Even the healthiest of cats can come down with an illness, and for the most part, it’s nothing to worry about. These are the most common cat health problems pet parents should know about.
You don’t have to be a boy scout to live by the motto of “be prepared;” as a pet owner, it’s best to know what the most common cat illnesses and health problems are, so that you can spot the symptoms in your kitty. It can also help you schedule preventative care.
Here are seven of the common cat health problems you’ll encounter:
Probably the most common health problem in cats is vomiting. My cat is incredibly prone to it; if her food bowl ever goes empty for more than 5 minutes, she will complain loudly until I fill it up. Then she will promptly eat too much, and vomit. If your cat vomits once because of a clear cut cause (overeating), then this isn’t something to worry about. If you cat vomits more than once though, call your vet; vomiting can quickly leave your cat dehydrated, and might be indicative of a more serious issue.
This is another pretty common health problem that is usually a symptom of something larger. Have you recently changed your cat’s food? Has she been exposed to a new environment? If diarrhea lasts for more than a day, call your vet, since, like vomiting, it can leave your cat dehydrated.
Related: 5 Feline Skin Conditions You Should Know About
Urinary Tract Infections are probably the most common cat illness. They occur in the bladder and the urethra (the tube leading from the bladder that carries the cat’s urine out of the system) and the most common symptom is blood in the urine. Although seeing red in your litter box is really shocking, a UTI is nothing to panic about. Take your cat to the vet immediately, but normal with prescribed medication and a change in your cat’s diet, the infection should cease within 10 days. Most vets will conduct urine analyses to monitor the presence of the virus, and if this happens more than once, your vet might recommend a special prescription diet and a low stress environment.
Both indoor and outdoor cats can get fleas. They are uncomfortable, but easy to spot; if your cat is constantly scratching or licking, they probably have fleas. Fleas look like dirt on your cat’s skin. If you notice them, it’s best to call your vet to help you figure out what medication works best for you and your cat.
Related: A Short Guide to Feline Eye Care
Tapeworms are the most common in cats, as they live inside the cat’s intestine. If you cat is losing weight rapidly, has diarrhea, or is vomiting for no reason, it would be best to check her bedding area. Usually tapeworms come out of your cat’s anus while she’s sleeping or relaxed, and as a result her bed is the best area to check. If her bed has some small white worms on it, which resemble rice, then she likely have worms. Call your vet to find out what deworming treatment works best for you; oral dewormer medication is always my go to. Cleanliness, flea control and keeping your cat indoors will help stop worms becoming a common occurrence in your house.
Gingivitis, or inflamed gums, is a common feline dental issue. It’s caused by the same thing in humans and in cats; by plaque. The combination of the sticky bacterial film and food particles accumulating along the gum line irritates the gum and makes it hypersensitive. In the wild, when cats take apart their food, they interact enough with their whole mouth that this doesn’t happen. Indoor cats, however, often have this issue. Most vets recommend brushing your cat’s teeth to help with this, since gingivitis, left untreated, could lead tartar separating the gums from the teeth.
The last issue is eye problems. Unless you know what’s cause your cat’s eye problem (like allergies), you should call your vet. Eye problems should be considered an emergency, since they can be serious, so make an appointment as soon as possible.