Cats are great pets. They are super cute and cuddly. That’s why most of us love them. But having a cat as a pet doesn’t mean you just need to feed and bathe it. You also need to take good care of it by taking it to the vet for regular checkups, giving it special supplements, and vaccinate it, among the other things. Moreover, those things help them stay healthy and live longer. However, sometimes cats can get sick. Although it’s normal, you need to make sure you treat any problem on time in order to prevent further problems. In fact, some people give their cats natural health supplements, such as CBD for anxiety, pain, and inflammation relief, or vitamins that support cat’s health. Another way to take care of your cat is to know some of the most common cat health problems and their symptoms, so you can act on time. Here are the 6 most common ones.
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases
Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is probably the most common health problem for cats. As it’s estimated, 3% of cats suffer from this condition. The problem with it is that it’s not a disease caused by a single problem. It, in fact, encompasses several different conditions that affect the cat’s bladder and urethra.
This disease can affect both, male and female cats. However, it usually affects overweight or unfit cats or cats that eat dry food. Other possible causes include stress, sudden changes, other cats (if living in a home with many cats). In order to act on time and prevent further development of FLUTD, you should recognize the symptoms, which include:
- Not using the litter box but urinating in unusual places
- Straining to urinate
- Blood urine
- Often licking the genital area
- Crying when urinating
- Lack of appetite
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should immediately call your vet. It’s very important to act immediately because it can be more serious than you think. For instance, it can be a urethral blockage, which is fatal.
The treatment of the feline lower urinary tract disease depends on the cause. Therefore, the first step is to find out what caused them. Some of the possible causes are infection, bladder stone, urethral blockage, and cancer. Once the vet identifies the cause of FLUTD, they will start treating your cat. The treatment usually involves antibiotics, pain medication, dietary changes, pushing the blockage back into the bladder, or increased water intake.
Another very common health problem in cats is fleas. Fleas are parasites that feed off your cat’s blood. Although they are very inconvenient, they are easy to treat. You just need to know their symptoms, in order to recognize the problem and take your cat to the vet. The usual symptoms of fleas are:
- Often or constant scratching
- Often licking
- Irritated skin
- Hair loss
- Bald parts where the cat licks often
- Flea dirt (tiny black dots on the skin)
- Flea eggs
- Fleas on the fur
- Flea excretions on the fur
If you suspect that your cat has fleas, you should call your vet. It’s because fleas can live more than a year and their growth can cause anemia. The treatment used for fleas usually involves anti-flea topical products, foams, powders, and medication which kill fleas and prevent their future development. However, when buying the anti-flea products, make sure they are specifically designed for cats, not for dogs.
Tapeworms are another most common cat health problem. They are small white worms that live in the cat’s small intestine and can grow up to 2 feet, which can be a problem. Although they grow pretty big, they usually break into pieces when leaving the cat’s body, so you will probably see them as small parts instead of full worms.
Identifying whether or not your cat has tapeworm can be tricky because its symptoms are common for most diseases. They include vomiting and weight loss. However, if you want to find out if tapeworms are the reason for those symptoms, it’s best to look at your cat’s feces, in its bedding, and around its anus. This is because tapeworms leave the cat’s body through its anus usually when they sleep or when are relaxed. So, if you notice tiny worms or something like sesame or rice seeds, you need to see the vet.
Once your vet checks your cat and confirms that it has tapeworms, it will proceed to treatment. The usual treatment options include oral medication, topical medication, or injection, depending on the situation. Having in mind that cats usually get tapeworm due to swallowing a flea, make sure your cat doesn’t have fleas before you start treating it.
The next common cat health problem is vomiting. It’s very common because it can be caused by a big number of conditions. It can be due to eating something that’s not intended to be eaten (a plastic toy, piece of wood from the furniture, a button, etc.), something poisonous (string, poisoned food they found outside, etc.), urinary tract disease, infection, diabetes, hairballs, and so on. The reasons are truly countless.
Identifying this condition is pretty obvious since you can see when your cat vomits. It can also include less noticeable drooling or abdominal pain or heaviness. If you notice any of these things, call your vet. It’s because sometimes vomiting can be more serious than you think. Plus, if your cat vomits longer, it will dehydrate, which can lead to other unwanted problems.
Similar to vomiting, diarrhea is another cat health problem that can be caused by a number of things. Namely, it can be due to eating spoiled food, infection, intestinal parasites, allergies, liver disease, and others. Regardless of the reason, you always need to act on time in order to prevent further problems.
Therefore, if you notice your cat has liquid or loose stool, which lasts more than a day or it becomes dark or bloody, you need to your vet as soon as possible. It’s because diarrhea can last for a day, a week, or even months, and can be accompanied by fever, loss of appetite, tiredness. In order to prevent dehydration or other serious conditions, you need to know how to take care of it properly. Here are several things you can do to stop diarrhea, according to PetMD:
- Giving your cat a lot of fresh and clean water and electrolytes – You can also give it beef broth of diluted chicken or change its diet from kibble to a canned.
- Changing your cat’s food – If you have changed your cat’s food recently, go back to the food you gave it previously. If not, give it nutrient-rich cat food.
- Giving your cat probiotics – These healthy, gut-friendly bacteria improve the gut health and can put its body into balance, thus stopping diarrhea.
- Give your cat anti-diarrheal medications – Only if your vet prescribes them.
- Feeding your cat with foods that are either rich or low in fiber – which type of food you use depends on your cat’s stomach and the reason for having diarrhea. You can try one of them and see how your cat responds and if it doesn’t work, you can try the other type of food.
The last most common cat health problem is infection. There are so many infectious diseases that cats can suffer from. However, few types are the most common for cats, respiratory infections and feline panleukopenia.
Respiratory infections can be prevented with vaccinations. You can identify if your cat has this type of disease by its symptoms which include teary eyes, sneezing, runny nose, cough, fever, and/or mouth sores. Although these infections can be prevented with vaccines, treating them is pretty difficult because they are viral. However, you should take your cat to the vet if you notice any of the symptoms, so they can try to treat it, if possible.
Feline panleukopenia, on the other hand, is a highly contagious viral disease. It’s caused by the feline parvovirus and includes the following symptoms: loss of appetite, dehydration, fever, bloody diarrhea, and tiredness. In order to prevent this disease, you should vaccine your cat while still young. However, if your cat gets sick, treating it is very difficult because there are no medications that can kill the virus. However, you can prevent fleas from re-infesting your purry friend by calling your local flea exterminator to get rid of fleas hiding, breeding and waiting for the opportunity to jump into your cat’s fur. The only thing you can do is giving your cat a lot of fluids and watching over its health until it fights off the virus on its own.
As you can see, there’s a solution to most of the common cat health problems. However, in order to prevent any complication and further development of the conditions, you need to act as fast as possible. Therefore, if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, you should call your vet and check what’s wrong with your little furry friend.