Common Cat Illnesses
As a cat parent, here are illnesses you need to be aware of. Be prepared to visit your veterinarian if necessary, especially since cats tend to instinctively isolate when sick. Three of the most common illnesses afflicting pet cats in the United States are upper respiratory infections, diabetes, and cancer.
What are upper respiratory infections?
Your cat's upper respiratory tract—their throat, nose and sinuses—can become infected with viruses and bacteria. Often passed around in multi-cat households and shelters, cats may contract feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus through something as basic as sharing a food or water bowl.
They can transmit this virus to other cats the same way, or by sneezing or coughing. It can also be passed during grooming.
- Gagging, drooling
- Runny nose or clear/colored nasal discharge
- Decreased or lost appetite
Is cat diabetes like people diabetes?
If a cat doesn't produce sufficient insulin to balance blood sugar or glucose levels, they develop diabetes mellitus. Left untreated, it may lead to several serious symptoms, such as:
- Increased urination
- Increased appetite (as the body cannot use the energy in food) or loss of appetite
- Motor function problems
If diabetes is poorly controlled, the disease can shorten a cat's lifespan and lead to numerous health problems such as nerve disorders. It may also result in severe emergency situations. Treatment can include insulin injections and will be focused on managing this condition.
Is cat cancer the same as people cancer?
Uncontrolled growth of cells can cause cancer, which can affect a wide range of organs and cells in a cat's body. The disease first starts to develop within a cell, before it attaches to tissue below the skin and potentially spreading to other areas.
A common contributor to cancer is Feline Leukemia Virus, which cats can be diagnosed against. Other causes include environmental toxins. If caught early during a physical exam, your vet may be able to treat cancer.
- Lumps or bumps that change in size or shape
- Sores that do not heal
- The odor from the mouth
- Unexplained bleeding or discharge
- Marked increase or decrease in appetite
- Chronic weight loss
- Difficulty urinating or defecating
Depending on whether the tumor is caught and diagnosed early enough, the type of cancer and its extent, specific location within the body, etc., whether an effective treatment plan can be developed, and other factors, a number of treatments such as radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy may be attempted.
What To Do If Your Cat Is Sick
If your cat is sick and exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, it's critical to bring them to the vet as soon as possible. At American Veterinary Hospital, we have an in-house laboratory, onsite pharmacy, and emergency clinic to provide your pet the care they need (help for after-hours emergencies is also available).