My mom has been a cat lover ever since I can remember, and luckily, she’s never had to deal with many of the common cat health problems, but many cat owners do. Cats are well known for having many health issues. Some aren’t as severe as others, but are problems you should be aware of if you’re a kitty lover. Cats make great pets if you’re willing to put up with shedding and a litter box, but you have to be prepared to take on the issues of health and maintenance. If you’re considering purchasing a cat, or have one of your own, be aware of some common cat health problems so you can keep your kitty healthy, and be prepared for how to properly care for it.
1. Common Infections
One of the main common cat health problems that you’ll encounter is simple infections. Many of these are in their respiratory system, such as runny eyes, nose, tear stained eyes, constant sneezing, a fever, or sores on their head, or around their mouth. Most of these are because of viral issues, and there’s not much to be done about it - much like colds and flus in humans. You’ll need to take them to the vet just to be sure the issue isn’t serious or fatal, and a vet can give you a topical treatment for some of these conditions.
This disease is actually a feline form of the parvo virus that attacks dogs. The symptoms include a fever, bloody stools, loss of appetite, dehydration or general fatigue. Nothing can kill the virus, and you’ll need to be sure to take the cat to the vet immediately so they can make sure fluid levels are restored. The cat is usually monitored by a vet for at least 24 hours. Most kittens under 8 weeks have almost no chance of surviving the virus since their immune systems are especially weak and under-developed.
3. Urinary Problems
Many cats have issues with their urinary tracts, specifically in the lower urinary tract. This condition is commonly known as FLUTD, and it might not be as easy to spot as you think. If you notice your cat isn’t using the litter box like they normally would, it might be because of this issue. This condition affects the bladder, which can make urinating almost impossible, or extremely painful. Or, you might notice your cat constantly washing their genital area because of pain, or even blood. Being aware of your cat, and their symptoms is the best thing you can do to help them, and stay on top of the condition before it ends up hurting them further. Treatment needs to be sought immediately from your vet. The vet may be able to give them pain medication, antibiotics, or prevent further blockage that could lead to a cancerous condition.
This is one of the scariest, yet most common cat health problems. Cancer of the lymph system is the most common form of cancer found in cats, and affects adult cats more than it does kittens. It is most common in the form of feline leukemia, but it can also be a cancer in the intestines or in the chest chambers. Squamous cell carcinoma, is another common issue found in cats, especially in white colored cats, for some unknown reason. If you notice signs of cancer in cats such as more than one of the following symptoms, get your cat help immediately. Symptoms include: swelling, persistent skin infections that refuse healing attempts, weight loss, sudden lameness, lumps anywhere, diarrhea or vomiting, difficulty breathing,excess or difficulty in urinating or defecating, or a general sense of extreme fatigue. Luckily, cancer can be treated in cats, and options include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation, or surgery if it’s operable. You’ll need to see a vet oncologist for this issue.
5. Joint Fractures
Cats are well known to suffer joint fractures, regardless that most people think they can jump off any building and land with ease. The reason is because of cats’ joint placements. They have shorter legs that are commonly fractured in attempts to jump off extremely high areas. You might notice limping, or them refusing to move as much. If your cat shows such signs, you need to get them to a vet immediately because joint fractures can be fatal if not taken seriously.
6. Kidney Issues
Kidney disease is another very common health problem in cats. It might be caused by certain issues like high blood pressure, kidney stones, toxin exposure, or even cancer at worst. It reduces a cat’s ability to urinate and excrete toxins, which leads to a buildup in the blood stream. Eventually, kidney disease becomes the issue at hand, and it seems to be common in older cats more than younger cats. Some symptoms include decreased appetite, weight loss, vomiting or diarrhea, and lethargy, or the condition may even be asymptomatic, making it harder to spot. Treatment should be sought immediately if you notice these signs, and at worst, a transplant or dialysis might be needed.
7. Dental Disease
Another common disease found in felines is dental disease. You might notice signs like gingivitis, bad breath, odd chewing habits, difficulty eating, blood around the mouth, or changes in their gum color, which may be a sign of gum disease. If you see any signs of discoloration, redness, or swollen gums, cheeks or anywhere around the mouth cavity, be sure to get them to a vet. Drooling and constant pawing at the mouth are also issues. To prevent dental disease, you might consider getting special cat chews at the pet store, which help with this, though some cats won’t take kindly to them. Another option is a special cat toothbrush.
Everyday health issues with cats include fleas, obesity, and vomiting, which should all be addressed, but are more commonly treated than some of the above health problems. If you have a cat, have they ever had any of these health issues?