Although cats might like us to believe that they are above such base experiences like health issues and physical weakness, most felines will face agitating diseases or ailments sometime in their lives. While cats tend to have a more independent nature, it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that his feline is receiving the proper health care treatment or any attention from the veterinarian that she might need. Routine checkups will help prevent the cat from developing any disease to a dangerous stage; and early diagnoses make all the difference. Whether the symptoms seem severe or not, it is always better to get a professional opinion about your kitty’s health condition before it is too late.
Infectious diseases: From basic respiratory struggles, to “cat flu”, or more common urinary tract agitations, cats can battle a variety of infections in their life. Many cats get respiratory infections that cause them to have the sniffles, or a raspy cough, a fever, or a runny nose and eyes. Though these symptoms may not seem very dangerous, infections can take a dramatic turn for the worse, and should be reviewed by a vet. They can also prove serious in cases where a cat develops a UTI, affecting the cat’s bladder or urethra and causing a lower urinary tract disease. Symptoms for this ailment can be seen through incessant licking, or blood in the urine. If these signs persist, your pet will need to visit the vet to receive antibiotics and pain medication.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV): FIV is a virus that weakens a cat’s immune system, hindering its ability to fight infection and ward off other diseases. It is caught most commonly from male cats that roam free, and is spread primarily through biting. Fortunately the feline immunodeficiency virus is not very common, as roughly 1-3% of cats in the United States have been diagnosed with it. The best way to protect your cat from being exposed to other animals which may be infected with the virus, is to be aware of where your pet spends her time. Keeping your cat indoors, or trying to restrict her to playing within your home and yard, will be the best way to ensure that she remains healthy.
Eye difficulties and Conjunctivitis: Cats rely on their impressive eyesight for stalking through dark nights, yet they can struggle with a plethora of vision-related difficulties. They can develop cataracts over time, which are characterized by changing colors in the iris, cloudiness, or by behaviors that indicate the cat has difficulty seeing. This can be apparent through how the cat moves with less agility, even bumping into things from time to time. Cats can also or struggle with eye infections, corneal ulcers, blindness, or conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis usually develops when the eyes have been exposed to bacteria through dust, plants chemicals, etc, and is more likely to be caught by cats that are diagnosed with FIV. Symptoms include squinting, frequent blinking, eye watering and evident agitation. Conjunctivitis can heal naturally over time, but if your cat is experiencing apparent pain and frustration, some antibiotic eyes drops from the vet may be in order.
Feline Diabetes and Obesity: Cats fall under one of two categories for diabetes: those with insulin dependent diabetes mellitus and those that are non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. Both of these variations share the same symptoms: weight loss, though appetite and water intake are both increased. To fight this imbalance, the cat will most likely need regular injections of insulin, and will also need to eat a balanced diet of food to fight the obesity which contributes to diabetes. Aside from diet and insulin injections, cats may also benefit from further medications as prescribed from a veterinarian.
Heartworm disease: Similar to their canine counterparts, cats can also get worms. Often the worms remain in the stomach or intestines and can be treated through digestive measures. But if the worms develop in the arteries and hearts of an animal, the results are much more deadly. Heartworm disease can only occur through a mosquito bite, where the bug passes heartworm larvae from another animal into the cat’s blood stream. When the larvae has fully grown and been lodged in primary organs, the affects can be life threatening. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, breathing difficulties, or weight loss. The unfortunate difference between heartworm disease in dogs and cats, is that dogs can ingest substances that treat heartworm disease. Unfortunately there is no cure for felines, therefore owners should seek advice from their vet about how to best relieve their cat’s pain.
Digestive Issues- Diarrhea and Vomiting: Digestive issues occur often in cats, and can often arise from eating a harmful object/human food, from a parasite, from stress, or simply if that cat wants attention. Cats often dispel of hairballs, which usually is quite similar to vomiting. They may have diarrhea because of stomach pain or other gastrointestinal ailments. However, vomiting and diarrhea may merely be symptoms indicating serious diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, or heartworm disease. If these signs persist, visit a vet right away to diagnose the issue and receive proper treatment.
Fleas: Proof that your cat may have fleas may be evident in any of the following symptoms: biting the fur, scratching, constant licking, even patches of bald spots on the fur. Fortunately fleas are relatively easy to treat, and have a variety of remedy options from collars, shampoos, oral medications, powders and healing ointments. Refer to your local veterinarian to find more details on the best option for you and your feline.
Cancer: All breeds of cats are susceptible to many kinds of cancer, including mammary cancer, lymphoma, skin cancer, etc. Fortunately, mammary cancer and skin cancer can usually both be treated and reversed if the cat is diagnosed early and can receive the proper cancer therapy. Unfortunately in cases such as lymphoma, there is no cure for felines. If this occurs, the owner’s responsibility will be to look after the cat with great care, providing comfort wherever possible. One of the best preventative measures one can take to protect his pet against cancer is to offer a nutritionally sound diet with plenty of water so the animal receives sufficient hydration. This causes the development of cancer in a cat to be much less likely.