7 Most Common Cat Health Problems

Cats are known as creatures of habit, a change in their routine is not a good indication and usually indicates any health or stress issue. These issues are not easy to handle. Even if we see these indications despite our hectic lives, they can be challenging to interpret.

As a cat parent, it’s critical to identify the signs and symptoms of most common ailments so you can seek medical assistance for your feline companion as soon as possible.

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1.     Diabetes

It is a complex disease in cats caused by a lack of insulin or insufficient insulin response. Following a meal, a cat’s digestive system breaks down the food into various components, including glucose, which is carried into her cells by insulin. Blood sugar levels in cats rise when they don’t create enough insulin or properly use it; as a result, hyperglycemia occurs, which can cause a cat’s health to deteriorate if left untreated.

Diabetes is a treatable disease, and many diabetic cats can live happy healthy lives. Some patients may even experience remission.

Types of diabetes include:

  • Type I diabetes (lack of insulin production).
  • Type II diabetes (impaired insulin production along with an inadequate response to the hormone).

Type II diabetes in cats can lead to type I diabetes. Most cats with diabetes are identified as having type I diabetes by the time they are diagnosed. Insulin therapy is necessary for these cats to live. Other treatments for cats with type II diabetes may be effective.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Felines

The signs of a diabetic cat are as follows:

  • Appetite changes (either increased or decreased)
  • Loss of body weight
  • Increased water consumption due to increased thirst
  • Urination increases
  • Urinating in non-litter-boxed areas
  • Breath with a delightful odor
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Hair that isn’t tidied up
  • Infection of the urethra

Several factors can cause diabetes

Diabetes has no known cause. The causes of this disorder include genetics, pancreatic disease, certain medications, and abnormal protein deposits in the pancreas.

Obesity, gender (male cats are more commonly affected than female cats), and age appear to be the most critical factors in diabetes development.

Diabetes Detection

Your veterinarian will gather information about clinical signs, conduct a physical examination, and run blood tests and urinalysis to properly diagnose diabetes.

Diabetes Treatment

  • Each diabetic cat is unique and will react to treatment differently. Diabetes treatment is determined by the severity of the disease’s symptoms and the presence of any other health problems that may complicate treatment.
  • When a cat is first diagnosed, it may be seriously ill and require several days of intensive hospitalization to get its blood sugar levels under control.
  • Feline companions who are more stable when first diagnosed may benefit from oral medication or a high-fiber diet.
  • Insulin injections are required for the proper control of blood glucose in the majority of cats. You will be shown how to give your pet his insulin injections at home once his insulin treatment is determined, usually based on weight.
  • Your veterinarian may also demonstrate how to conduct home glucose tests. Other tests, such as blood tests, may be required.

As your veterinarian will explain, it’s critical to give your cat insulin at the same time every day and to feed her regular meals along with her medication, as this allows increased nutrients in the blood to coincide with peak insulin levels. Her sugar levels will be less likely to swing too high or too low due to this. You can create a feeding schedule around your pet’s medication time with the help of your veterinarian. It’s also crucial to keep high-glucose treats away from your diabetic cat.

Prevention of Diabetes

Diabetes in cats can be avoided with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Obesity is known to put into insulin resistance in addition to other adverse effects.

If You Think Your Cat Might Have Diabetes, Here’s What You Should Do.

Make an appointment with your veterinarian right away if your cat exhibits any of those mentioned above abnormal clinical signs. Diabetic cats can develop kidney disease, neurological disorders, and other metabolic diseases if they aren’t treated. Insulin therapy is necessary for cats with type I diabetes to live.

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2.     Cancer

Cancer is a group of diseases/ailments in which cells grow out of control, invading surrounding tissue and potentially spreading to other parts of the body. Cats, like humans, are susceptible to various cancers. A disease can be localized (confined to a single area, such as a tumor) or generalized (affecting multiple sites at once) (spread throughout the body).

Cancer’s Roots

Cancer is a “multifactorial” disease, meaning that no single cause has been identified. We do know, however, that both hereditary and environmental factors can cause cancer in cats.

Main types of cancer in felines:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the eyelid, ear, or nose is a type of skin cancer that develops due to prolonged sun exposure. Squamous cell carcinoma is more frequent in cats who are white or light-colored.
  • Lymphosarcoma (also known as lymphoma) is one of the most common cancers in cats. According to some sources, LSA is responsible for 30% of all reported cat cancers. Except for the gastrointestinal (GI) form, the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is linked to most conditions of LSA. FeLV is a retrovirus that can be transmitted in utero, via saliva, and through direct contact. Because the virus doesn’t always show symptoms in younger cats, it’s critical to have your cat regularly tested to prevent transmission and progression. FeLV vaccine is available, which your veterinarian can discuss with you depending on your cat’s lifestyle and risk of FeLV exposure.

Symptoms of Cancer:

The following are some of the signs of cancer in cats:

  • Bumpy terrain (which are not always malignant but are always worth having a veterinarian examine)
  • Swelling
  • Skin infections or sores that don’t go away
  • Discharges from any part of the body that are abnormal
  • Badmouth odors
  • Lethargy, listlessness, or other noticeable behavioral changes
  • Loss of body weight
  • Lameness that occurs unexpectedly
  • Vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Skin that is scaly and/or red.
  • Appetite reduction or loss
  • Breathing, urinating, and defecating are difficult.
  • A shift in mindset

Cancer in Cats: How to Spot It

  • If a lump is found, the first step is usually a needle biopsy, removing a small tissue sample for microscopic cell examination. Alternatively, surgery to remove all or part of the lump for pathological examination may be performed.
  • Radiographs, ultrasounds, blood tests, and other diagnostic tests can help determine whether cancer is present or has spread.

Cancer Risk Increases in Cats

  • Cancer can affect cats of all ages and breeds, but it is far more common in the elderly.
  • Certain breeds are more susceptible to certain cancers, but skin cancer is especially prevalent in cats with white ears and heads.

Inquire with your veterinarian if your cat fits into any of the at-risk groups.

Preventing cancer

  • Keeping your cat indoors will shield her from certain skin cancers caused by sunburn.
  • Cats are susceptible to breast cancer, but it can be avoided if your cat is spayed before her first heat cycle.

Treatment for Cancer

  • Treatment options differ by cancer type and stage.
  • Surgical, chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy, combined with these treatments, are common treatments. Treatment success is determined by cancer’s type and extent, as well as the therapy’s aggressiveness. Detection as soon as possible is, of course, preferable.
  • Some cat owners choose not to have their cancer treated, in which case palliative care, including pain management, should be considered. It is critical to assess your pet’s quality of life when making future decisions, regardless of how you proceed following a cancer diagnosis.
  • Some cancers are curable, and nearly all patients can benefit from treatment in some way. Please remember that even though your cat’s cancer is incurable, there are still many things you can do to improve their quality of life. Don’t be afraid to discuss your alternatives with your veterinarian. Also, keep in mind that proper nourishment and loving care can significantly improve your cat’s quality of life.

When to Consult Your Veterinarian

If your cat exhibits any of the clinical indications listed above, contact your veterinarian right once. If your cat is diagnosed with cancer, you should seek the advice of a veterinary oncologist, who specialist veterinary offices and teaching institutions frequently employ.

3.      Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

The next common disease in cats is Feline immunodeficiency syndrome caused by the Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). The infected cats may not develop symptoms for years after the first infection. Although the virus is slow-acting, once the sickness has taken root, a cat’s immune system is severely compromised. As a result, the cat is vulnerable to a variety of secondary infections. Infected cats who are given supportive medical care and are housed in a stress-free, indoor environment might have relatively pleasant lives for months or years before the disease progresses to its chronic stages.

For years, an FIV-infected cat may not display any signs. However, if symptoms appear, they may last for years, or a cat may exhibit signs of illness interspersed with periods of good health.

Please have your cat examined by the veterinarian if any of the following symptoms appear:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Loss of weight
  • Anemia
  • A rough coat
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Eye inflammation or abnormal appearance (conjunctivitis)
  • Gingivitis (gum inflammation) (gingivitis)
  • Mouth inflammation
  • Periodontal issues
  • Hair loss or redness of the skin
  • Infected wounds that do not heal
  • Sneezing
  • Excessive discharge from the eyes or nose
  • Urination problems such as frequent urination, straining to urinate, or urinating outside of the litter box
  • A shift in behavior

Transmission of the FIV virus

  • FIV is mainly transmitted from cat to cat through severe bite wounds, which are common outside during fierce fights and territorial disputes—an excellent reason to keep your cat indoors.
  • An FIV-infected mother cat to her kitten is a less prevalent method of transmission. Sharing food bowls and litter boxes, sneezing, social grooming, and other casual modes of interaction do not appear to be dominant ways for FIV to spread.
  • Although any feline is vulnerable, the disease is most commonly contracted by free-roaming, outdoor intact male cats fighting. Indoor cats are the least prone to become sick.

Please keep in mind that FIV can only be spread from cat to cat.

FIV prevention

  • The best approach to safeguard your cat from getting infected with the virus is to keep him indoors and away from infected cats.
  • If you walk your cat outside, keep him on a leash.
  • If your cat is in a cattery or a home with other cats, be sure that all cats have tested negative for FIV.
  • Before bringing a new cat into your home, it should be tested for FIV.
  • It would help if you also inquired your veterinarian about the FIV vaccine and whether it is suitable for your cat.

When Should You See Your Veterinarian?

If you suspect your cat has FIV, make an appointment with your veterinarian right away to have him inspected and tested. Be prepared to mention any symptoms you see throughout your meeting, no matter how minor they may appear. Also, until you have a diagnosis, keep your cat indoors, away from other felines who may be infected or whom he may infect.

The secondary infections that might arise due to FIV can proceed to life-threatening illnesses if not treated properly. Additionally, cats infected with FIV can develop cancer, blood disorders, or kidney failure, all of which can lead to the cat’s death.

Caring for a Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)-Infected Cat

  • Keep your cat inside at all times. This will keep him safe from disease-causing chemicals to which he could be exposed. You’re also safeguarding the uninfected cats in your neighborhood by taking your cat indoors.
  • Keep an eye out for changes in your cat’s health and behavior, even if they seem insignificant. Notify your veterinarian right away if you have any health issues.
  • Take the cat to your veterinarian for a wellness checkup, blood count, and urine analysis at least twice a year.
  • Feed your cat a nutritionally balanced diet—no raw food diets, please, as bacteria and parasites in raw meat and eggs can harm immunocompromised kitties.
  • Make sure your cat is neutered or spayed.

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4.     Feline Leukemia Virus

Feline leukemia virus is a transmissible RNA retrovirus that can severely impair a cat’s immune system. It was first found in the 1960s. It is one of the most often diagnosed diseases and causes of mortality in domestic cats. FeLV should be tested on each new cat entering a family and any sick cat because the virus doesn’t often show signs straight away.

FeLV symptoms

Cats might be infected without showing any symptoms. Others may show signs of:

  • Appetite loss and weight loss
  • Gums that are pale or irritated
  • Abscesses
  • Fever
  • Infections of the upper respiratory tract
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Behavioral changes
  • Issues with vision or other aspects of the eyes
  • Lymph nodes that are enlarged
  • Obstacles to reproduction (in females)
  • Jaundice
  • Skin problems that last a long time
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy

FelV prevention

  • For cats who are at risk of developing FeLV, there is a vaccine available. Vaccination, like other vaccinations, carries risks, and the vaccine does not provide a 100 percent guarantee against infection. Your veterinarian is the best person to determine whether or not this vaccine is appropriate for your cat.
  • As with any infectious disease, the best way to avoid getting sick is to avoid being exposed in the first place. Routine FeLV testing, as well as keeping your cat indoors and away from cats whose FeLV status is unknown, are still the most effective ways to safeguard your cat from becoming infected.

Taking Care of a FelV Cat

  • Feed your cat a well-balanced diet that excludes raw meat, eggs, and unpasteurized dairy products, which can harbor bacteria and parasites and cause infection.
  • Provide your cat with a quiet spot to relax indoors, away from other cats who could spread sickness.
  • Take your cat to the vet at least once every six months for a wellness checkup and blood testing.
  • A cat may not prove any clinical signs in the early stages of illness, but he can still spread the virus to other cats. It’s not a good idea to bring in a new uninfected cat into the house, even if it’s been vaccinated against FeLV. Those who live in close quarters with infected cats are at the greatest risk of infection and should be tested for the virus and housed separately if negative.


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5.     Heartworm

Heartworm, which is spread by infected mosquitoes, is becoming more well recognized as the underlying cause of health problems in domestic cats. Cats are an unusual heartworm host. Despite its name, heartworm predominantly affects cats’ lungs. It’s a significant worry for any cat owner who lives in a mosquito-infested area, and prevention should be discussed with a veterinarian.

Because the heartworm parasite, Dirofilaria immitis, does not have a natural host in the cat, the heartworm is unlikely to complete its life cycle. As a result, fewer and lesser worms survive, and many do not make it to the heart of a cat. The worms that survive and the immunological response built up by the cat’s body to destroy the developing worms might create serious health issues.

Heartworm Disease: Causes and Symptoms

Dirofilaria immitis larvae are delivered into the bloodstream when a mosquito carrying the heartworm parasite bites a cat. The larvae migrate for four to six months toward the heart, maturing along the way before settling in the heart, pulmonary arteries, and blood vessels of the lungs. Many worms die because a domestic cat is not a natural host for the heartworm parasite. In an infected cat, they, coupled with the active worms, trigger significant inflammatory and immunological reactions.

The symptoms listed below may suggest that your cat is infected:

  • Persistent cough
  • Difficulties breathing (panting, wheezing, rapid or open-mouthed breathing)
  • Depression
  • Appetite loss
  • Loss of weight
  • Vomiting sporadic
  • Lethargy
  • Unexpected death

Breathing problems in the early stages of heartworm disease caused by worms that have just arrived in the heart and lungs were most likely misdiagnosed as feline asthma or bronchitis. However, these breathing problems are now suspected to be caused by a condition known as heartworm-associated respiratory disease (HARD).

Preventing Heartworms

  • There are several FDA-approved treatments for preventing feline heartworm infection. Check with your veterinarian and remember that cats should be tested for heartworm infection via blood testing before receiving any form of prophylactic medicine.
  • Limiting your cat’s exposure to mosquito-infested regions and bringing her in for preventative screenings at vet visits are also brilliant ideas.
  • Regular checks are essential for recognizing early infections and ensuring your cat’s recovery.

Heartworm Disease Treatment

In the United States, there’re currently no products licensed to treat feline heartworm infections. The excellent information is that many heartworm-infected cats can battle the illness independently and can be monitored with radiographs every few months while the worms live out their lives. If an infected cat develops indications of lung disease, a cortisone-like medicine can be administered as needed. Coughing and vomiting can also be controlled with medication.

Although some cats are proficient at fighting the illness on their own, if heartworms are not monitored and treated, the following can happen:

  • Damage to the heart’s walls
  • Damage to the huge blood vessels present in the lungs
  • Blood flow through the pulmonary arteries may be obstructed.
  • Breathing problems
  • Lung and heart failure
  • Damage to the kidneys and liver
  • Unexpected death


6.     Rabies

It is a viral disease that affects all mammals, including cats, dogs, and humans, in the brain and spinal cord. Except for Hawaii, every state has reported this preventable disease. There’s a reason why the word “rabies” makes people nervous: once symptoms show, rabies is almost always lethal.

Transmission of Rabies

The rabies virus has been observed to spread through a variety of routes.

  • The most common way to contract rabies is through a bite from an infected animal.
  • It can also be spread when an infected cat’s saliva enters another animal’s body through mucous membranes or an open, fresh wound.
  • If the cat is exposed to wild animals, the chance of developing rabies is higher. Outbreaks can happen in wild animal populations (most commonly raccoons, bats, skunks, and foxes in this nation) or places with large numbers of unvaccinated, free-roaming dogs and cats.

Preventing Rabies

  • Vaccination is essential—and it is the law in many regions of the country, including New York City.
  • If their owners do not have documentation of current immunization, several local rules impose long quarantines—or even euthanasia—of pets that have bitten someone.
  • Vaccinating your cat not only protects her from rabies but also protects her if she bites another person.

Signs and Symptoms of Rabies

  • Animals do not show symptoms right away after being exposed to a rabid animal. Symptoms vary and sometimes take months to manifest. The following are common rabies symptoms in cats:
  • Behavioral changes (including aggression, restlessness, and lethargy),
  • A rise in vocalization
  • Appetite loss.
  • Weakness
  • Disorientation
  • Paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Unexpected death


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7.     Worms  (Intestinal Parasites)

Intestinal parasites, including several, frequently referred to as “worms,” can be acquired by cats. Intestinal worm infestations can result in a range of symptoms. In some instances, cats show few to no signs of infection, and the infestation might go undiagnosed, although it is a potentially significant health issue. Some feline parasitic worms are also dangerous to humans.

Common Types of Worms in Cats

Worms are common in outdoor cats and those who are regularly exposed to dirt where other animals defecate. Internal parasites are most likely to cause kittens and cats that do not receive regular preventative health treatment.

  1. In cats, roundworms are the most frequent internal parasite. Adult worms are 3.5 to 4 inches long and resemble spaghetti. Cats can become tainted in a variety of ways. Adult cats can catch roundworms by consuming eggs from an infected cat’s excrement, while nursing kittens can get them from an infected mother’s milk.
  2. Hookworms are much smaller than roundworms, measuring less than an inch in length and predominantly inhabiting the small intestine. Hookworms, which feed on the blood of an animal, can cause life-threatening anemia, especially in young kittens.
  3. Tapeworms are segmented parasitic worms that range in length from 4 to 28 inches. Vomiting and weight loss are common symptoms of an infestation. Tapeworms are transmitted to cats by an intermediary host, such as an infected flea or rodent. Tapeworm segments—actual portions of the worm that resemble rice grains—can often be spotted on the fur near a cat’s hind end when it is sick.
  4. Lungworms can be found in a cat’s lungs. The majority of cats will show no signs of lungworms, although some may develop a cough. Snails and slugs are common intermediate hosts for this parasite, although cats typically become infected by eating a bird or rodent that has consumed an intermediate host.

Preventing Worms

  • Keep your cat at home to avoid contact with diseased cats, rats, fleas, or feces.
  • Check for fleas in your home, yard, and pets.
  • When changing cat litter or handling excrement, practice good hygiene and wear gloves. It’s also critical to dispose of stool regularly.
  • Consult your veterinarian about an internal parasite treatment or preventive program for your cat.

Symptoms of Worms in Cats

Symptoms vary based on the parasite and the area of infection, but these are some of the most prevalent ones:

  • Diarrhea
  • Worms in the feces or worm segments near the anus
  • Dysentry (bloody stool)
  • Abdominal bloating or a bloated, potbellied appearance
  • Loss of weight
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Anemia
  • Coughing
  • Breathing problems

Worm Removal/Treatment

  • Please don’t try to treat your cat yourself; he needs to be treated for the sort of worms he has.
  • Not all dewormers are effective against all types of worms. Your veterinarian will diagnose the sort of worm infestation(s) that your cat has and provide the best treatment options. Your veterinarian will advise you if and when the dewormer should be given again.
  • Some canine medications are not suitable for cats.
  • If taken incorrectly, several over-the-counter deworming drugs might be hazardous.

Worm Transmission from Cats to Humans may Occur

  • Where cats defecate, a considerable number of roundworm eggs can gather. People who eat such eggs, especially youngsters, might acquire significant health problems like blindness, encephalitis, and organ damage. Surgical removal of roundworms may be required to treat blindness induced by them.
  • Hookworm larvae can cause skin lesions when they enter human skin. Tapeworms can be acquired through the swallowing of an infected flea, but this is uncommon.

Prevention is the best strategy to avoid these common problems in cats. With proper care, management, feeding, love, and a stress-free environment, you can keep your cats happy and healthy. Scientists have proved that the best prevention method to avoid these lethal diseases in cats is to use natural products/supplements in their regular diet. And proper cat care is achieved by using natural products such as cat hemp oil, cat stress reducing formula, or cat antioxidant enzymes in the cat’s regular diet.

These natural products keep your cat’s health in check, and you do not have to worry about costly medicines or annual wellness vet visits. For more products like this, visit Two Crazy Cat Ladies to keep your cat healthy and prevent all these fatal ailments.

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