On the whole, cats tend to be very robust when it comes to good health. In fact, felines require half as many trips to the vets as their canine counterparts. But there are some common cat illnesses that pet owners need to be aware of. Knowing the symptoms means that action can be taken at an early stage.
Feline diabetes is on the rise, and the condition is not unlike the human version. It can be caused either by insulin resistance or by the pancreas secreting insufficient insulin. The symptoms are very similar to other common cat illnesses. They include increased thirst, weight loss, vomiting and bad breath. A vet will need to run tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Although many pet owners are concerned about the possibility of regular insulin injections, as well as the associated costs, very few diabetic cats will require this type of treatment. Most instances of feline diabetes are relatively mild and can be controlled through diet alone.
Chronic Kidney Failure
Chronic renal failure (CRF) is one of the most common cat illnesses, but tends to be confined to senior pets. The reason for CRF being so prevalent in felines is their high meat and protein diet. Because of this, the condition tends to be permanent and irreversible. However, early intervention and proper treatment can make your pet more comfortable and insure that they have many years of life ahead of them.
The main symptoms of chronic kidney failure include excessive thirst, noticeable weight loss, poor coat condition and regular vomiting. An indoor cat may also urinate outside their litter tray. These symptoms can be controlled with a prescription diet and medication.
Cat Flu (Upper Respiratory Disease)
If your cat is sneezing, has a loss of appetite and has nasal or eye discharge, they may have cat flu. There are several common pathogens which can cause it, which includes feline reovirus, feline herpes virus and Bordetella Bronchiseptica. Therefore “cat flu” refers to a set of symptoms, rather than a specific illness.
In the majority of cases, no specific treatment is needed. The cat should be kept comfortable and should have access to clean water. Sometimes, if the cat is very ill, they will need antibiotics to prevent the development of a serious secondary infection.
Some cats have a genetic predisposition to bouts of feline cystitis, although all cats are at risk of an occurrence at some point in their life. It is easier to spot in pets who are kept indoors, as the main signs are frequent urination, blood in the litter box, distressed crying while urinating (which can indicate straining), or urinating in unexpected places. Consider feline cystitis in your outdoor cat if you notice excessive genital licking, and take them to a vet for a check up.
Mild cases can be easily treated by offering the cat more water and making changes to the diet. Moderate to severe cystitis may need antibiotics, and the can should be checked for urolithiasis.
Many cat illnesses are benign and will pass without the attention of a medical professional. However, others can be serious or long term and require ongoing treatment. Consider pet insurance to cover any possible medical bills.