Common House Cat Health Problems

A house cat is susceptible to a number of health problems. Being aware of these and the possible symptoms can help you detect a potential problem as early as possible and have a healthy cat.


Hairballs occur due to the frequent grooming and the ingestion of hair while grooming. Hair is not easily digested by the cat’s system and may mix with other foods and from hairballs; these may be coughed up, but may also cause an intestinal occlusion.


The parasites may lodge in the cat’s fur or in the cat’s intestinal tract. Fleas, ticks, roundworms, tapeworms or hookworms commonly affect cats. These parasites may be eliminated through topical treatments or dewormers.

The symptoms of parasites include itchiness, weight loss, pot-bellied appearance, dull coat, vomiting or diarrhea.


Vomiting is a common problem in house cats. Vomiting may be caused by various reasons ranging from a severe illness to a simple indigestion. If the vomiting episodes are chronic, a vet should be consulted.

Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria and may often occur in cats. A urinary infection may be signaled by inappropriate urination, more frequent urination in reduced amounts or straining to urinate.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease may be caused by a dry food diet, old age or may also be genetic. Kidney failure is a serious problem in cats and may be fatal.

Symptoms of kidney problems include an increased thirst, reduced urination, pale gums and lethargy.


Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the eye membrane and may occur in cats due to different irritants from the environment. The symptoms of conjunctivitis include red, irritated eyes, often with transparent discharges.

Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections in cats may be caused by viruses or bacteria. The infection affects the upper respiratory tract but may also extend to the lungs. A respiratory infection may also be signaled by sneezing, coughing, fever or lack of appetite. An untreated respiratory infection may be fatal in kittens or cats with a compromised immune system.

Ear Mites

Ear mites are parasites that will cause a lot of discomfort in a cat. These are highly contagious causing frequent head shaking, scratching and secondary bacterial or fungal infections.

Gum and Dental Problems

Gum and dental problems may occur in cats with a poor dental hygiene. Tooth decay and gum disease are very common in domestic cats over the age of 3. For this reason, it is important to brush your cat’s teeth on a regular basis and get a professional teeth cleaning once per year.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)

The feline leukemia virus (FeLV) may cause a fatal disease in cats. However, there is a vaccine available, which may prevent the occurrence of the virus.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

The feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is caused by the corona virus. A cat with FIP will display symptoms of flu: sneezing, ocular and nasal discharges or diarrhea and lethargy.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

The feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) will weaken the immune system of a cat making him more susceptible to diseases. The virus may be transmitted through saliva.

The secondary diseases may be fatal in cats with FIV.