
  • Diarrhea accompanied by bloody or black stools. This could most likely indicate an internal bleeding of the stomach or intestines so do not take it lightly. This could be fatal so it is recommended you take your pet to the vet immediately.

Treatment:

  • Hydrating the cat
  • Not feeding your cat for 12 to 24 hours.
  • Following a bland diet such as boiled potatoes, cooked rice, and boneless chicken.
  • Anti-vomiting medications.

10) Obesity

Obesity increases your cat’s risk for a number of other problems such as joint pain, diabetes, and liver problems. So it should be a priority for you to keep your cat healthy, active and smart. Being healthy in no way means that the cat must be ‘fat’, it means being just the right amount of everything.

If you are able to feel the backbone and ribs of your cat without pressing too hard, then know that your cat is at a healthy weight. When looking from above, you should be able to make out a distinguishable waist.

Treatment:

  • Spayed or neutered will decrease caloric need.
  • Increase exercise.
  • Cut the calories.

Engage them with a toy on a string or another plaything that encourages active movement.

These were some of the most common diseases that a cat endures but there are understandably more. As a good pet owner, we recommend you know about most of them and in case something unusual happens, you must rush to your vet without a delay.

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The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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