Approximately 42.7 million Americans are cat owners. Are you part of this group? Are you thinking about joining and adopting a furry feline of your own?
Whether you own a cat or are considering owning one, it’s important to understand the various health conditions they may develop. Read on to learn about 10 common kitty health issues your cat might experience, as well as how you should handle them.
Occasional vomiting from your cat is not a particularly serious problem. As with any pet, there will be times when your cat eats something inedible or just has a short-term bug that causes them to vomit. Frequent vomiting, though, can be a sign of a more serious health problem, such as an infection, diabetes, or having consumed something poisonous.
It’s important for your cat to drink lots of water after they’ve vomited, as vomiting can lead to dehydration. If your cat vomits on a continuous basis or is showing other symptoms, such as lethargy, you should contact the vet as soon as possible. Bringing a sample of the cat’s vomit may be helpful in diagnosing the problem.
2. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
The term Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (or FLUTD for short) refers to a group of feline diseases. Cats with FLUTD are often overweight or unfit, and they also tend to eat dry food. Some common FLUTD symptoms your cat might experience include the following:
- Straining while urinating
- Blood in the urine
- Urinating in strange places
- Crying while urinating
- Lucking the urinary area
- Lack of appetite
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should call a vet right away. This is especially true if it seems that your cat is unable to urinate.
Like dogs, cats are also susceptible to fleas. Common symptoms of fleas include the presence of flea dirt on the cat’s skin (which will resemble tiny black dots), as well as constant scratching or licking. Their skin may become red or irritated, too, and their fur might fall out.
If left untreated, cats with fleas can become anemic. If you suspect your cat has fleas, you should contact the vet as soon as you can to become treatment.
Tapeworms are one of the most common cat health problems you may have to deal with as a feline owner. Tapeworms live in your cat’s small intestine and can grow to up to two feet in length.
If your cat is dealing with a tapeworm infection, they may vomit or experience unexplained weight loss. To check for tapeworms, examine your cat’s feces, as well as the area around its anus and its bedding.
Tapeworm segments will be present in the feces or around the anus. They may also come out while the cat is sleeping. Tapeworm segments resemble tiny white worms, grains of rice, or sesame seeds.
If you notice the presence of tapeworms, your cat’s vet will recommend medication to get rid of the problem. They’ll also recommend flea treatments, as tapeworm issues almost always originate from the cat swallowing a flea.
As with vomiting, occasional diarrhea is often not a cause for concern. However, if the diarrhea is frequent, it can indicate a more serious issue.
To combat diarrhea, start by making sure your cat is well-hydrated and remove their food for 12-24 hours. If their diarrhea persists after this, you should call the vet. The same is true if they are also vomiting, or they have dark or bloody stool.
6. Vision Problems
As cats get older, they may be susceptible to certain vision problems. These include issues like conjunctivitis, cataracts, glaucoma, and corneal ulcers.
If your cat has vision problems, they may develop watery eyes, cloudiness in their eyes, or frequent squinting. They may start pawing at their eye often as well.
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do on your own to treat vision problems. You’ll need to contact your vet to find out how to proceed.
7. Upper Respiratory Infections
In kittens, upper respiratory infections can be very serious. They can even be life-threatening when the kittens are only a few weeks old.
The main sign that your cat is dealing with an upper respiratory infection is sneezing. You might also notice a yellow discharge coming from their eyes or nose, as well as difficulty breathing.
If your cat is experiencing these symptoms, especially if they’re paired with a refusal to eat, they need to see a vet as soon as possible.
8. Feline Distemper
Feline distemper is a rare but potentially lethal illness. It’s a virus that depletes the cat’s immune system and is very difficult to treat. That’s why it’s important to make sure your cat receives regular feline distemper vaccines.
Symptoms of feline distemper include vomiting, a lack of appetite, and white, mucus-containing diarrhea. If your cat is experiencing these symptoms, they’ll need to be hospitalized and isolated to avoid spreading it.
Coccidia is an intestinal parasite. It’s not a common problem, but it can develop if a kitten ingests fecal matter.
Symptoms of Coccidia include diarrhea, lack of appetite, and dehydration. Vets will examine your cat’s stool to determine if this parasite is the cause of their symptoms. If it is, the vet will prescribe medications to treat the problem.
Pancreatitis in cats is rare but can cause a myriad of unpleasant symptoms. Your cat may become lethargic, lose their appetite, vomit, or experience diarrhea. They may have trouble breathing and become jaundiced as well.
Pancreatitis can develop due to hormonal imbalances, pancreatic trauma, infections, or as a side effect of some medications.
The treatment for pancreatitis involves food and drink restrictions, as well as medication to control symptoms and allow the pancreas to heal itself. Surgery is sometimes needed as well.
Combat These Kitty Health Issues Today
As you can see, there are lots of kitty health issues your cat can develop. Don’t let this information scare you away from purchasing or adopting a cat. Instead, use it to empower you so that you know what to expect and how to care for your furry feline should any issues arise.
Do you want to learn more about taking care of a cat, or any other pet for that matter? If so, check out some of the other pet-related articles on our site today for lots of useful, actionable information.