Cat Care: Cat Health Problems
Cats are susceptible to a number of diseases and health problems, some of which can be passed on to humans as well. Most cats remain healthy so long as they are well taken care of. To maintain perfect health in any cat, they will need regular check ups at the vet and some vaccinations.
Cats can hide signs of ill-being quite well, but if you observe them closely you should be able to identify some of them.
Symptoms of disease or unhealthiness in cats
- Fur becoming dull
- Loss of appetite
- Continuous diarrhea
- Difficulty in urinating and defecating
- Not using its litter box
- Bloody urine or stool
- Excessive sneezing, wheezing or coughing
- Discharge from the nose and eyes
- Sudden change in weight
- Loss of fur
- Change in behavior
These signs obviously indicate that all is not well with your cat. If you cat has clean eyes, a pink mouth and ears, and white teeth, and are generally happy and alert, then you can safely assume that they are healthy. Their fur should also be smooth and well groomed.
There are many ailments that cats can be afflicted with. Knowing of these many conditions allows you to take measures to protect and prevent your cat from them, and can also help improve their general health.
Read more about cat diseases on our special site that provides information about cat health problems.
The most common ailments that affect cats
Diseases caused by viruses
Rabies is a common infection that is the result of a virus. If an animal with rabies bites your cat, then he can be at risk for rabies if he has not been vaccinated against it. Rabies has adverse effects on a cat’s central nervous system. The most common symptoms are drooling, dilated pupils, changes in appetite, and aggressive behavior. If you see your cat snapping at the air or having exaggerated responses to stimuli, along with fever, then take him to a vet immediately. Rabies at its very worst can paralyze the cat and cause its breathing systems to fail so that it dies.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is another virus disease that is also transmitted through the bite of an infected cat. If your cat has persistent diarrhea, loss of appetite, oral and other infections, then these are signs of this disease.
Feline Infectious Peritonitis is a virus that affects cats in two ways. One involves the cat’s abdominal fluids and is known as the wet form, while the other does not involve the abdominal fluid and is so known as the dry form. Both forms of this disease cause vomiting, fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea and lethargy and is seen as symptoms in your cat.
Feline Leukemia Virus affects the immune system of a cat and can result in cancer and other conditions. It can be transmitted during catfights as well as in the sharing of food bowls, water bowls, and through contact with the saliva, urine or feces of an infected cat. It can also pass from mother cats to kittens.
Diseases caused by bacteria
Feline Chlamydia is a bacterial disease that affects cats through their eyes, and leads to conjunctivitis. Symptoms of this disease are sneezing, coughing, runny nose, anorexia, fever, watery eyes and a breathing problem.
Skin diseases in cats can be alopecia, acne and cheyletiellosis. Alopecia is caused by illness, local bacteria and endocrine disturbances. It leads to hair loss, red and inflamed skin and bald patches. Cheyletiellosis is caused by skin mites. It can cause severe itching and is contagious. It can cause skin to flake and scale.
Parasites are quite common and can cause various types of infections in cats. There are external parasites such as mites and fleas found on the skin, in the fur and ears (ear mites). Some internal parasites are also common, such as ringworms, tapeworms and hookworms. Less common is Coccidia, which lives in the inner lining of the intestine of the cat and can cause dehydration and diarrhea. This will lead to death if not treated.
Lower Urinary Tract Disease is a group of diseases affecting the cat’s urinary system. It can cause bleeding, pain and an increase in the frequency of urination. The symptoms of LUTD are blood found in urine, inability to urinate and frequent urination. Cats suffering from this disease might also show signs such as vomiting, loss of appetite, dehydration, depression and could eventually die.
Other diseases affecting the cats
Feline Panleukopenia, also known as feline distemper, is a disease where the white blood cell count drops drastically and dangerously. The cat’s immune system is compromised and it becomes susceptible to other infections. The symptoms of this disease are diarrhea, vomiting and loss of appetite. It is contagious and can be transmitted by human contact, and contact with any infected cat, its paws, fur and food bowls.
Feline diabetes is a condition that many cats suffer with. It is a disorder of the endocrine system that is usually found in obese cats. Symptoms of this condition are an increase in appetite to an abnormal degree, large increase in the uptake of water, and weight loss even though the cat has an increased appetite.
Upper Respiratory Infection often proves fatal in cats. The common symptoms to watch out for are runny nose, runny and reddened eyes, fever, decreased appetite and sneezing.
Prevention of Cat Diseases
Your cat can be protected from these diseases. Rabies, Upper Respiratory Infection, Feline Infectious Peritonitis and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus can all be vaccinated against. Skin infections can be avoided by making sure you cat’s skin is clean. This also helps keep away external parasites. If you own more than one pet cat, they should not share food bowls; let each one have its own.
Most of these conditions can be treated by prescribed antibiotics once you take them to a vet. An important thing to keep in mind is that when most cats get sick, they find it hard to eat and drink due to changes in their appetite. However, it is important that you try to coax them into eating and drinking at least a little so that their bodies can work with the antibiotics and cure them of their condition faster.