The Five Most Common Female Cat Diseases

Learn about five common female cat diseases that may strike your cat without warning. Illness and disease afflict thousands of cats every year, but there are some that female cats are more likely to contract.

Three Cat Diseases Following Pregnancy

Three cat diseases commonly appear after a female cat has given birth. They include:

  • Agalactia

  • Mastitis

  • Metritis

Agalactia occurs when the female cat's body simply doesn't produce enough milk for her offspring. While it doesn't necessarily hurt the mother, the kittens will become dehydrated and malnourished causing their death. Humans will have to step in and take over feeding the kittens if there is not enough milk.

Agalactia is rare in healthy felines who have been fed a proper diet during pregnancy, however, so most pet owners never see it. When it does present itself following birth, it is due to an underlying infection. Pay close attention to your cat after birth and make sure the kittens muzzles show signs of milk after nursing. You should see her teats filled with milk in between feedings.

Mastitis is an infection that occurs when the milk ducts become blocked. Most cases are treated easily if you catch it early. Simply help express the milk with your own hand to get the blockage cleared or have the kittens nurse more frequently. Left untreated, the infected cat's teats will become swollen and sore, sometimes becoming so infected that pus develops and the teat turns purple and distended. Antibiotics are necessary. Kittens can die from bacteria that enters their body when they try to nurse, so have cases of mastitis taken care of immediately.

The final of these three cat diseases occurs when the uterus develops an infection. Usually, it is caused by some of the placental tissue remaining behind after delivery. The placenta begins to decompose within the uterus leading to serious infection. Symptoms include fever, odorous vaginal discharge and lethargy. A hysterectomy is required to save your female cat's life.

Breast Cancer Affects Female Cats

Everyone knows the risk of breast cancer in humans, but some are surprised to learn that female cats have a high risk for developing the disease, commonly referred to as mammary cancer, especially if they are not fixed. Cats that are fixed after going through two heat cycles also have a higher risk

The current odds that an unfixed female cat will develop this cancer is 1 in 4,000. Risks for this cancer double in Siamese cats.

Symptoms of mammary cancer include hard lumps under the skin on the cat's chest. Other symptoms include:

  • Fever

  • Infection

  • Pain

  • Swelling

Pyometra only Affects Unspayed Cats

Many cat diseases are linked to infections. Pyometra is a bacterial infection of the female cat's uterus, specifically in a female that goes through heats without breeding. The bacteria enter the uterus of an unfixed female cat and cause an infection. The uterus fills with pus and expands. If not diagnosed, the uterus erupts leading to internal bleeding, infection and death.

Once pyometra is diagnosed, a complete hysterectomy is necessary to save a cat's life. Having your female spayed is the only way to prevent this disease completely.