Cats have a reputation for being composed and self-contained animals, but when they are unwell, they often conceal themselves, making it difficult to detect their illness. This may pose a challenge for pet owners in identifying when their feline friend is unwell. Our Poway veterinarians are here to assist you in recognizing common and potentially serious cat illnesses by sharing their symptoms.
Is my cat sick?
Whether you have a furry feline, a lovable dog, or an exotic pet, it's important to be vigilant and ready to take your pet to the vet in case of an emergency. This is particularly crucial for cats because they have a natural instinct to isolate themselves when they're sick, which can make it harder to detect illnesses in the early stages. To help you identify potential health issues in your cat, we've compiled a list of three common feline illnesses and their symptoms that you should keep an eye out for.
Diabetes is becoming more common in cats. When your cat can't regulate its glucose or blood sugar due to a lack of insulin, it may develop diabetes mellitus. If left untreated, this can lead to nerve disorders and other health problems that can shorten your cat's life and require more trips to the vet. Managing diabetes in cats is similar to managing it in humans and may involve regular insulin injections.
If your cat shows any of the symptoms listed, it may be seriously ill and require immediate veterinary attention to save its life. Contact your vet right away.
- Increased urination
- Increased appetite or loss of appetite
- Motor function problems
A range of cancers can affect cats and symptoms can vary. If your cat shows, any of the following signs make an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible.
- Chronic weight loss
- Sores that do not heal
- Odor from the mouth
- Unexplained bleeding
- Unexplained discharge
- Marked increase or decrease in appetite
- Lumps or bumps that change in size or shape
- Difficulty urinating or defecating
One common contributor to cancer in cats is Feline Leukemia Virus, which we recommend having your cat vaccinated against.
If your cat has cancer, don't lose hope! Various treatment options can help your furry friend fight the disease, such as surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. The earlier the cancer is detected, the better the chances of successful treatment. However, the success of the treatment depends on several factors, such as the location of the tumor, the type of cancer, and how far it has spread. So, if you notice any unusual signs in your cat's health, it's best to take them to the vet as soon as possible to increase their chances of recovery.
URI - Upper Respiratory Infections & Cat Colds
Cats, like humans, can catch infections that affect their upper respiratory system, including sinuses, nose, and throat. These infections are highly contagious, especially in places like shelters or households with multiple cats. The viruses responsible for these infections, feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus, can easily spread through common activities such as grooming, sharing food or water, coughing, and sneezing. If one of your cats catches a respiratory infection, it can quickly spread to other cats in your home or neighborhood if they spend time outdoors.
It's important to be aware of the symptoms of a respiratory infection in cats, which are similar to those in humans with a cold. These symptoms can progress and lead to more severe conditions. If you notice your cat showing signs of a respiratory infection, such as:
- Coughing or gagging
- Congestion or drooling
- Runny nose or nasal discharge
- Decreased or lost appetite
It's important to take them to the vet for treatment.
When should I take my cat to the vet?
When it comes to helping your cat to live a long and healthy life, it is always better to err on the side of caution. If your cat displays any of the symptoms listed above, bring them to a vet as soon as possible. Cat illnesses tend to progress and become more serious very quickly if left untreated.