The most common cat illnesses
Every cat owner knows that cats are masters of hiding. Their stealthy nature makes them hide their scent; that is why they bury their poop. And most of the times they spend their time hiding in the weirdest places. So it’s natural for them to do the same thing when they are in pain. It’s true, they’re so difficult to read sometimes... But there are some signs showing you that your cat is not feeling well. And we’ll get to the signs a little later. For now, let’s take a look at the most common cat illnesses.
It is often neglected by many cat owners. This happens because they live in denial and they believe that their baby is a little chubby. You can almost hear them saying: “Well, my cat is in shape. Round is a shape, right?” But obesity is a very serious condition. And it is actually the main cause for a dangerous metabolic disease - diabetes. It can also cause joint problems and arthritis. So take a good look at your pet. Is her layer of fat a little too prepared for the cold weather? Is she in “shape”? If this is your case, it’s time to consult with your vet and decide on smaller ratios or more physical activity; or both.
Cats wash often because they like to feel clean. And if they could brush their teeth, they would do it after every meal. Not only will they brush their teeth, but they would floss too! Still, this is our job. And unfortunately, poor hygiene is the main cause for most dental diseases. She can develop gingivitis, plaque, all kinds of inflammations and redness on her gums. The bad news is that there are no obvious symptoms for their dental issues. You need to check her mouth and breath from time to time. The good news is that you can avoid most of these conditions by brushing her teeth. You can also feed her dry kibbles that will scratch off any residue from those pearly whites.
Kidney failure may occur after some blockages or infections. So you need to pay close attention when she’s recovering from other serious health issues. The most common symptoms are loss of appetite and drinking lots of water. She may also urinate often, or sometimes not at all. If this happens, take her to your vet for a thorough examination and an accurate diagnosis. In case of a kidney disease, her breath may also smell like ammonia and her coat could have a rough appearance.
If you take a deep look into your cat's eyes, you could notice excessive tearing or some weird discharge. You could also notice eye redness or swelling. It could be a simple inflammation. But it could also be conjunctivitis caused by infections or even cataracts. Your vet will do some tests and determine what the exact problem is.
We already talked about the link between diabetes and overweight cats. You can prevent obesity by ensuring your cat has a balanced diet and plenty of room to run around and exercise. In case of developing diabetes, your cat will experience appetite fluctuations. She’ll either eat a lot of food or completely lose her appetite. Another diabetes symptom is rapid weight loss and excessive thirst.
Yup, believe it or not, cats develop thyroid diseases. Rapid weight loss or an over-active cat could translate in an unbalanced thyroid. If you notice these changes you should definitely consult with your vet.
These are only some of the most common cats’ illnesses. We decided to draw the line here, before panicking you with other symptoms and diseases. There are of course fleas and parasites, but we wanted to cover some much more serious illnesses here.
The signs you should look for:
- Food intake – her appetite may increase or decrease - or fluctuate - over a longer period of time.
- Breath – check her breath from time to time and note any odor changes. Also, examine to see if she’s drooling or appears to have respiratory difficulties. Furthermore, excessive coughing or sneezing are symptoms to consider.
- Litter box behavior – Look for weird coloration in her urine. We won't even mention bloody urine, which is a very serious issue. Diarrhea or worms in her feces are also alarming signs. Go to your vet and don't wait for things to get worse.
- Weight variations – It's not alright for your cat to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time. Also, it's not alright if she’s vomiting or if you notice stomach bloating. If this happens, you better take her to the vet as soon as possible.
- Grooming – she’s a cleaning freak and doesn’t like feeling dirty - nothing new in here. But if she stops grooming, there must be a serious reason behind this behavior change. So don’t take it for granted. Check the appearance of her coat and skin; any unusual hair loss or a skin that is too dry should make you wonder.
- Voice – you should already know how her normal voice sounds. Pay attention if any abnormal meows or changes in her usual repertoire occur.
- Sleeping cycle – well, it’s not an exact schedule. There are small variations in their sleeping behavior. Especially in the night, when the only scheduled things are loud meows and full speed house tours. But cats usually follow a certain sleeping pattern. If there’s any significant change in her sleeping habits, take note of it.
- Behavior and activity – any behavior and activity changes are possible symptoms. For example, she could become anti-social, hyperactive or she could experience lethargy.
You should pay closer attention to these changes if you have an elderly cat. They're much more sensitive than the young ones. Talk to your vet about any abnormality that crosses your mind. Cat related abnormality, that is! The best way to prevent an issue is by eliminating it firsthand. Also, it's good to get it out of your system, even if it’s not a real threat to your pet’s health. Dare to be that crazy cat lady that talked to the vet about every single symptom. It’s better to do so than to find out that your cat has been dealing with a chronic disease that you didn’t know about.
Trying to describe a weird coloration in her urine or an eye discharge that you already wiped out can be tricky. But you know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So take your phone and photograph that poop!
It does seem like a lot of work to check your cat for all the symptoms, doesn't it? But it’s not. It takes a little time to get used to it, that’s all. It will become an automatic cat scan in no time. And you’ll develop an eye for seeing even the slightest change.