5 Common Cat Health Problems to Watch Out For

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If you’ve never owned a kitty before, you may not realize that cats can suffer from quite a few different common cat health problems. Some of these problems are easily preventable, while others are hereditary. Knowing the typical health problems that can plague a cat, and some of their solutions, will go a long way to enhancing your cat’s life.

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Knowing about these cat health problems can also grow the bond between you and your cat. Your cat will start to trust you more and feel comfortable in your presence, the more you help her.

Taking your cat to the veterinarian when she’s sick is one of the basics of caring for your cat, so if you don’t have a vet you like already, you should start looking for one so you’re prepared when something comes up.

Cat Illnesses to Watch Out For

Hairballs

cat with hairball

One of the most well-known common cat health problems is the hairball. Cats groom themselves constantly with their tongues and loose hair coming off on their tongues is then swallowed. Sometimes the hair gradually forms into a ball instead of passing through the cat’s body.

If your cat starts coughing and hacking, they may have a hairball. Usually, the cat will expel the ball on their own. To prevent hairballs, groom your cat frequently to remove loose hair.

In addition, if your cat is prone to getting them, you can feed him food that helps control hairballs. Recently, cat treats that help control hairballs have become available, as well.

Urinary Tract Infections

cat held by doctor

Another common health problem in cats are urinary tract infections. This infection is particularly common in unneutered male cats, although female cats can also develop this problem. If your cat has suddenly stopped using their litter box, a urinary tract infection could be the culprit. 

If your cat’s urine smells strong, you should suspect a urinary tract infection. These infections need to be treated by your veterinarian. Be sure to ask about cat foods that help alleviate the chance of an infection recurring. 

Cat Viruses

cat wearing medical mask

There are also several dangerous viruses that cats can catch. Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), and Feline Leukemia Virus (FLV). 

Feline Infectious Peritonitis

FIP is a disease that is related to Coronavirus. This problem is serious, because there is no known treatment for the disease. Cats who test positive for this disease may not actually have it, as Coronavirus gives the same result on the titer. There is a vaccine for FIP, but many veterinarians and scientists say that it actually is not very effective. Luckily, this disease is not as easy to catch as some other diseases. 

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

FIV, or cat-specific HIV, is a slow acting virus and many infected cats enjoy a normal lifespan with no symptoms or health concerns as a result of the virus. It’s not always fatal either and can be managed so the cat can have a long and happy life. FIV is species specific and cannot be passed to humans. 

Feline Leukemia Virus

FLV is a retrovirus that infects cats and slowly weakens their immune system. It is preventable if the cat has not been exposed to the virus before being immunized. Although the disease is not always immediately fatal, cats with FLV rarely have a long life expectancy. You should never bring other cats into your household when you have a cat with FLV, as they can pass it along to other cats.

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Worms

cat sitting next to litterbox

Worms are also a problem for many cats. Roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms are the most common types that infect cats. However, they can occasionally develop heartworms, as well. 

If your cat seems unable to gain weight, is infested with fleas, or has white specks that look like grains of rice in their stools, you should take him to the veterinarian to be tested for worms. A cat with worms is easily cured with a few doses of medication, but worms can prove fatal if left untreated.

Ticks

Finally, if your cat spends time outdoors, you should keep a close eye on them for ticks. If you find a tick on your cat’s body and they have been acting lethargic or moving slowly and acting as if they were in pain, you should ask your veterinarian to test him for Lyme Disease. This disease is transmitted to people and animals by ticks.

It is possible to be bitten by a tick and not contract Lyme Disease, but it is essential to remove the tick as quickly as possible, making sure to remove the head that becomes embedded in the skin. Check for ticks each time your cat returns indoors during the high tick season in your area.

Conclusion

Knowing the signs and symptoms of common cat health problems can help prevent serious illness in your cat. Your cat will thank you later on for familiarizing yourself with these problems.

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