32 Cat Illnesses Every Pet Parent Should Know About

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Millions of households worldwide keep felines because of their curious natures and independent spirits. However, just like humans, they are susceptible to various illnesses and health issues. To be responsible pet owners, we must know the common ailments our kitty friends may suffer. Here, we explore 32 of the most prevalent illnesses in cats, from minor nuisances to more severe conditions.

Upper Respiratory Infections (URIs)

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It is common for cats to get URIs, particularly if they have been exposed to many other cats, such as in a shelter. A URI usually resolves in a couple of weeks and is rarely fatal. Treatment and mitigation generally consist of supportive care, maintaining good hygiene, and minimizing stress.

Dental Disease

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Gum disease, tooth decay, and various oral health issues can occur in cats with poor dental hygiene. Regular brushing, dental check-ups, and providing dental treats or toys can help avert dental issues. Treatment may involve professional dental cleaning under anesthesia, extraction of diseased teeth, and antibiotics to manage infections

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

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FLUTD in cats can be caused by urethral obstruction, resulting in little or no urine production. Signs include straining in the litter box. A balanced diet, fresh water, and exercise can help prevent FLUTD. Treatment options include dietary changes, medication, and addressing underlying causes.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

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In cats with CKD, waste products and other compounds usually removed or regulated by the kidneys accumulate in the bloodstream. If left unchecked, this accumulation can result in feeling ill, appearing lethargic, being unkempt, and losing weight. Symptoms like hypertension and anemia are managed through fluid therapy, diet modifications, and medications.

Diabetes Mellitus

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Tabbys may develop diabetes due to insufficient insulin production or high blood sugar levels. By controlling portions and exercising regularly, you can prevent it. An insulin injection, dietary changes, and blood glucose monitoring may be required for treatment.

Hyperthyroidism

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It is characterized by weight loss, increased appetite, and restlessness due to an overactive thyroid gland. While the exact cause of hyperthyroidism is not fully understood, environmental factors and dietary influences may play a role. Treatment options include medication, radioactive iodine therapy, or surgical removal of the thyroid gland.

Obesity

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Just like humans, mousers can become overweight or obese, which predisposes them to various health issues such as diabetes and arthritis. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and monitoring portion sizes can help inhibit obesity. 

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

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A cat is more likely to contract an infection and other illnesses when their immune systems are weakened by the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Deep bite wounds inflicted during fights are the primary means of transmitting FIV. The best way to counter infection is to keep cats indoors as much as possible so they are not exposed to infected tabbies. 

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)

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FeLV is another viral infection that suppresses the immune system and can lead to various secondary infections and cancers. The most common way to spread FeLV is by grooming or sharing food bowls with infected felines. Prevention involves vaccinating kittens and keeping FeLV-positive cats separated from FeLV-negative cats

Parasites (Fleas, Ticks, Worms)

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Cats can be susceptible to parasites like ticks, fleas, and worms, all of which can cause discomfort and health issues. To prevent these, regularly use flea and tick control, deworm them, and avoid contaminated environments. If your cat gets infected, consult a vet and use recommended parasite control products.

Skin Allergies

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Felines can develop allergies to various environmental factors, leading to skin irritation, itching, and hair loss. Identifying and avoiding allergens can help manage skin allergies. In some cases, antihistamines, corticosteroids, or hypoallergenic diets may be prescribed.

Asthma

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The asthma symptoms in cats can include difficulty breathing, wheezing, rapid breathing, vomiting, coughing, hacking, or open-mouthed breathing. Acute respiratory crises, chronic coughing, increased respiratory effort, and elevated respiratory rate can all be signs of this ailment.

Conjunctivitis

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Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, can cause redness, discharge, and discomfort in cats. Preventing this sickness involves maintaining clean eyes and minimizing exposure to irritants. Topical antibiotics or antiviral medications may be used to treat conjunctivitis based on its underlying cause.

Ear Infections

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Bacterial or yeast infections can develop in a cat’s ears, leading to itching, discharge, and inflammation. Regular ear cleaning and minimizing moisture buildup can mitigate the chances of infection.

Pancreatitis

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A pancreatic inflammation known as pancreatitis can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea in tabbies. Providing a balanced diet and avoiding excessive fat are essential for preventing pancreatitis. Medication, fluid therapy, and dietary modifications may be used to manage symptoms.

Heartworm Disease

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Although less common in mousers than dogs, heartworm disease can still affect tabbies, leading to respiratory and cardiovascular problems. In addition to monthly heartworm preventatives, minimizing mosquito exposure is essential. 

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

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A viral disease caused by the coronavirus, FIP affects kittens and cats in multi-cat environments. It can be fatal and has limited treatment and prevention options. Usually, caregivers resort to supportive care for cats with this illness.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

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Bacterial urinary tract infections can occur in tabbies, causing symptoms like frequent urination and straining. Mitigation measures include hydration and eating a balanced diet. Antibiotics and dietary modifications may be prescribed to prevent recurrence.

Feline Acne

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Feline acne is a skin illness that causes blackheads and pimples to form, usually on the chin and lips. Regularly clean your cat’s chin area and use stainless steel food and water bowls to forestall it. If your cat develops feline acne, treatment may involve topical medications and antibacterial washes.

Degenerative Joint Disease (Arthritis)

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Arthritis can develop in aging cats, leading to stiffness, lameness, and difficulty moving. Preventive measures include providing a comfortable and supportive environment, promoting regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight. Treatment may include pain management medications, joint supplements, and physical therapy.

Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease

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Gingivitis and periodontitis are dental diseases that cause gum inflammation and tooth decay in cats. Gingivitis is reversible with early treatment, while periodontitis is more severe and causes tooth loss. Regular dental care and vet visits are vital for prevention and treatment.

Anemia

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Low red blood cell counts can also cause anemia in cats. A balanced diet filled with nutrients is paramount in preventing flea infestations and addressing underlying health issues. In severe cases, blood transfusions and supportive care may be required.

Lymphoma

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Symptoms of lymphoma include swollen lymph nodes and weight loss in cats. Keeping a healthy lifestyle and reducing exposure to toxic substances can minimize risk. Various treatment options are available, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and supportive care.

Intestinal Parasites (Giardia, Coccidia)

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Giardia and Coccidia parasites can cause gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea in pets. Regular deworming and minimizing exposure to contaminated environments are among the preventative measures. Symptoms may be managed with supportive care and deworming medications.

Feline Herpesvirus (FHV-1)

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Feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1) is a common viral infection in kitties that causes respiratory symptoms and eye issues. Maintaining good hygiene, vaccinating, and minimizing stress are essential to mitigate the risk of contracting this disease.

Ringworm

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This fungal infection causes circular lesions on the skin and hair loss. It is transmitted by coming into contact with infected animals and environments. Treating the infection with topical or systemic antifungal medications and decontaminating the environment may be necessary.

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)

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There is a genetic illness known as polycystic kidney disease (PKD), which is associated with fluid-filled cysts in the kidneys. These cysts eventually lead to kidney failure over time. Unfortunately, there are very few preventive measures for PKD. 

Toxoplasmosis

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Cats contract Toxoplasma infection by eating infected mice, birds, other small animals, or anything contaminated with the microscopic parasite shedding from another cat’s feces. The most effective way to prevent infection is to cook meat thoroughly, practice good hygiene, and minimize exposure to potentially contaminated environments.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)

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Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a frequent heart ailment in tabbies characterized by the thickening of heart muscles and impaired cardiac function. Due to the genetic nature of HCM, limited preventive measures are available. Treatment aims to manage symptoms, such as heart failure and arrhythmias, and improve patients’ quality of life.

Anorexia

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A cat’s loss of appetite, or anorexia, may indicate underlying medical problems. To thwart anorexia in kitties, provide them with a balanced diet, a stress-free environment, and immediate medical attention if any health issues arise.

Rabies

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All mammals, including cats, dogs, and humans, are susceptible to rabies, which affects their brains and spinal cords. Symptoms of rabies are generally fatal once they show up, so the very word “rabies” evokes fear in people. Luckily, there‚Äôs a vaccine that should help prevent it. Additionally, rush your pet to the vet in case of an attack from another animal to reduce chances of infection.

Hepatic Lipidosis (Fatty Liver Disease)

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When a cat does not consume food for a prolonged period, it develops hepatic lipidosis. Treatment involves providing nutritional support through tube feeding and addressing any underlying health complications contributing to the illness.

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