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7 Cat Health Issues You Should Know About

Jordan SteinbergMar 29, 2017

Humans, especially those in their adolescence, generate what is called a ‘personal fable’. In English, this means that a young person believes that they are the center of collective attention, which derives feelings of invulnerability and immortality. 

While it may sound a bit sociopathic, it is actually exceedingly common among young people. Sociologically, these feelings of invulnerability my extend beyond the self. Children, for instance, cannot conceive of their parents’ death. Within that sphere, pet’s may receive that same line of thought.

Despite that, however, our pets are not invincible. Just because they are our best friends does not mean that they are prone to the same health foibles as we are. Honing in on cats, there are seven health issues an owner should be aware of in order to keep it healthy. These issues are as follows:

  • Vomiting/Diarrhea
  • Fleas
  • Urinary Tract Disease
  • Tapeworms
  • Eye Problems
  • Kidney Disease
  • Fractures

Common health issues in cats

1. Vomiting/Diarrhea

Bear in mind that vomit and diarrhea are both extremely common. While It would be a disservice to do nothing, your first instinct shouldn’t be to panic. The real problem with these is in their longevity. While one quick case of either can be written off as a poor reaction to something eaten, multiple cases can be indicative of something worse.

Excessive vomiting can be cause by poison, infection and hairballs, as well as a wide array of other factors. The same goes for diarrhea, where internal bleeding can play a part if the excrement is off-color. In and of themselves, most causes can be overcome. As with humans, it is important to avoid dehydration, as that can be where the real problems begin. So, be sure to monitor the situation, and make sure to keep your cat hydrated in the interim.

2. Fleas

A couple things to bear in mind when it comes to fleas — They are very common in our fuzzy friends, and they are parasites. Being so common, the associated symptoms are well-documented. They include:

  • Red or irritated skin where present
  • Hair loss in infected areas
  • Frequent licking and scratching
  • Visible eggs and excretion

By and large, it’s the eggs that need to be attacked. If they are killed, then obviously no new fleas can be born. Most treatments will find a way to attack both the eggs and adults in one fell swoop. When coming up with a plan of attack, be sure to consult your vet in order to ensure that the proper products are used.

3. Urinary Tract Disease

Statistically speaking, urinary tract diseases are common in felines. Due to this, it’s important to be informed on the matter, in terms of signs, symptoms and resolution strategies. The symptoms include the following:

  • Bloody Urine
  • Obvious Urinary discomfort (i.e. licking, crying or visible strain)
  • Vomiting

To treat urinary tract diseases, it’s important to recognize these symptoms, as the specifics will help determine the appropriate strategy. Despite it’s commonality, urinary tract disease is not something to be taken lightly. Urethral blockage, for instance, can end in the death of your pet. 

4. Tapeworms

Another parasite, tapeworms commonly occur in cats. Usually caused by swallowing of a flea, it is best to check for a flea infestation prior to tackling the tapeworm issue.  

Once the fleas have been dealt with, check for tapeworm symptoms. These may include noticeable weight loss and vomiting. Furthermore, in examining your cat’s feces, you may notice what looks like tiny white pellets. These are bits of the tapeworm itself, and an obvious telltale sign. 

5. Eye Problems

While eye problems are certainly more common in breeds with ‘squished’ facial features, there is a high likelihood in the species altogether. Just a few of the possible eye dysfunctions are conjunctivitis, trauma, glaucoma, infection and retinal disease a la degeneration. 

Being so common, it’s best to be on the watch for signs and symptoms. Until properly identified, your vet will be unable to treat the underlying cause. In the spirit of watchfulness, they can manifest as any of the following:

  • Excessive tearing
  • Eye cloudiness
  • Discoloration around the eyelid
  • Obvious discomfort on the cat’s part (i.e. rubbing)
  • An unusual amount of drainage in the corners

6. Kidney Disease

Depending on the age of your cat, kidney disease can become a possible reality. Becoming more likely as time passes, kidney disease is typically caused by kidney stones, blood pressure, infection or cancer. That said, it is eminently treatable if discovered early and properly dealt with. Should it only be identified in the late stages, however, dialysis or transplants may need to be considered.

The first step is to know what you’re looking for. Broadly speaking, kidney disease indicates the loss of the kidney’s ability to filter toxins by way of urine release. As the toxins build up, your pet will begin to display the symptoms of illness. These include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased Appetite 

7. Fractures

Despite the saying, cats don’t always land on their feet. In fact, sometimes a fall can result in bone fractures or injury. Typically, this happens when a cat lacks the time to adjust itself mid-fall. As such, short-distance falls can cause more injury than longer ones. 

In the unfortunate event that your cat falls, check to to make sure it's ok. If your pet subsequently limps, whimpers to the touch or stops moving, it is critical to get it to the nearest animal emergency hospital posthaste. Cats generally have speedy recovery times, so they aren’t out of the action for too long.

Insurance can help keep your cat healthy

Being so common, be careful not to think that these health issues are exclusive to one breed or another. That said, if you think you’re beloved pet is at excessive risk, or if you’d rather the peace of mind, then pet insurance could be worth considering. 

As long as the conditions above have not manifested prior to coverage, don’t worry about not being covered. Your pet will be safe! If this sounds up your alley, our top 10 pet insurance providers would be happy to help.