Nurturing pets in the best way is one thing that every pet owners wish to do. However, as a cat owner, you often need to deal with some common health issues. Also, if such cat health problems are frequent, it becomes a matter of worry.
Besides, aged cats and kittens have different body conditions. Their bodies react differently to various diseases. Here, in this article, we have compiled a list of most of the general cat health problems as well as health issues in aged cats and kitten. We have discussed the causes, symptoms, and treatments for each of these health conditions.
Causes of cat health problems
A bunch of reasons can be the source of health issues in cats. However, the following causes represent the leading origins of cat health problems.
Viral, bacterial, parasitic, and fungal infections are responsible for most of the feline health problems.
If your cat prefers outdoor activities, then the possibility of skin diseases increases.
Balanced diet is the key to good health in all pet animals. Fatty and junk foods reduce the strength of the body immunity system. As a result, your pet may be vulnerable to diseases.
Irregular vet consultation
Though it is not a direct cause, it may affect your cat. Sometimes, your cat can recover from illness at a primary stage if there is early detection.
There are some cat breeds, which are genetically prone to certain diseases.
Symptoms of cat health problems
Some common signs indicate physical discomforts in the feline. Moreover, some symptoms specify the possibilities of the potential risk of certain diseases.
Slight Physical tiredness is a minor issue. However, you should not overlook continuous lethargy in your cat. Also, oversleeping and less activity of your cat can be a symptom of health issues.
Skin irritation or itching
If your cat likes outdoor activities, it is normal to have skin itching once in a while. Nevertheless, excess skin irritation may be the cause of skin diseases or parasitic attacks. So, you should take care of the main reason behind it.
Vomiting or nausea is something that most cat owners take lightly. However, the continuous occurrence of these can lead to serious illnesses.
Body soreness or any type of swelling of your feline may be the part of cat health problems. Usually, it may build up from a simple wound. In that case, the soreness will heal on its own. However, if the inflammation creates pain and gets worse, it is better to talk with your vet.
Sudden unwillingness to have food is something that you should not avoid. Moreover, if your cat avoids food completely, then it may cause further illness. As a result, it will not have enough energy to move. On the other hand, overeating may lead to Obesity, which is a cause of fatty liver in cats.
Liquid discharge from pustules
Liquid discharge from any pustule in the feline body can be a health problem. Moreover, liquid release from the cat’s nose or eyes may be a symptom of URI (upper respiratory infection).
Signs of serious health issues in cats
The following points state some emergency circumstances of cat health problems. Whenever you notice any of these signs, you should take your cat to your nearest pet hospital.
- Epileptic Seizure
- Sudden trouble in breathing
- Movement inability
- High fever
- Bleeding (at the scale from medium to high)
- Giddiness or unconsciousness
- An aggressive act or shouting due to extreme pain
- Color changing of mouth
- Accident or contact with toxic materials
Common cat health problems
In this section, we will discuss some frequently occurred diseases in cats.
A lot of reasons can cause cancer. However, genetic and ecological causes are mostly responsible for feline cancer. For certain cancers, the cause is a virus attack.
- Inflammation in any part of the body
- Smelly breath
- Flaky or reddish skin coats
- Trouble in breathing
- Weight loss and food reluctance
- Behavioral change
- Difficulty in times of urination and defecation
- Loss of energy
- Unusual liquid release from skin sores and lumps or any other body parts
Diagnosis and Treatments
Some diagnostic examinations like radiographs, biopsy, blood and urine test, ultrasonography are used to identify the type and phase of feline cancers.
In most cases, doctors use chemotherapy to cure the spread of cancer. Moreover, immunotherapy and radiation therapy are also popular for cancer treatments.
However, sometimes your vet will perform surgery according to the cancer stage. Otherwise, he may suggest a combination of cancer therapies to your feline.
Professional vets suggest proper nutrition and hygiene maintenance reduce cancer possibility. Limit the outdoor activities of your cats. Because, most of the time, the skin is affected first.
Common Cancer prone breeds
Cancer can occur in all types of cat breeds. However, aged cats are more susceptible to cat health problems like cancer. Besides, white-headed cats are more prone to skin cancer.
Overeating and oversleeping are the leading causes of Obesity. However, malfunction of the thyroid gland can sometimes lead to Obesity in cats. Besides, other hormonal issues can direct to Obesity.
If the cat is obese, its weight will exceed the normal limit according to age. Also, you will feel its backbone and other boney areas, even if you do not press hard.
Additionally, the abdomen areas, hips, and waist will show folded skins.
Diagnosis and Treatments
If you suspect that your cat is overweight, your vet will measure its weight to confirm. Also, some will suggest sterilization. It is because spaying help to reduce the overall feline calorie intake by up to 30%. If there are other causes like hormonal imbalance, the veterinarian will prescribe medications to bring the normal hormone levels.
Increase the playing time of your feline. Moreover, give nutritious meals and avoid junk foods. Lastly, track its daily food routine. Obesity can be the cause of diabetes, fatty liver, and muscle pain. So, it is crucial to take the proper measure.
Common feline breeds with more obesity problem
Birman, American Shorthair, Persian, Ragamuffin, Exotic Shorthair, etc. are some of the obese feline breeds.
Most of them tend to fewer workouts and overeating. And, some of them have genetic and hormonal issues. Consequently, they become obese if cat owners do not take proper care.
Feline lower urinary tract disease
FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease) can happen due to Obesity and distress. Moreover, physical weakness and the habit of drinking less water are also responsible for this infection. Some particular causes include –
- Inflammation of the urinary tract
- Inborn deformity
- Obstruction in the urinary tract
- Bladder stone
- Backbone issues
In some exceptional cases, diabetes mellitus and thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism) can cause FLUTD.
- Trouble in urination
- Painful urination
- Biting or licking the lower urinary tract area
- Bleeding in times of urination
- Dehydration and loss of appetite
Diagnosis and Treatments
As unusual urination is one of the common feline health issues, it should be treated accordingly. As a result, your vet will carry out some urine tests, blood tests, and ultrasound for better diagnosis.
Feline lower urinary tract disease is mainly a bacterial infection so that pet doctor will prescribe antibiotics. Besides, increasing the water limit and maintaining a proper diet will also be on the treatment list.
However, if the feline condition becomes worse and affects the kidney, surgery will be necessary. Moreover, some veterinarian suggests special fluid medications sometimes.
Also, if there is a blockage in the narrow urinary tract area of male felines, the surgeon will insert the urinary catheter. It is the process of removing the obstacles and opening up the area for the smooth passing of urine.
To prevent FLUTD in cats, you can take the following measures.
- Provide plenty of clean water to your cat.
- Ensure a nutritious and routine diet.
- Follow a special diet under the vet’s guidance.
- Keep track of the litter boxes. Maintain the hygienic process.
- Increase playtime activities for a stress-free condition.
Common feline types with FLUTD
The following types of cats are susceptible to feline lower urinary tract disease.
- Cats with Obesity
- Aged cats
- Cats with a dry food habit
- Spayed cats
- Male cats with narrow urethral way
Upper respiratory infections (URIs)
Among common cat health problems, upper respiratory infection happens due to bacterial or viral attacks.
For viral infection, the Feline calicivirus is common for these infections. Moreover, Feline herpes virus is also responsible for these types of highly transmittable disease in felines. However, these viruses can affect the cats if the cats’ habitat is congested and dirty.
In addition, Chlamydia is a bacterium that causes a primary upper respiratory infection in cats. Bordetella is another type of bacterium, which is found in overloaded cat shelters.
The most common clinical symptoms for feline upper respiratory infection are-
- Unwillingness in having food
- Liquid discharge from nose
- Fast breathing
- Clogging throat
- Fever and continuous sneezing
- Ulcers inside mouth and nose
Diagnosis and Treatments
An overall examination from the pet doctor will help to diagnose the presence of upper respiratory infection in cats. Moreover, after diagnosis, your vet will decide whether your cat needs medicine for disease or other related symptoms.
The primary treatment of this disease is rather simple. Some medicines, according to the viral or bacterial symptoms, will be necessary. Also, Veterinarians suggest sufficient rest, proper nutrition, and adequate water intake.
- Firstly, limit your cat’s outdoor exposition.
- Then, maintain personal hygiene if you have several cats to handle. However, if you have only one cat, there is still the possibility of infections. So, do not ignore the cleanliness.
- Also, try to lessen the stressful conditions of your feline.
- Moreover, keep the affected cats separate from other animals.
- Lastly, visit your vet regularly and complete the vaccination on time.
Common feline types with for feline upper respiratory infection
This disease happens more in the feline breeds, which have flat faces. Because of their facial structure, they become vulnerable to oral disease and infections like URI. Consequently, Persian type breeds are mainly affected by this infection.
Cat flea, a small brownish insect, is the root cause of flea attack in the feline.
- Biting and licking the skin
- Skin irritation
- Presence of flea dirt
- The high temperature on the affected place of the skin
Diagnosis and Treatments
To ensure the flea attack in your feline, you should follow the steps –
- If you notice any movements of tick like insects, it may be a flea.
- Moreover, for big furred cats, use a flea comb to ensure their presence.
Once you make sure that your cat has fleas on his skin, continue the combing process 3 to 4 times daily. Thus, you will be able to split off the big fleas and the eggs. Also, it will put your feline in a relaxed state. However, you can use mixed detergent water to wash the comb and kill fleas.
For home treatments, flea shampoo and sprays can work well. Moreover, some products are available for spot-on flea treatments. Always consult your vet before applying any of the products. Sometimes, your vet may suggest oral medications to treat feline fleas.
- To prevent flea attacks on your pets, the first step is to create an unfavorable fleas environment. Adjust your home humidity level with the help of a humidifier. Moreover, increasing the room temperature will help to eliminate the flea larvae.
- Additionally, always keep your cathouse clean. Thoroughly wash all of your cat belongings with hot water and detergents. Besides, you should accurately throw the vacuum bags. Thus, flea eggs will not get the chance to produce fleas inside it.
- Consult an expert team for flea killing. Thus, you can be assured about both inside and outside of your house.
Common feline types with fleas
Fleas love the furry host to hide and attack for a long time. Thus, Persian, Maine Coon, Exotic Shorthair, and other cat breeds with furry coats are more flea prone cats.
Rabies virus causes rabies disease in cats and other mammals. This viral disease infects the brain of the animals. In some cases, there can be spinal cord damage. Moreover, if your cat remains in the contact of rabies-infected animals, there is a high risk of infection.
The symptoms of rabies infection sometimes may not show for a couple of months. However, the symptoms include –
- Food disinclination
- Aggressive or changed behavior
- Numbness in limbs
- Convulsive attack (Seizures)
- Unexpected death
Diagnosis and Treatments
There is no way to diagnose rabies disease in animals. However, the vets can perform a fluorescent antibody test after the death of a feline.
And, sadly, there is no special treatment for rabies. Moreover, the rate of fatality is extreme. In addition, it can affect humans too. So, if you suspect rabies disease in your cat, handle the necessary activities with masks and hand gloves.
However, contacting your vet and your area animal welfare organization will be the best thing to do. You should not try to treat such cat health problems at home.
The disease is highly transmittable. Besides, rabies is not curable. That is, why, the only way is prevention. In some countries, vaccination for rabies is mandatory. However, you should do this vaccination properly, whether it is compulsory or not.
On top, even after giving a rabies vaccine, rabid mammals can again attack your cat. In that situation, you should provide a booster dose of the vaccine.
Common feline types with rabies
Wild cats are more prone to the rabies virus. Thus, they act as a rabies virus carrier for indoor pets.
Here is one of the common cat health problems, disease of eyes. However, cat eye problems can occur due to –
- Ulcer in eye cornea
- Viral or bacterial infections
- Weak condition of the retina
- Genetic problems
If your feline shows the following symptoms, then he has eye problems.
- Frequent teary eyes
- Extreme eye blinking
- Yellowish thick or thin eye discharge
- Light intolerance
- Presence of the third eyelid
- Lack of clearness in eyes
- Sore and painful eyelids
- Itchy feelings in eyes
- Excessive scratching in eye areas
- Reddish eyes
- Dirt development at the eye corners
Diagnosis and Treatments
Whenever you observe abnormality with your feline’s eyes, immediately visit your pet doctor. Then, your vet will run several eye tests to specify accurate eye disorder. Nevertheless, cat eye treatment depends on the underlying reasons for illness. Therefore, the related eye problem treatments are given below.
- Natural or home remedy
- Eye drops
- Eye- spray
- Surgical procedures
Proper arrangement of cat-eye care prevents further injuries in the feline’s eyes. Moreover, regular concern decreases the probability of eye disease in your cat.
Furthermore, the diet should contain the essential nutrients that are good for the feline eyesight.
Common feline types with eye problems
Feline food allergy may not be as serious as other cat health problems. However, food sensitivity in cats can happen due to some allergic reactions. Nevertheless, these intolerances may vary in different cats.
If your cat has a food allergy, here are some symptoms that he may show after eating a meal.
- Skin rash
- Nausea or vomiting
- Hair fall
Diagnosis and Treatments
The diagnosis of food sensitivity includes an effective food test. There are some usual types of cat food trials.
- Hydrolyzed-protein based food test – For this test, the protein elements are crushed totally. And, that is to the point to be not identified by the feline stomach and immunity system.
- New protein-based diet – The food provider will not repeat the protein items in the cat’s meal for a certain period.
- Homemade protein-based diet – This diet is the combination of home-cooked and new protein diet.
These trials take almost six to eight weeks to complete. However, it is better to ask your veterinarian about the best-suited diet.
Food sensitivity treatments depend on the symptoms due to intolerance. To clarify, if your cat has severe vomiting and diarrhea, transfer it to the pet hospital. Your vet will stop these symptoms with medications. Conversely, for skin inflammation, vets may prescribe oral pills or ointments as allergic symptom reducers.
However, it is your work to identify the foods, which create intolerance to your cat.
It is necessary to avoid sensitive food. Otherwise, that particular food intolerance will make the feline’s physical condition worse. Normally, most cats are allergic to certain types of meat, fish, or dairy foods. So, you should be careful about giving these foods.
Common food sensitivity prone breeds
Generally, no specific breeds are more allergic to foods. It depends on the physical and environmental conditions of animals. Besides, both male and female cats can get food sensitivity at any time.
Senior cat health problems
Here we have discussed some of the cat health issues that are mostly seen in senior cats. Typically, due to overage and lack of immunity, some chronic diseases may happen to your cat.
Chronic kidney disease or renal failure
Renal failure is a frequently occurred disease and may become fatal compared to other senior cat health problems. Animal kidneys work as the primary filter structure for the removal of waste materials. However, through urination, kidneys remove these waste products. But, kidney functions hamper when they get weak due to aging. The symptoms of renal failure include the urge to drinking water, frequent urination, loss of appetite, and nausea, or vomiting.
Hyperthyroidism is also a common health problem in cats, especially older cats. However, if the production of the thyroid hormone in the thyroid gland overloads, hyperthyroidism occurs. The most common symptoms of this disease are diarrhea, drastic weight loss despite overeating, vomiting, and increased urination.
Another common health issue in senior cats is Arthritis. Because of aging, your feline suffers from bone joint pains and weakness. However, this happens when the decay of bones increases gradually over time. If your cat has Arthritis, then that will lessen his daily activity speeds. Moreover, he will sleep most of the time and often complain about joint pains.
A weak heart condition in senior cats is quite normal. However, tiredness, asthma, cough, weight loss, and weakness in limbs indicate the feline heart problem. So, if you ever notice these symptoms at a time in your senior cat, consult your veterinarian. Your vet may perform an electrocardiogram or echocardiogram to confirm the heart problem.
From various types of oral disease, many complications may occur in aged cats. However, swollen gums, bleeding from teeth, and smelly breath are common in them. Besides, difficulty in eating, sore throat, loose teeth, etc. can happen because of aging. Nevertheless, early diagnosis can treat oral disease and infections successfully.
Type 2 diabetes is a frequently occurred disease in senior cats. It is a condition when the animal body suffers from the incapability of applying insulin properly. However, the risk of type 2 diabetes is more in obese cats. Nonetheless, weight loss, weakness, increased urination, and dull skin is common symptoms. And, for treatment, your vet may suggest medications to control the insulin level.
Hypertension is a serious health issue in aged cats. Besides, this disease has an association with other common cat health problems. To clarify, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, heart disease, etc. are interconnected with hypertension. Slow or irregular heart sound and weak vision are the main signs of hypertension in cats.
In most health problems in senior cats, your pet doctor may suggest some medications and changed diet plans.
Kitten health problems
Cat health problems, especially kitten health issues, are not serious most of the time. However, their immune system is fragile. Therefore, you need to make some effort to solve their health issues.
Intestinal worms’ infection
Normally, hookworms, roundworms make ways to the cat’s intestine and cause intestinal worms’ infection. Also, whipworms cause illness in kittens. Because of intestinal worms’ infection, they lose weight and suffer from severe diarrhea. Thus, it hampers their growth. From the age of eight weeks, you should consult your vet to deworm them.
This illness is somewhat an uncommon disease. Coccidia happens if your kitten suddenly swallows poop. However, there is no vaccine for it, so be careful when your kitten has diarrhea. Moreover, dehydration and losing the interest of food are other signs of it. Veterinarians normally test the stool to check the existence of coccidia.
Conjunctivitis is a contagious infection, which frequently occurs in kittens. It happens when the eyeball covering membrane becomes infected. Your kitten’s eyelids may be affected too. The color of your cat’s eye changes into pink. Mostly, you will see sore eyes with transparent liquid discharge. However, veterinarians suggest eye-drops for primary stage infections. For severe soreness, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics, relevant antibacterial solution, and some home remedies.
Fading Kitten Syndrome
Fading Kitten Syndrome or FKS is one of the most vulnerable diseases in kittens. It is a collection of some physical illness signs in neonatal cats. However, this disease transmits from a mother cat to their kittens. Moreover, the symptoms occur immediately after birth. Sometimes it takes around 6-8 weeks to show. The most common symptoms are severe exhaustion, muscle squeezing, dehydration, food reluctance, and difficulty in breathing.
Feline Cerebellar Hypoplasia
Feline Cerebellar Hypoplasia is a neurological cat health problem. FCH happens right after one or two weeks of the birth of the kitten. Moreover, Feline Cerebellar Hypoplasia can occur at some stage in the conception period. This disease reduces the ability of movement typically. Besides, it affects the neurological control in kittens.
Feline Leukemia Virus
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is tremendously transmittable. Moreover, it can spread through usual skin contacts and from mother to kitten. Generally, this disease affects the normal immune system of kittens. Consequently, it increases the possibility of death from other diseases in kittens. However, vaccination can prevent the Feline Leukemia Virus.
Almost all cat breeds suffer from one or more major health problems throughout their lives. However, several health issues occur in certain breeds of cats only. Moreover, there are a few differences in the disease occurrence methodology in young and older cats. Besides these, we cannot ignore the possibility of a rare illness in cats. In conclusion, regular health check-ups, veterinarian advice, owners’ supervision, and vaccination can suppress cats’ common health issues.