The Most Life-Threatening Cat Health Problems and Symptoms

Knowing the symptoms of life-threatening cat health problems enables you to seek veterinary care early on. Many cat diseases and conditions are treatable, but only with early treatment and preventative care.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis

FIP is always fatal, though there are medications that slow the progression of the virus. This coronavirus enters the body and attacks the lining of the intestines. Common symptoms include anemia, cat fever, diarrhea and vomiting. In many cases, fluid accumulation in the chest cavity and abdomen cause feline pain from the resulting pressure.

Feline infectious peritonitis spreads through the feces of an afflicted cat. Keeping your cat indoors and away from other cat's feces is the best way to prevent the virus from occurring. There is a vaccination available, however there is still ongoing debate over the effectiveness of the vaccine

Feline Leukemia

Feline leukemia virus (FELV) is one of the most common cat health problems in existence. While there are vaccinations available, kittens born to an infected mother usually develop the disease in the womb. Outdoor cats are also likely to contract feline leukemia after fighting with an infected cat.

Feline leukemia is not a death sentence by itself, but it does heighten a cat's susceptibility for other illnesses like cancer and feline infectious peritonitis (FIP).

If your cat is diagnosed with FELV, keep him away from other cats. Make sure the cat is eating a high-protein diet and getting plenty of fresh water every day. Canned food is a great choice. Check your cat regularly for lumps. If tumors are removed early, the cat's lifespan is greatly increased.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease: Urethral Obstruction

Cat health problems involving urethral obstruction occur when minerals and proteins build up in the urethra causing blockages and infection. The signs are hard to detect in the early stages making it difficult to seek early treatment. Frequent urination and blood in the urine are sure signs. Some cats lie in the bathtub or on a tile or linoleum floor and urinate anywhere they want. Others lick their genitals excessively.

Urethral obstruction usually affects male cats more than females. A male, particularly a neutered male, has a long, narrow urethra. Once the urethra plugs up, the kidneys stop filtering toxins from the urine leading to electrolyte imbalances. Within a matter of a day, a cat suffering from urethral obstruction dies from heart failure.

Dietary changes are the best pet cat care problem for cats susceptible to urinary tract disease. Canned foods with low ash and magnesium are best. Making sure your pet drinks plenty of fresh water is equally important for this and many other cat health problems.

Rabies Rare, But Possible

This general pet, but also cat health problem been around for decades and only occurs if an unvaccinated cat is bitten by an infected animal. Indoor cats are unlikely to ever come into contact with a rabid animal, but outdoor cats may frequent be exposed to the saliva of rabid raccoons, bats and foxes. It is law in many states to have your cat vaccinated against rabies whether they stay indoors or not.

The rabies virus attacks the brain and the nervous system. Infected cats may stagger, walk drunkenly and show aggression. If your unvaccinated pet bites another person or pet, he will be quarantined for a number of days to see if he is infected. If he is, he will be killed. Either way, you face serious fines.