Cat Disease Symptoms That Go Undetected

The signs and symptoms of cat disease are, in some cases, difficult to detect. Careful observation and knowledge of your cat's regular behaviors combined with regular veterinary checkups can help you spot some of these conditions early and ensure a good outcome.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Many cats suffer from a condition known as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). This syndrome is most often seen in overweight, middle-aged cats but it can afflict cats of any age or size. It is thought to be caused by cystitis, bladder stones or other obstructions.

This condition is easier to spot in an indoor cat because many of the symptoms are associated with litter box use and direct observation of your cat's urine.

Signs of FLUTD:

  • Straining in the litter box;
  • Avoiding the litter box;
  • Passing only small amounts of urine;
  • Blood in the urine.

Caution: Bladder stones can cause a urethral blockage, especially in male cats. This condition is a serious one for your cat. Surgery may be required. If your cat shows any of the above signs combined with obvious agitation and pain, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Prevent feline bladder and urinary tract infections by:

  • Feeding small amounts of wet cat food several times a day;
  • Providing unlimited fresh water;
  • Adding additional water to food.

Dental Disease

Gingivitis and periodontal disease afflict many cats, and the condition is often quite advanced before obvious symptoms appear. Gingivitis-an inflammation of the gums-can, it the early stages, be reversed with descaling and regular brushing.

Gingivitis, if left untreated, can turn into periodontal disease. This can cause infections as well as tooth and jawbone loss. The bacterial infections caused by dental disease can spread throughout the body and have been linked to heart and kidney disease.

Early signs of gingivitis:

  • Red gum line;
  • Dark patches of tartar buildup;
  • Receding gums;
  • Loss of appetite or difficulty eating.

Begin a regular regimen of brushing, concentrating on the gum line. If tartar has already built up thickly, consider a professional descaling.

Kidney Problems

As your cat ages, the kidneys begin to work less efficiently. You may notice an increase in urination, and the urine produced will be pale. Your cat may drink more water than usual. There is no outward sign of pain or illness.

To reduce the stress on your cat's kidneys, especially as she ages, consider a switch to a commercial or homemade diet that supports the kidneys. There are prescription and over-the-counter formulas designed for this purpose. Your veterinarian may recommend additional cat medication to supplement and support her condition.

Cats are stoic by nature and many symptoms will not be obvious without careful observation. To reduce the risk and prevent further complications, check her regularly for these common but hard-to-spot conditions.