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common cat diseases
common cat diseases

The Truth About Cat Health

Cats are very good at hiding their illness, which is why it is so important that we take cat health and cat wellness very seriously. The problem is that many cats don’t get their routine cat wellness check-ups because many pet parents do not take their cat to the vet on a regular basis. According to a study conducted by Bayer HealthCare and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), more than half of cats in the United States are overdue for their yearly recommended veterinary appointment.

A yearly physical examination is so important because your veterinarian can spot signs of trouble before the condition has progressed and when the condition is more treatable. Early detection can diagnose problems early on, and with the right veterinary care your cat can live a longer, happier, healthier life.

Yearly cat wellness check-ups are also a good way to make sure that your cat’s vaccinations are all up to date. Vaccines protect your cat against infectious diseases and it is very important that your cat get all required vaccines. Following your cat’s initial vaccinations, yearly boosters are required. The best way to ensure that your cat is getting all necessary vaccinations is to undergo a yearly cat wellness check-up.

Top 5 Common Cat Diseases

As a pet parent, it is important for you to be able to recognize the symptoms of common cat diseases so that you can promptly provide veterinary care for your cat. Here are some of the top cat health conditions.


Yes, cats can get cancer too. Just like us our feline friends will often develop cancer as they age. Cats can suffer from the same types of cancers we do – they can get lymphoma, breast cancer, melanoma, prostate cancer and more.

Here’s what you should look for. Symptoms of cancer may include:

  • Lumps
  • Swelling
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased appetite
  • Sores or skin infection
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Change in behavior
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating

When you’re petting your cat, look for any unusual lumps or spots on the skin. The earlier the cancer is detected the better chance your cat has for recovery, so be diligent about periodic checks for lumps or spots.

Cancer treatment for cats may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, or immunotherapy. Early detection is best. The success of the treatment depends on the type of cancer, the extent of the cancer, and the aggressiveness of the therapy. Some cancers can be cured and most patients can receive some benefit from treatment.


Diabetes is caused by a lack of insulin or an inadequate response to insulin. When your cat eats, the digestive system breaks the food down into various components including glucose, which is carried into the cells by insulin. Blood sugars elevate when a cat does not produce insulin or utilize it normally. This results in hyperglycemia. Left untreated, hyperglycemia can cause many health problems for your cat.

The important thing to remember here is that diabetes is a manageable condition. Many diabetic cats can live happy, healthy lives and some may even go into remission.

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Increased water consumption
  • Increased urination
  • Change in appetite
  • Weight loss Lethargy
  • Sweet-smelling breath
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Urinating outside the litter box

If you notice any of these signs, see your veterinarian immediately.

Obesity and age are important factors in the development of diabetes. Also, male cats are more commonly diagnosed with diabetes than female cats. For most diabetic cats, insulin injections are needed to regulate blood glucose.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria travel up the urethra and into the bladder.

UTIs can be very painful for cats. Here are the symptoms:

  • The cat tries to urinate very frequently
  • They may pass only small amounts of urine
  • They may strain to urinate
  • They may whine or cry out while urinating
  • There may be visible blood in their urine
  • The cat may urinate outside the litter box
  • They may lick around the genital region

This condition can be very painful for your cat so it is important that you see your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Cats with diabetes or bladder stones and older female cats are more prone to UTIs than other cats.

With proper treatment, a UTI will usually resolve itself in about a week. To help prevent future problems, try to get your cat to drink more water, keep your cat’s stress level low, and ask your veterinarian if prescription cat food that supports urinary health may be right for your cat.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is one of the most common diseases in older cats, however it can occur at any age. This is a very serious and progressive condition in which the kidneys fail. Decline is gradual as the disease worsens. Left untreated, kidney disease can result in death.

The kidney’s function is to filter, separating out toxins from the body. When 75% or more of the kidney’s tissue fails, kidney disease occurs.

Symptoms of kidney disease include:

  • Drinking more water
  • Urinating more than usual
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Kidney disease is irreversible. The patient may be stable for long periods of time with good treatment, but the disease will ultimately progress. Cats with kidney disease need regular on-going visits with their veterinarians.

Though cats with kidney disease will eventually die from this condition, they can live longer, happier lives with good veterinary treatment.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is very similar to HIV in humans. A cat’s immune system is severely weakened with this disease, making your cat more susceptible to other infections and illnesses.

Cats infected with FIV may not show any symptoms until years after the initial infection has occurred. Symptoms of FIV include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Discharge from the nose or eyes
  • Wounds that don’t heal
  • Weight loss
  • Hair loss

There is no cure for FIV, but the condition can be controlled. Cats with FIV will require lifelong treatment. Infected cats that are receiving medical care and are kept in a stress-free indoor environment can live relatively comfortable lives for months or years before the disease reaches its chronic stages.

Cat Insurance Combats Costs of Common Cat Diseases

Veterinary visits can be quite expensive, so how can you pay for your cat’s health care? One of the best ways to pay for your cat’s veterinary care is to get cat insurance. It’s a great way to make sure your cat gets the care they need without worrying so much about the cost.

At Felix Cat Insurance, we specialize in pet insurance that’s just for cats with three different plan options that provide just the right level of protection at a cost you can afford. Our whisker-to-tail protection covers exam fees, emergency care, accidents, illnesses, hereditary conditions and much more. With Felix Cat Insurance, you can be reimbursed for up to 90% of your out-of-pocket costs. Plans start at less than a dollar a day, so  get a free quote today!

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