Here are the Top 10 Common Cat Diseases that are most likely to affect you and your cat. Please note that I am not a veterinarian and professional advice should always be sought after in serious situations. This list is intended as an awareness tool and hopefully has some good tips on how to keep your cat happy and healthy!
1 Kidney Disease
Kidney disease (or kidney failure) is the most common disease in cats. Unfortunately there is no real way to prevent kidney disease and often the symptoms only show when the disease has greatly developed. Symptoms include vomiting, weight loss, bad breath, lethargy, increased urination and back pain. There is medicine available for cats that have kidney disease can ease the symptoms and often a change in diet will also help.
2 Upper Respiratory Infection (a cold)
Just like humans, cats can contract colds too. Upper Respiratory Infection can be treated like other illnesses with prescription medication. It does become more complicated with older cats and FIV positive cats because their immune system is not a strong and could require further treatment.
3 Gum disease/Dental disease
Gingivitis, or gum inflammation, is a very common feline dental disease. It is caused by plaque accumulating around the gum line. Unlike some of the other diseases on this list, this disease is very preventable. Good dental hygiene by regularly bruising your cats teeth is the best way to prevent gum disease. It is best to start brushing your cats teeth as a kitten so they are used to the routine once they reach adult hood. Some older cats may not take as kindly to having their teeth brushed. If your cat is diagnosed with gingivitis, the vet will give your cats teeth a professional clean and the cat may need to go on some medicine. The most common symptoms of gingivitis is bad breath and very yellow teeth. Just remember, prevention is easier than cure so keep your cats teeth clean.
4 Broken bones/Sprains
Injuries are far more common with outdoor cats than indoor cats. They can be difficult to identify so it is important to pay attention to your cat’s behavior such as loss of appetite, swelling, and limping. Once you have identified that something is wrong, try to get your cat to a vet as soon as possible so they can see how serious the injury is. Some broken bones may require surgery, or even amputation.
5 Heart worms and tape worms
Heartworms and tape worms are often transmitted via insects that carry the worm eggs. They hatch inside your cats body and feed off their feline host. Early diagnosis is critical as worms, especially heart worms, can be very deadly for cats. The best way to protect your cat from heartworms is by de-worming your cat with a monthly preventative like tablets or gel. Ask your vet what ways they recommend to help prevent your cat from getting worms.
6 Fleas and Ticks
Fleas are a thing that almost every cat will at some point have a problem with. They look like little black dots in your cats fur and generally can cause your cat to itch obsessively. Once fleas become a problem they can be very hard to get rid of, often requiring a full house clean, washing all blankets and such to make sure that you kill not just the ones on your cat, but the ones living in your house as well. Ticks are the more dangerous of the two since some ticks can be very poisonous and can paralyze your cat and possibly lead to death. Prevention is better than cure so regularly check your cat for fleas, especially if they are an outside cat, and give them flea and tick preventatives.
Arthritis is practically inevitable as cats get older. It generally shows as the cat becomes less mobile and slower when they walk and get up. While there is no cure for arthritis, their pain can be eased through medication proscribed by your vet and other medicines like pet acupuncture.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (or FIV) is similar to the human version, HIV, in the way that it lowers the immune response of cats. It can be hard to diagnose since the disease can remain dormant for years. Symptoms of an FIV positive cat include; dental disease, Discharge from nose and eyes, hair loss, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, and wounds that won’t heal. There is currently no cure for felines diagnosed with FIV but there is medication that will help them live a relatively normal and healthy life.
9 Obesity and diabetes
Obesity is another very preventable disease found in cats. It can also lead to diabetes which like human diabetes becomes an ongoing medical cost with insulin injections. Obesity can also cause other health problems like heart disease and kidney disease. It is important to not over feed your cat and to property exercise them where possible. Play time is a great way to give your cat some mental and physical exercise and portion control will also help prevent your cat reaching unhealthy weights. You could also walk your cat if play time isn’t enough.
Cancer is more likely to happen in older cats and has become one of the leading causes of deaths in that age group. Treatment is usually through surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation but like human cancer, is not guaranteed to be successful. There is no sure fire way to prevent cancer, but giving your cat a healthy lifestyle will at least lessen the potential and a healthy cat will often have a better chance at surviving.
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