It’s winter, chances are you or someone you know has caught one bug or another. But did you know that your cat can also get ill? And while thankfully their viral germs are non-communicable to humans, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking to get you kitty a clean bill of health. Cats can get ill from their diet, their environment, from something they’ve picked up while outside being adventurous, or sometimes even their genetics. Serious ailments can even include FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) , Hyperthyroidism, or Diabetes. In this article, we’re going to look instead at the most common health problems in cats, what you can do to diagnose them, and if there are any products available that can help.
While you’re preparing for your own health concerns with a flu shot, your cat is also susceptible to this common illness. The symptoms are much the same as in humans; a cat will display a sore throat, a runny nose, and watery eyes. They may sneeze and their voices will be raspy. In adult cats, this is usually not a huge issue, but in kittens and weaker animals it can prove fatal – therefore it is important to diagnose this early.
Cats get flu from bacteria which is passed between animals, therefore it is important to remove them from the presence of other cats and get them to a vet. Much like our own flu and cold viruses, there are no drugs available which cure this ailment, however you can vaccinate in advance (although it’s not a certainty in any case). Treatment tends to be a bit more holistic, such as keeping them warm and dry, comfortable.
Where possible you can treat the symptoms. Eye Drops, such as the Nutri-Vet Eye Rinse Liquid for Cats, can help alleviate the watery eyes that flu brings. While washing out the detritus is good for helping your cat see properly, it will also halt the progress of bacteria that can cause corneal ulcers and, potentially, blindness. Saline solutions like those provided by Nutri-Vet are crucial in keeping your cat comfortable.
While fleas are not technically an ‘illness’ they are an affliction that can cause discomfort to your pet, and they are one of the most common health problems in cats all around the world. Be aware: even indoor cats are not safe!
Catching fleas is surprisingly easy, given the distances they jump they can transfer from one animal to another with almost no problem. Check out our article on how to get rid if them!
One of the most common health problems in cats is vomiting. Vomiting tends to be a symptom of something else, and may be caused by any number of things, from the innocuous to the potentially fatal. One common reason cats vomit is due to eating too fast, this is in fact regurgitation, and can be diagnosed by looking at the vomit. If it is composed mostly of undigested food, it may be that your cat is a speed-eater. This could be due to a number of reasons.
A rescue cat, or former stray, may have not been fed or been able to eat very often, and therefore may wolf down food at the sight of it – still holding on to the memory of not knowing where its next meal was coming from. Domestic cats are also at risk from this gastric anxiety though, and houses with multiple cats may find some of your more timid cats muscled out of their food, and more likely to scoff everything when they get a moment to do so (they are also at risk of overeating in these instances – another cause of regurgitation).
Cats also vomit up hairballs. This is normal, as they gather their hair when the groom themselves, and also those of other cats, and pass them in cylindrical ‘plug’ shaped masses at a later date. Typically this is not a problem, although you may wish to reduce the amount of hair that they swallow by brushing them and the cats they groom. Products exist to help ease the passage of a hairball, which are at risk of getting stuck should too much hair accumulate, such as Tomlyn Laxatone.
Not sure what to feed your beast? Check out our feeding guidelines!
Much like fleas, even indoor cats of any age occasionally have to contend with the dreaded worms. “Worms” are a misnomer, as they cover all kinds of intestinal parasites: roundworm, hookworm, and tapeworm– whatever the kind, they can cause a lot of discomfort to your cat.
They tend to pass via contact with faeces, so it is important to make sure your cat’s litter tray is cleaned regularly, and anywhere they walk is also hygienic. Worms can be treated with medication such as Excel Roundworm Liquid Cat De-Wormer, which instead of the traditional capsules, dispenses worming medication in liquid form. Handily masked behind the taste of tuna, this is a lubricant that can be added to your cat’s food with little fuss but with maximum result.
Urinary Tract Infections, or UTIs, are another common health problem in cats. Symptom-wise, you may observe that your cat is reluctant to use the toilet, or may be in discomfort while they are urinating. They may be caused by stress, such as a traumatic event, or a change of environment or territory, or the introduction of another cat.
They can also be due to a diet, and be related to many digestion-based issues. In young kittens, especially rich diets can cause indigestion, and even in fully-grown cats, a change in diet may spur on some gastrointestinal issues. The introduction of lactose, for instance, may cause fermentation of indigestible sugars in the gut which can prove fatal. A simple change in diet can make all the difference. In cases of UTI, providing a good supply of fresh water can aid, but special foods do exist which can help dissolve bladder stones.
Food like Purina One Urinary Tract Health can often be an effective measure. With a high protein content, Purina One’s special dietary food helps reduce the urinary pH, reducing the build up of the crystals which cause blockages in the first place.
Final thoughts: Common health problems in cats
The most common health problems in cats are flu, worms, vomiting, UTIs and fleas. While none are life-threatening (not at first), they can indicate hygiene issues in your home, or they may be indicative of a problem in your cat’s diet, lifestyle, or general health.
Whatever happens, you should be looking to treat them at the earliest possible instant. Numerous products, like the ones we have discussed can be a great first step in rehabilitation, but with either common or rare health issues in cats, the best advice is to consult a vet.