Even for the most attentive pet parents, it can be difficult to tell when a cat is seriously ill. Here, our Mooresville vets explain the signs of 3 common (but potentially serious) cat illnesses.
How can I tell if my cat is sick?
If you own a pet, it's essential to be alert and prepared to visit the vet if they are showing signs of health issues or injuries. This is especially true of people who own cats. Our feline companions will often isolate themselves out of instinct when they become ill, making it difficult for even the most attentive pet parents to spot symptoms of illness early.
In order to help you recognize symptoms of illness in your cat, here are 3 common cat illnesses to be on the lookout for, and their most common symptoms.
Cat Colds & Upper Respiratory Infections (URI)
Like humans, viruses and bacteria can cause infections in your cat’s upper respiratory tract, sinuses, nose, and throat.
Cat colds and URIs are often seen in multi-cat households and shelters since these particular cat illnesses are extremely contagious! Cats can contract feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus by simply sharing a food or water bowl, coughing, sneezing or grooming. Once a cat has contracted one of these viruses it is very easily spread to other nearby cats.
The most common symptoms of upper respiratory illnesses in cats are much like the symptoms of respiratory illnesses in people. To determine whether your cat has a cat cold or upper respiratory infection look for the following symptoms:
- Coughing or gagging
- Runny nose or nasal discharge
- Decreased or lost appetite
- Congestion or drooling
Diabetes in Cats
In North America, diabetes in cats is becoming increasingly common. If your cat doesn’t produce enough insulin to balance glucose levels or blood sugar, diabetes mellitus can result. If left untreated diabetes can shorten your cat’s lifespan and lead to nerve disorders, numerous health problems, and emergency trips to the veterinarian. The treatment for cat diabetes is focused on management rather than cure and will typically include insulin injections.
If your kitty is displaying any of the following symptoms make an appointment to see your vet straight away, your cat may be suffering from diabetes that requires immediate attention.
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Increased appetite or loss of appetite
- Motor function problems
Cancers can affect a wide range of cells and organs in your cat's body. Cancer begins growing within a cell, before attaching to the tissue underneath the skin and potentially spreading to other areas of the cat's body.
When it comes to treating cat cancers, early detection and treatment are the keys to good treatment outcomes! If your cat shows any of the following signs make an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible.
- Lumps or bumps that change in shape or size
- Sores that won't heal
- Odor from the mouth
- Unexplained bleeding
- Increase or decrease in appetite
- Chronic weight loss
- Difficulty urinating or defecating
- Unexplained discharge
Feline Leukemia Virus (which cats can be vaccinated against) is a common contributor to cat cancers. Other potential causes of cat cancers include toxins in the environment or poisons. If spotted early, cancer in cats may be able to be treated.
If your cat is diagnosed with cancer your vet might recommend surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of these treatments to help fight cancer. Some key factors which influence the success of cancer treatment in cats include the type of cancer, the extent of its spread, and the location of the tumor.
What should I do if my cat is sick?
If your cat is exhibiting symptoms of any of the illnesses listed above, it is essential to make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. Cat illnesses can progress very quickly and may become severe health risks in just a short period of time.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.