Symptoms of Bartonella in Cats

Bartonella, so named because it is caused by a bacteria of the same name, is also known as cat-scratch disease. This infection can develop in cats and can easily be passed along to humans. While most diseases that your pets may suffer from are generally not able to pass to you and the other people in your household, cat-scratch disease can. It's therefore important that you recognize the symptoms of this disease in your pet as early as possible, so that you're better able to control the disease before you or anyone else in your home contracts it from your cat. Read on for a list of bartonella symptoms in cats.


Cat-scratch disease is also often referred to as cat-scratch fever, because it causes a fever in both animals and humans. You can use an at-home veterinary thermometer to check your pet's temperature, or you can have a vet do it for you if you don't have the equipment or the expertise necessary to do so. Keep in mind that a healthy cat will have a temperature between about 100.5 degrees and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If your cat's temperature is higher thatn 102.5, he has a fever.

Swollen Lymph Nodes

It's easy for the bartonella bacteria to infect a number of different parts of your pet's body. One of these is the lymph nodes. Your pet has lymph nodes in various places throughout his body, though it may be easiest to recognize the lymph nodes in his neck when those are swollen. Palpate the nodes gently if they appear to be swollen, to confirm that it isn't your pet's fur.

Red Eyes

The bartonella bacteria can infect your pet's eyes. The result is a minor eye infection, or a case of uveitis. The result is that your pet will have a reddish tint to one or both of his eyes. It's not uncommon to see some tearing or discharge in these cases as well.


Cats suffering from bartonella have been known to have intestinal difficulties. These often include bouts of vomiting and generally being unable to keep the food that they eat down.

Loss of Appetite

Prolonged loss of appetite is one of the more serious symptoms of cat-scratch disease. If your pet continues to avoid eating, he may lose weight and become malnourished. As this happens, your pet will have a harder time fighting off the spread of the bartonella bacteria in his system, because his immune functions will be impaired.

If you notice these symptoms or any others that are unusual for your pet, take him in to the vet for a prompt examination. Bartonella can be remedied through an appropriate antibiotic treatment regimen, though you'll need to have your vet properly diagnose the condition before you can begin treatment.