Tuesday, January 15, 2013

6 Common Cat Health Problems

Cats are good at self maintenance, but even your fastidious feline can't prevent some of the more common cat diseases and health issues. To help you care for kitty, here's a brief overview of six of the most common cat health problems.

Common Cat Health Problem: VOMITING

Vomiting is a very common cat health problem, with causes ranging from eating something poisonous or inedible, to infection, urinary tract disease or diabetes.

Symptoms are usually obvious and include drooling and abdominal heaving. Vomiting can quickly leave your cat dehydrated, so if kitty continues vomiting or acts ill, call your vet right away. And, because between vomiting and regurgitation, collect a sample of your cat's vomit and take it with you to the vet.

Common Cat Health Problem: Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases (FLUTD)

About 10% of cats brought to the vet have feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), which is actually a group of feline diseases with multiple causes.

Female and male cats can get FLUTD, and it often occurs in cats that are overweight, unfit or who eat dry food.
FLUTD Symptons include:

  • Straining to urinate 
  • Bloody urine 
  • Urinating in unusual places 
  • Crying with urinating
  • Licking around the urinary area 
  • Depression
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
It's ALWAYS an emergency if your cat can't urinate. Call your vet immediately if you suspect your cat has a urinary tract problem. 

Common Cat Health Problem: Fleas 

Fleas are a very common external feline health problem, but one you can treat easily. Signs your cat has fleas include: 
  • Flea Dirt on their skin
  • Constant scratching
  • Frequent licking 
  • red skin 
  • hair loss 
  • skin infections
Fleas can live for more than a year and your cat risks anemia if the problem becomes serious. 

One of the most common feline health problems inside your cat, tapeworms, live in kitty's small intestine, sometimes growing as long as two feet. 

Symptoms of a tapeworm infection can be subtle, but may include vomiting and weight loss. 

Common Cat Health Problem: Diarrhea 

Many things can cause diarrhea in cats, including hairballs, spoiled food, allergies, infection, liver disease, cancer, and more. 
If your cat has diarrhea, offer kitty plenty of fresh, clean water to prevent dehydration, then remove kitty's food for no more than 12-24 hours. 
Take your cat to the vet if he/she still has diarrhea after a day or if you notice vomiting, dark or bloody stools, fever, lethargy, lack of appetite. 

Sources: American Veterinary Medical Association 
"External Parasites," What is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease?" 

Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County: "About FLUTD 

Suevet.com "Cat Vomiting" 

ASPCA: "Fleas," "Worms" "Diarrhea," "Top Tips for Keeping Kitty's Eyes Healthy."