Common Cat Illness Symptoms

Know the most common cat illness symptoms ahead of time. By paying attention to your cat's habits and behavior, you'll know if your cat is ill and needs to see the veterinarian or simply having an off day.

Feline Distemper Cat Illness Symptoms

Feline distemper is a viral infection that spreads through contaminated food, water and litter boxes. The disease is preventable providing you get your cat vaccinated.

Kittens are in the most danger of dying from feline distemper because they dehydrate quickly due to their small size.

Cat illness symptoms linked to distemper include:

  • Diarrhea

  • Lack of appetite

  • Refusing to drink water

  • Vomiting

Seek veterinary care because dehydration sets in quickly and is dangerous. IV fluids are often required to keep a cat hydrated. Feline distemper is a hard disease for a cat to survive, but with immediate veterinary care the cat's chances of survival are greater.

Feline Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms

Urinary tract infections are more common in male cats, especially those who have been neutered. They can affect any cat, however, so you should know the signs.

  • Blood in the urine

  • Frequent urination

  • Straining in the litter box

  • Urinating in areas other than the litter box

As the UTI advances, the cat will be lethargic and refuse food and water. Dehydration is a key concern. However, the risk of the infection spreading to the kidneys is even more troubling. It's important to take your cat to the veterinary office when these common cat illness symptoms occur. Your vet should run tests to uncover the reason for the UTI. Often dietary changes will keep a UTI from recurring. Adding cranberry to the pet's diet also helps.

Understanding the Cat Illness Symptoms for Diabetes

Diabetes is affecting more and more cats every year. The disease occurs when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin to maintain proper blood sugar levels. There is no cure and dietary measures are necessary to ensure any quality of life. Depending on the stage of diabetes, insulin may be necessary to properly maintain the blood sugar levels.

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Dull coat

  • Excessive thirst

  • Excessive urination

  • Increased appetite

  • Weight loss

Left untreated, a cat's blood sugars will go out of control causing ketoacidosis. Symptoms include diarrhea, lethargy, muscle weakness and vomiting. It's important to seek veterinary care before ketoacidosis sets in.

Kidney Failure in Cats

Elderly cats often develop kidney failure. The bad news is there is no cure, but with special care, the cat's life can be prolonged. Dialysis is the most common form of treatment for kidney failure.

Symptoms of chronic kidney failure in a cat are:

  • Constipation

  • Lethargy

  • Nausea and/or vomiting

  • Weight loss

Upper Respiratory Cat Illness Symptoms

Few indoor cats develop Feline Upper Respiratory illnesses. To develop this disease that resembles the human cold, a cat must come into contact with an infected cat. Therefore, indoor cats are only exposed if you allow a new cat into the home without any preventative measures. Outdoor cats, however, are at risk.

Symptoms of a feline upper respiratory disease include:

  • Cough

  • Fever

  • Runny nose

  • Sneezing

  • Watery eyes

The biggest dangers to a cat include dehydration and secondary infections such as pneumonia. Pay close attention to your cat. If he becomes lethargic, having problems breathing or isn't drinking much, seek veterinary care.