As a cat parent, it’s important to learn about your cat’s health. Here are some of the most common cat illnesses and what you can do about them.
Did you know that 42.7 million households in the US share their homes with a cat? That makes these furballs the second-most common furry member of many US families!
Cats, after all, are more than just adorable and sweet creatures — they also appear to make humans happy. Cat parents have also shown better psychological health than folks without cats. Many other studies also show that people who live with cats have lower stress levels.
The thing is, seeing your furry pal succumb to common cat illnesses can lead to even more stress.
That’s why, as a cat parent, it’s best to learn about the common cat diseases that can affect your furry family member. We’ve rounded up some of them on this list, so be sure to keep reading so you know what to do as soon as you notice their signs!
1. Gum Disease
In about 70% of cats, symptoms of oral disease can start showing up once they hit the age of three. As with people, gingivitis (gum inflammation) is also the most common gum disease in cats. Just like in humans, plaque is also the number one cause of feline gingivitis.
This common cat illness is more prevalent in felines who have a high-carb diet. Plaque, after all, contains thousands of bacterial species that love to feast on carbs. As bacteria digest these carbs, they produce acid that can irritate the gums.
The most common symptoms of feline gingivitis include red gums and bad breath. Ignoring their meals and treats may also indicate swollen, painful gums.
Aside from teeth loss, untreated gingivitis in cats can lead to kidney damage. So, make sure that you bring your furry pal to the vet as soon as you notice these signs. Early gingivitis is reversible, while future gingivitis is not preventable.
2. Flea Infestation
While there may be 2,200 species of fleas, cat fleas are among the most prevalent. Worse, these pests don’t only affect cats — they also infest dogs, homes, and yes, even your bed. Fleas can also transmit tapeworms into your feline pal.
You can prevent cat flea infestation by using a flea and tick killer. Fluralaner tablets, for instance, have shown to kill as much as 99.9% of fleas. Frontline, a topical anti-flea and-tick product, can also kill more than 97% of fleas.
3. Tapeworms Infection
Speaking of tapeworms, cats can also get them if they bite or eat a tapeworm-infected rat or mouse. This is why tapeworm infections are among the most common diseases affecting cats.
Tapeworms look freaky: they have long, ribbon-like bodies divided into segments. Worse, each segment can become a fully-independent worm. That’s because each of these sections has separate digestive and reproductive systems.
One of the key symptoms of tapeworm infection in cats is a sudden loss of weight without an apparent cause. These worms feed on a cat’s meals, after all. These worms steal the nutrients from the food that your cat feeds on.
Aside from weight loss, your furry feline pal may also seem to remain hungry even after a meal. In this case, it’s best to bring your cat to a vet right away. Tapeworm infection is difficult to get rid of without medicated treatment.
4. Being Overweight or Obese
Obesity is also among the most common cat diseases, affecting nearly six in 10 cats in the US. Being overweight or obese is often due to a lack of physical activity and overfeeding. Improper diet, such as feeding kitten food to adult cats, can also lead to this problem.
Keep in mind that felines don’t have nine lives, but indoor cats can live up to 16 years. However, being even moderately overweight can already shorten their life span.
If you suspect that your cat is overweight, consult with a vet for advice on how to make dietary changes. It’s also a good time to consider pet insurance so that you can worry less about vet fees for future check-ups. You may want to check out this site to learn more about www.petassure.com and pet insurance.
5. Urinary Tract Diseases (UTDs)
Being overweight or obese can make your cat more susceptible to other diseases, such as UTDs. If you see blood in your feline pal’s urine, that’s a solid sign of UTD. The same goes if your cat appears to be in pain while peeing or strains to urinate.
Diarrhea in cats can result from infections, intestinal parasites, liver disease, and allergies. Eating spoiled food and yes, rodents, can also induce diarrhea in your furry family member. Depending on what caused it, diarrhea can last for a single day to a few months.
That said, if your catto still has watery or loose stools after a day, pay the vet a visit ASAP. Especially if you see blood in the stools or if your feline pal also vomits and has a fever. Diarrhea can result in severe dehydration, which can be deadly to cats.
7. Vision-Related Problems
Bacterial and viral infections and trauma are the most common causes of cat eye problems. However, these health issues can also arise from cataracts, glaucoma, and eye tumors. Retinal diseases can also occur in cats.
Some of the symptoms of feline eye problems are watery, red eyes. If your catto has been tearing up a lot lately, that’s another sign that there’s something wrong. Squinting or repeated rubbing of the eyes can also signal an eye problem.
There’s not much at-home treatment that you can do without the advice of a vet. So, as soon as you notice these symptoms, consult with your vet right away.
Don’t Let These Common Cat Illnesses Get in the Way of Your Furry Pal’s Health
There you have it, seven of the most common cat illnesses to be on the lookout for. Also, do your best to avoid the temptation of overfeeding them or giving them a lot of snacks. Many cat diseases are a complication of obesity, so this is one of the things you can do to extend their healthy life.
Remember, your cat makes you happy, so be sure to pay them in kind by taking better care of them.
Ready for more guides on how to keep the health of your pets in tip-top condition? Then be sure to check out the rest of the posts we have in the Pet Care section!