Common Cat Health Symptoms

There are several cat health symptoms that a cat will likely experience in his lifetime. These relate to such bodily systems as the urinary tract, bladder and kidneys, the upper and lower respiratory systems, the thyroid and the immune system. The following will discuss symptoms to watch out for in each area, as well as symptoms that require an immediate trip to the vet.

Urinary Tract Symptoms

A cat's urinary tract can become infected or develop what's called cystitis. In either case, there are telltale signs to watch for. If you are aware of your cat's regular elimination habits, you'll notice when something is unusual. If your cat suddenly seems to be running back and forth to the litter box, he might be feeling excess pressure on the urinary tract, making him think he has to urinate. The output, however, will be much less than usual and might have an even more foul smell when urine is passed.

You may also notice your cat straining in the box or going outside the box. This means he's experiencing some pain and struggle with elimination and is beginning to develop a negative association to the box itself. The urine itself may contain blood or mucus, which is a sure sign that you should call the vet.

Bladder and Kidney Problems

In addition to the above symptoms, a cat with bladder or kidney problems may exhibit other symptoms. The bladder can become obstructed, causing extreme pain. If you notice your cat yowling or acting very skittish and bizarre, call the vet immediately, even if you're not sure it's a bladder obstruction. The vet will also be able to feel that the bladder is enlarged, to help with diagnosis. In kidney disease, the cat may feel abdominal pain. He may be very sensitive to the touch on his abdomen and sides.

Respiratory Symptoms

Cats can develop infections or catch viruses that will affect their upper and lower respiratory systems. Your cat will make a coughing, hacking sound or sneeze several times in a short time, like within a half hour. His breathing may sound different because of a stuffed up nose. If he seems to be struggling to breathe or gasping for air, get veterinary help immediately.

Thyroid Symptoms

Cats can develop an overactive or underactive thyroid gland. The thyroid is responsible for producing hormones that regulate any number of systems, including metabolism and heart rate. A cat with hypothyroidism has an underachieving thyroid gland. He'll seem to gain weight easily and may seem lethargic and even listless. He might have unexplained weight gain. In hyperthyroidism, the cat will eat and drink excessively but stay extremely thin. His heart rate may feel rapid. Both of these issues require medical attention.

Signs of a Weakened Immune System

A weakened immune system will show a variety of cat health symptoms. He may have fluid or mucus coming from his eyes, or may have a foul smell coming from the ears, which have become infected. He could also be lethargic or unable to eat and drink as usual. Have a vet assess the severity of an immune system issue if it doesn't abate after 3 days, or if more emergency symptoms develop.