Common Bacterial Infections in Cats

There are many bacterial infections that your cat can get. It is important to know some of the more common ones, so that you can quickly recognize them, know how to treat them and know when you should take your cat in to see a veterinarian.

Yersinia Pestis

Also known as plague, this is a bacterial infection that is transmitted by rodent fleas, although rodent fleas are not limited to only rodents. There are three forms of the plague in cats and these are:

  • Septicemic. This is when the bacteria enters the bloodstream. It can affect multiple organs.
  • Bubonic. This is when the lymph nodes located near the bitten area become infected.
  • Pneumonic. This is when the bacteria infects the lungs. This can be transmitted to humans from cats.

The symptoms for the plague are as follow:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Discharge from eyes
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Poor coat
  • Swollen tongue
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Swollen abdomen

It is important to know that this disease is very serious and will kill half of the cats that come into contact with it almost immediately. It is possible, however, for antibiotics to be successfully administered if the infection is caught quickly.

Flea control is the best prevention you can give your cat for this condition. It is also important to keep your cat away from wild animals and to keep them from eating the bodies of deceased animals, since the fleas can live and carry the disease for quite a while.


Also known as Cat Scratch Disease, this is a bacterial infection that can be tricky to recognize. Many cats who have this will have no symptoms at all and in fact will appear perfectly healthy and happy. Since this infection is one that can be spread to humans, it is more likely that you will notice symptoms in yourself or those around you before you notice anything wrong with your cat.

If your cat does display symptoms, they are often mild and go away rather quickly. They include:

You can have your cat tested for this infection if you are worried that she has it or even if you just want to make certain that she does not. When it comes to prevention, the best bet is to make certain that your cat is free of both fleas and ticks, as that is how this infection is transmitted.


This is also known as feline hemotropic mycoplasmosis or feline infectious anemia. This is an infection that is carried by fleas and ticks. It attacks the red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body.

As with many infections, some cats may display mild or no symptoms at all of this infection. Cats that do show symptoms, however, might display things such as:

  • Depression
  • Dehydration
  • Anemia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Abnormal heart rates
  • Abnormal respiratory rates
  • Jaundice
  • Eating abnormal objects, such as dirt or litter

When it comes to treating this disease, there are several antibiotics available. Blood transfusions may also be necessary, depending on the presence and severity of anemia.

As far as prevention goes, keeping your cat free of fleas and ticks is the best bet. It is also important to remember that even if this infection is cured, your cat can still be a carrier of it and that it can reoccur if your cat becomes severely stressed.

There are, of course, many other bacterial infections out there. If you suspect that your cat is sick, make certain to get her checked out and treated as soon as possible.