common cat health problems

The Most Common Cat Health Problems Cats Suffer From

People like cats because they’re independent and self-sufficient and therefore require less maintenance than dogs, while actually outliving them. In addition, there are plenty of health benefits to owning a cat, such as a 40% reduced risk of having a heart attack and prevention against stress-related diseases.

This is one of the reasons why more and more people become cat parents and are loving every second of it. But there are certain cat health problems that even cats with their superb survival skills can’t easily overcome, and might require a trip to the vet.

The most common cat health problems

  1. Diarrhea

It’s typical for healthy cats to have 1-2 bowel movements a day and their excretion should look fully formed and moist. Any reoccurring deviations from this can be a sign of disease. In fact this is one of the most common cat health problems that cats endure.

Sometimes kitties will get diarrhea from an upset tummy due to dietary changes or some other reason, but if the soft stool persists, accompanied with vomiting, a dark or bloody stool, fever, lethargy and loss of appetite, you should contact your veterinarian right away.

A lot of medical issues can cause diarrhea in cats, starting from intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms or tapeworms to inflammatory bowel disease and bacterial and viral infections. Even dietary sensitivities and imbalances may cause diarrhea in cats, so every case of diarrhea needs to be given proper attention. If your cat has diarrhea, make sure to offer her plenty of fresh, clean water to prevent dehydration.

  1. Vomiting

As common as it is, vomiting can be a symptom of a multitude of diseases. A cat may occasionally vomit hairballs or suffer from an upset stomach, but not every cause of vomiting is that benign. Cats may throw up right after eating because they ate too much or too fast, or they ate something they shouldn’t have, like a rubber band or a piece of string.

Yet at other times, vomiting may signal a serious medical problem such as poisoning, intestinal obstruction, allergies, parasites, infection or even diabetes and cancer. A lot of throwing up will leave your cat dehydrated, so make sure to keep their water bowl full and fresh. If your cat continues vomiting, call your vet right away.

  1. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is actually not a specific disease but rather a term used describe multiple conditions that can affect the urinary bladder and/or urethra in cats.

According to some estimates, as many as 3% of cats seen by vets have FLUTD. Both female and male cat can get FLUTD in their lifetime, but the disease is most often encountered in overweight and unfit cat or cats who eat predominantly dry food. How do you know if your cat has FLUTD? Some FLUTD symptoms include:

  • Straining to urinate
  • Unusually infrequent urination
  • Urinating outside the litter box and in unusual places
  • Crying when urination
  • Frequent licking of the genital area (sign of pain)
  • Visible blood in the urine
  • Depression
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite

None of these are normal cat behaviors. If you suspect that your cat is in pain and having urinary tract difficulties, call your vet immediately.

  1. Eye problems

Your cat’s eyes are not only striking beautiful and expressive – they are also good indicators of overall health and wellness. Eye problems are one of those common cat health problems in cats and can be caused by a number of things including corneal ulcer, cataracts, glaucoma, physical trauma, conjunctivitis and retinal disease.

While some infections can easily clean up on their own, others can become very complex and serious. If your cat is looking or squinting at you with weepy, red, puffy or gunky eyes, while constantly pawing at the eye, you should call your vet immediately. Conversely, a healthy cat’s eyes are clear and bright with same-sized pupils and no excessive discharge, redness or cloudiness.

  1. Fleas

Cats can pick up fleas with incredible ease, making flea infestations a common external feline health problem. Fleas are tiny wingless insects that live on your cat’s body, feeding on blood and laying eggs in the fur. These fast-reproducing parasites will not only spread all around your home and can infest humans as well, but they can also exhaust your cat’s organism and make it susceptible to disease.

Some basic signs that your cat has fleas include: flea dirt on its skin, constant scratching and licking, red and irritated skin, hair loss and skin infections. Fleas can live for more than a year, while the cats that host them risk developing anemia and a range of infectious diseases. Luckily, fleas in cats are easily treatable with the help of oral medication, topical medication, powders and foams.

  1. Tapeworms

Tapeworms are flat, segmented intestinal parasites that many felines suffer from. Tapeworms live in the cat’s small intestine and sometimes grow as long as 2 feet. But how do cats get infected? First, a tapeworm egg must be ingested by a flea larva, where it will continue developing as the flea larva matures into an adult.

Next, the cat will unknowingly swallow the flea during grooming, and when the flea is digested within the cat’s intestine, the tapeworm egg is released. As it hatches, it anchors itself to the intestinal lining and thereby completes a lifecycle.

The important thing is that cats cannot become infected by simply eating tapeworm eggs – the tapeworms must first pass through the flea before they can infect the cat. Symptoms of a tapeworm infection include vomiting and weight loss.


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