The most common cat health problems can cause much pain and discomfort that will affect the disposition of your pet. Some could even be fatal if not given proper and immediate treatment. You might be doing your best giving your cat the care it deserves, but cats fall ill for a variety of reasons. As a cat owner, you should also always be on the lookout for signs of health problems. Older cats are especially susceptible to the diseases including kidney, respiratory, and dental diseases, as well as conditions that come with age such as hearing loss, failing vision, and arthritis.
Signs of Cat Health Problems:
If there’s even a slight change with the way your cat behaves, there might be something that’s ailing your feline companion. If you suspect that your cat might be ill, observe him carefully and be prepared for an emergency visit to the vet if necessary. The following signs will tell you if your cat has a health problem:
Lethargy. Is your cat sleeping or lying around more than usual or not as energetic? Dr. Carolyn Quagliata of City Pet Doctor explains that lethargy is when your cat seems more tired than he usually is. It may indicate that the cat is sick and you should take it to the vet immediately.
Decreased Appetite/Weight Loss. If your cat starts to skip meals or is unable to finish his food, this could indicate digestive or liver problems. Likewise, increased appetite could also be something to worry about, especially in older cats.
Increased Water Consumption. If your cat is drinking water more than usual, this may be a sign of diseases like diabetes, kidney disease, or hyperthyroidism.
Changes in Urinary Habits. Changes in frequency or quantity of urine could be a sign of problems in the urinary tract or kidney. If your cat is having trouble urinating, or if you notice blood in his urine, bring him to the vet immediately.
Excess Sneezing / Runny Nose. Your cat may be suffering from a respiratory problem if it keeps on sneezing or has a runny nose.
Eye/ Ear/ Nose Discharge. If you notice any abnormal discharge from your cat’s eyes, nose, or ears, it’s best to consult a vet immediately. This may be caused by viral, bacterial, or a fungal infection.
Hair Loss/ Skin Irritation. Skin conditions, allergies, and parasites are also common to cats and is usually indicated by hair loss and itchiness.
Change in Behavior. Personality changes is not uncommon, especially among older cats. Health problems could have been the reason why a normally friendly cat would show signs of fear, aggression, disorientation, or confusion.
The Spruce Pets list more signs of cat health problems to watch out for including compulsive grooming, increased vocalization, limping, swelling, and breathing problems.
Common Cat Health Problems
1. Urinary Tract Disease
Known as feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), cats suffering from this condition may show the strain when urinating or have blood in their urine. The bladder and urethra are the affected organs. Cats diagnosed with FLUTD will be prescribed medication for pain relief and might require procedures for removing blockage in the urinary tract.
2. Infectious Diseases
Infectious diseases involving the respiratory system are among the most common cat health problems. Aside from a runny nose, drippy eyes, and frequent sneezing, signs may also include fever and coughing. Infectious diseases may also be caused by viruses that make the disease contagious. Not unlike flu in human beings, respiratory diseases may be allowed to run its course. You may want to isolate your cat and keep it hydrated if it’s shown signs of being infected.
3. Vomiting and Diarrhea
Diarrhea is a fairly common health problem for cats, which are usually very sensitive about food they ingest. If you notice your cat vomiting, it’s possible he has ingested food that has gone bad, plants with rough edges, or if it ate too much. If the diarrhea persists after 24-48 hours, it’s recommended that you take your cat to the vet. There might be a danger of dehydration. If the diarrhea doesn't stop, it could indicate more serious cat health problems that need immediate attention.
4. Kidney Disease
Kidney problems are also common, especially among older cats. Infections, exposure to toxins, cancers, and high blood pressure are among the common causes of kidney disease, as listed by Easyology Pets. Vomiting and loss of appetite are a few indications that your cat is suffering from kidney disease. If the vet determines that your cat has a kidney problem, dialysis or kidney transplant are common treatment procedures that may be initiated.
5. Fleas and Ticks
Fleas and ticks are parasites that your cat can pick up from the surroundings. They feed off on blood and can transmit diseases to both animals and humans. Inspect your cat’s fur regularly for signs ticks or fleas. If they are present, you can apply specialized shampoos, powders, collars, and and available treatments to deal with the problem. If none of these works, your vet would know how to get rid of your cat’s flea/tick problem.
Most cats love to eat or play with birds, rodents, and every insect in sight, exposing them to worms. They can get infected by worms even just by walking on contaminated ground. Worm types such as roundworms and tapeworms can be dangerous as they infest the intestines, the bloodstream, and internal organs. Watch out for weight loss in cats as this could indicate the presence of worms.
7. Dental Disease
Believe it or not, cats are also highly susceptible to dental problems. Bad breath, discolored/swollen gums, missing teeth, excessive drooling, and difficulty chewing are some indications that your cat needs to have its teeth checked. Most dental diseases can be avoided by regular brushing using toothpaste designed for cats. A cat showing symptoms of a dental disease should be taken to the vet to avoid complications such as loss of teeth, difficulty eating, and internal infections.
Regular vet checkups would surely help prevent any these cat health problems. Senior cats need extra special attention and routine lab work for early detection of any disease. Of course, a healthy diet and a clean, safe environment are always important to raising a healthy cat. If you notice any of the signs of cat health problems, visit the vet immediately for care and treatment. Also, here are some essential cat care tips ideas.