Whats wrong with my cat?

10 common cat ailmentsCredit: http://www.catnews.org/common_cat_ailments.php

Today, we will look at 10 common cat ailments that can affect our favorite feline friends.  Cats have been domesticated for thousands of years. Over the years, their relationship with humans has evolved. Today, they are often considered a part of the family. When they get sick or are suffering, the whole family suffers with them.


1.   Trauma

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One of the most common of the 10 common ailments is trauma. Cats are very prone to injuries received in fights and when hit by cars. During mating seasons, cats will fight with other males and during the act of mating the male will bite down on the female's neck, possibly causing injuries. Cats also get into fights with dogs. These are emergency situations where the cat should be rushed to the veterinarian or the veterinary hospital as soon as possible. It is easy in these cases to have internal injuries that can have fatal consequences.


2.   Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) - 10 common cat ailmentsCredit: http://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/2009/03/articles/animals/cats/urinary-tract-infections-part-ii-cats/

Feline Lower Urinary Tract disease is actually a variety of ailments that can attack the feline urinary tract. It is characterized by painful urination and or presence of blood in the urine. Middle-aged cats that are overweight, eat dry food and have little access to the outdoors are most likely to come down with this ailment. It can be caused by such diseases as Feline Idiopathic Cystitis or Urolithiasis or urinary stones which may be one of the causes of the potentially fatal condition, urethral obstruction.


3.   Skin Problems

Skin Problems - 10 common cat ailmentsCredit: http://www.catsofaustralia.com/cat-abscess.htm

There are a number of skin problems that can affect the cat that range anywhere from fungal to bacterial. They can also get secondary infections due to the scratching with their very sharp claws.  Fungal infections are also quite common. Care must be taken with skin diseases because it is possibly a zoonosis, which means that it could be transmitted to humans.


4.   External Parasites

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Three common external parasites are fleas, mites and ticks. Cats can develop Flea Allergy Dermatitis (F.A.D.), which is basically an allergic reaction to flea bites. Fleas can also be a part of the transmission of tapeworms.


5.   Internal Parasites - Worms

Internal Parasites - Worms - 10 common cat ailmentsCredit: http://www.tape-worm.info/

Like dogs, cats can also be infested by worms. There are all kinds of worms that can infect cats including stomach worms, hookworms, tapeworms and roundworms. These worms can cause a variety of symptoms depending on the type of worm and where they are located. Most common are the gastrointestinal variety which can cause coughing, dull coat, vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, among other symptoms.


6.   Obesity

Obesity - 10 common cat ailmentsCredit: http://adobeveterinarycenter.blogspot.com/2011/07/10-signs-of-illness-in-cats.html

Obesity is one of the 10 most common cat ailments caused mostly by diet and lack of exercise. If a cat is fed a high energy diet and does no exercise, it will gain weight. There are other predisposing factors such as genetics and castration. Just as some humans have a tendency to put on weight, some cats have the genetic predisposition as well. This is especially true of mixed breed cats. Castration may also play a part in gaining weight in cats insomuch as it alters the metabolism. 


7.   Diabetes

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Diabetes goes hand in hand with the one before, obesity, but is so important that it deserves to be highlighted. This disease is very similar to the one in humans where the cat's body does not produce enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is responsible for transporting glucose into cells. If there isn't enough, the cells become starved for energy. Cats with diabetes are treated with insulin injections and dietary changes.


8.   Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism - 10 common cat ailmentsCredit: http://www.healthypawspetinsurance.com/blog/tag/cat-hyperthyroidism/

Hyperthyroidism is a common disease that affects the endocrine system, meaning that it affects the system of hormones. The thyroid is part of the endocrine system and it is responsible for a whole host of functions, including metabolism and even heart rate and blood pressure. When this gland enters into overproduction of hormones, it is called hyperthyroidism. It can be caused by a tumor. This condition can be treated with medication, surgery or radioactive-iodine therapy. The choice is made normally based on the condition of the kidney and liver function.


9.   Trichobezoar Versus Vomiting

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A trichobezoar is a hairball. This is a natural occurrence that happens because hair builds up in the stomach when the cat grooms itself and needs to be periodically removed. This can happen about once a week. It is important because it can cause an intestinal obstruction. Vomiting on the other hand is a common problem that is normally related to the stomach and upper intestinal tract. There can be many, many reasons from pancreatitis to kidney problems or even gastritis from something they ate. Vomit will have partially digested food particles in it or yellow bile whereas a hairball will be a wet wad of hair.


10. Respiratory Problems

Respiratory Problems - 10 common cat ailmentsCredit: http://www.methodsofhealing.com/top-5-cat-ailments/

This is actually a generalized condition. Cats can get respiratory problems that can be chronic or acute. There can be a number of causes including allergies, parasites, tumors, abscesses or even fungus.  Three common diseases include asthma, pleural effusion, and bronchitis. Respiratory distress is an emergency situation and you should get any cat that experiences it to the veterinary fast.



4-H Companion Animal Health, Purdue University. Common Cat Diseases and Health Problems. 2003

Proceeding of the LAVC Latin American Veterinary Conference Oct. 16-19, 2009 – Lima, Peru.  FLEA ALLERGY DERMATITIS: STILL THE MOST COMMON SMALL ANIMAL DISEASE ON THE PLANET!