Cats can often display subtle symptoms when ill, and it can be hard for pet owners to recognize sometimes. By taking your cat to the vet for regular checkups and getting the required shots, you help guard your cat against serious illness. However, learning about some of the most common illnesses your cat can get can help you look out for symptoms early on and help you act promptly to get your furry friend the treatment they need as soon as possible.
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Infection (FLUTD)
Feline lower urinary tract infections affect up to 1-3% of cats each year. There are multiple causes for FLUTD, and both males and females can get it. The infection occurs in the urethra and bladder, and it can be painful for your cat to relieve itself. Your cat may also start to associate the pain of urinating with the litter box and look for a new place to relieve itself. This can mean your cat starts peeing in unusual places, like on rugs, in beds, in corners, or in the sink or tub.
Symptoms to look out for:
- Your cat straining to urinate, but nothing coming out
- Your cat is excessively licking its genital area
- Frequent urination
- Presence of blood in urine
- Your cat cries when it urinates
- Lack of appetite
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should contact your vet immediately, as a blockage in the urethra can be fatal. A change in diet and increased water intake will sometimes be suggested n order to prevent problems down the road.
Antibiotics are the most common way to treat FLUTD, and they can also contain anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving effects for your pet. Steroids are sometimes used if inflammation is severe, and if the pH of your cat's urine is very high, urinary acidifiers might be used.
Worms are one of the most common illnesses in cats, and left untreated they can grow up to two feet long. Tapeworms are preventable, provided you deworm your cat regularly using something such as Drontal, which kills tapeworms in your cat's intestines at various stages.
The symptoms for worms can be subtle, and some signs include vomiting and weight loss. One of the easiest ways to know if your cat is suffering from worms is to look at its feces and around its anus. If you see something resembling small white grains like rice, your cat probably has worms. Various treatments exist to eliminate worms, from injections to topical and oral medications.
Vomiting is a common problem in felines, and there are multiple causes. While some causes are minor and temporary, sometimes it can be indicative of a more serious illness. Causes range from eating something poisonous or inedible, to illnesses like diabetes, infection or a urinary tract disease.
The symptoms for vomiting are usually very obvious. Signs include abdominal heaving and drooling. Other things to look out for are:
- Weight loss
- Blood in vomit
- Change in appetite
- Change in water intake
Generally, if you find your cat vomits only a few times, and then goes back to behaving and eating normally, there's probably nothing to be concerned about.
However, if you find your cat is vomiting frequently, you should call your vet right away. Vomiting can quickly leave your cat dehydrated, and if it's happening chronically, you should act quickly.
Fleas feed on your cat's blood and can make them very uncomfortable. If your cat has a heavy infestation, it can make them become anemic and sick. Luckily, it's very easy to treat, and there are various methods available, ranging from oral medications to powders and foams.
Some signs your cat may have fleas include:
- Hair loss
- Constant scratching
- Red, irritated skin
- Frequent licking
- Flea dirt on your cat's skin, which look like little black dots
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