Cat Disease FAQ

Cat disease can either be genetic, nutritional or caused by parasites or pathogens. Most diseases have some type of cure, and for ones that are incurable, things can still be done to improve the cat's comfort. Most cat diseases can be cured at home with simple over the counter treatments, but if you think your cat is seriously ill, it's better to get advice from your veterinarian.

What Are Some Common Cat Diseases?

The most common genetic problem in cats is food allergies. You can tell if your cat is allergic to her food if there is some type of consistent, negative reaction whenever she eats. If you think your cat is allergic to its food, try a different kind with different ingredients.

A common nutritional problem with cats is diabetes, which is a deficiency or overabundance of blood sugar. If your cat has diabetes, you will have to carefully monitor what she eats, and you may have to give daily shots.

A parasite that usually attacks cats is the tapeworm, which lives in the intestines and feeds on nutrients that the cat has eaten. Tapeworms can be very uncomfortable for a cat, and can prevent her from getting nutrients out of the food, often making the cat very skinny even though she seems to be eating well.

Diseases caused by pathogens that are common in cats are urinary tract disease, feline immunodeficiency virus or simple fevers.

When Should I Call the Vet?

Most health problems with cats can be treated with a little internet research and some over the counter medicine. Minor cat diseases, such as small fevers, tapeworms or fleas, are easy to deal with on your own. However, if your cat is displaying very serious symptoms, such as blood in the urine, it may be impossible for you to solve the problem yourself.

A good rule of thumb is that if the health problem does not seem to be significantly affecting your cat's behavior, it's not a serious condition. If your cat's behavior is seriously affected, and she's in obvious discomfort, it's best to call in the professionals.

What if My Cat is Losing Hair?

Since cats are naturally furry animals, hair loss may seem alarming, but it's usually not a serious problem.

Cats with fleas or mites tend to bite their skin, to relieve the itching caused when the insects suck their blood. These parasites can easily be dealt with at home by using a flea comb and other flea-removal products.

If your cat is losing a lot of fur due to itching, it may be caused by mange, which makes the cat's skin very itchy. This is an uncomfortable disease and should be dealt with by a veterinarian.

What if My Cat Has Bad Breath?

Most cats are small enough that they don't have the lung capacity to produce the amount of breath needed for a human to notice any smell. If the cat has bad teeth, its breath could become very pungent. Since the only cause of bad breath in felines is tooth decay, the only way to avoid it is to regularly clean her teeth.

Brush the teeth gently with a brush with a small head. Toothbrushes designed for small puppies work well. Do not use toothpaste that was made for humans.

Cats are usually very healthy, as they are well fed and taken care of. However, if your cat does become sick, you should watch for symptoms, and try to determine what's wrong.