Written By : M Samy

Most Common cat health problems symptoms

Most common diseases that cats can have are HCM, Gangliosidosis, feline Leukemia, Coryza, kidney failure, Polycystic syndrome, hyperglycemia, FIV and their symptoms are usually easily detectable and preventable when you pay a little attention to your cat , here is how.

Top known and unknown cat diseases , how to detect them , avoiding them especially if your cat is not insured and what’s the cure ? 

Common cat Diseases and their symptoms

common cat health problems symptoms and how to avoid and treat them

1- HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy) 

It is very common in pet cats… This disease appears because of an infection that affects precisely the heart. This disease is characterized by an abnormal thickening of the heart (swelling). 

What are the symptoms of HCM in cats? 

  • Rapid breathing with short breaths (increased respiratory rate)
  • Difficulty in breathing, which makes the cat not eat too much or even avoid eating.
  • In some cases, vomiting can also be observed.

Why can cats have HCM? 

This symptom (thickening of the heart) is due to a genetic error in the mutation. It can also be a consequence of another disease if your cat has it. 

Which cats can get HCM? 

  • Ragdoll (70% in cats under 2 years old)
  • Maine Coon 

Also in oriental cats: 

  • Persian
  • Himalayan
  • Birman
  • Sphynx
  • Devon rex

This disease is also present in domestic cats. 

Can my cat be cured of HCM?

Fortunately, there is a treatment for this disease. The problem is that sometimes HCM does not show any signs, which gives the opportunity to get worse in the body. 

How to prevent HCM in cats? 

Today there are screening tests from birth to find out if your cat has the possibility to get this disease. Regular monitoring, especially during the first year of life, is necessary in cat breeds at risk for HCM. Diagnosis in advance allows to correct HCM.

2- Coryza 

It is a disease caused by an infection of several viruses like  herpes, Calicivirus and Reovirus. It is also called the cat flu, it is very similar to the human flu. 

What are the signs of Coryza in cats? 

  • Coughing and sneezing, and therefore runny nose and even eyes. 
  • The tongue and mouth become red after ulceration. 
  • The cat loses its sense of smell and taste, so a loss of appetite. 

why do cats get Coryza ? 

Because he has caught the germs and viruses responsible for coryza. And because he is not vaccinated against coryza. 

When should my cat be vaccinated against coryza? 

Your cat should be vaccinated against coryza in the first year, the cat should receive 2 to 3 injections. This depends on the age of the cat when it receives the first vaccination. 

The second injection should be given when the cat is at least 12 weeks old. Afterwards, the veterinarian will advise you on the importance of a booster shot every year.

Quick Note: Never give this vaccine to a cat that already has the disease, it will make the situation worse. Wait for the advice of a veterinarian. 

How to avoid the viruses responsible for coryza in cats ? 

Coryza viruses in cats are very weak in the outdoor environment where there is ventilation. But unfortunately it is difficult to prevent this disease, because it can be in most cases transmitted by the parents if they are carriers of this virus.

These viruses can be transmitted before the birth. To avoid this, it is recommended to supplement the mother during her pregnancy with an amino acid called L-Lysine, but this must be after the advice of a vet. 

Can coryza be transmitted to humans? 

No, fortunately this disease is not transmitted to humans. 

But a person who touches a cat with coryza can pass the disease on to another cat if he touches it. 

Can a cat get coryza from another animal?

This disease is not transmissible between cat-dogs or other animals, but it is transmissible between cat and cat. It is very contagious between cats, even if they are a bit distant, a cat with coryza must be isolated from other cats and put in the open air (garden for example). 

How to treat my cat of coryza naturally without going to the vet? 

It is the same method that humans follow to cure themselves of the flu. It is necessary to give the body more vitamins, especially vitamin C, E and zinc, and a moist diet especially if he has a lack of appetite, because he will have difficulty eating. You must also give him water. 

It is also necessary to give the maximum of antioxidants to your cat, to renew the dead cells. For this, krill oil is very beneficial. 

Cats that are at risk of getting coryza 

All breeds of cats can catch this disease. The most affected cats are those living in community

(cattery, shelter, boarding, breeding,…), kittens (very sensitive) and cats or adults who are not vaccinated. 

3- Polycystic kidney disease 

It’s cysts formed in the kidneys. Like HCM, it’s a genetic disease. it’s also a very common disease in cats. 

What are the signs of polycystic kidney disease in cats? 

Polycystic kidney disease in cats is shown by :

Depression: You notice that your cat stays isolated for a long time. It does not perform its daily activities as before, such as rubbing, clawing, and it does not play with you. 

Lack of appetite: This is another sign of polycystic kidney disease in cats. He completely refuses to eat. 

Drinks too much: He drinks a lot of water, or drinks. 

He urinates too much: Increased volume of urine per day. More than usual. 

Loss of weight: this is obvious after a lack of appetite. 

Why does my cat have Polycystic Kidney Disease?

It is not your fault, nor your cat’s fault. This disease is hereditary, i.e. it is passed on from parents or ancestors to offspring. This disease is due to an error following a genetic mutation. Like HCM and other genetic diseases. 

Which cats can get PKD? 

It is very common in Persians, so they wanted to create a cat breed that looks like the Persian but with a shorthair, unlike the Persian which is longhair, because its hair poses some problems.

So the American breeders crossed the Persian with other cats with short hairs, they obtained thus, of the exotic shorthair and the American shorthair. From that we can understand that the races which are touched of more by PKD are:

  • The Persian 
  • American shorthair
  • Exotic shorthair
  • British shorthair and longhair

These breeds of cats can also get PKD: 

  • American wirehair
  • Burmese
  • Ragdoll
  • Devon rex

Can cats be cured of PKD?

There is a treatment that can calm the signs of PKD , such as giving your cat back its appetite and stopping the vomiting. But unfortunately, there is no specific cure for PKD. Just some points for the owner to consider if their cat has PKD: 

A specific diet that consists of removing from your cats plate the foods that are bad for your cat’s kidneys which are: 

1: Spinach 

Spinach is harmful to the health of the kidneys because it contains a lot of calcium oxalate, which will worsen the situation, just like in humans who have kidney cysts. So avoid pates that contain spinach in them. 

2: dried fruits and oilseeds 

Do not introduce these foods in his plate, they are among the prohibited foods for cats with renal insufficiency or PKD disease. 

3 – Grains

They cause urinary tract infections

Minimize also the carbohydrates in his plate. 

On the other hand, it is necessary to give him high quality proteins, good fat and dairy products. 

4- Feline leukemia 

This is a viral disease, caused by a virus called feline leukemia. It is also a very common disease in cats.  The action of the FLV virus is similar to that of the AIDS virus in humans.

What are the signs of Feline leukemia? 

  • Paralysis 
  • Unnormal voice
  • abortion in pregnant cats, or death of the baby. 

but some stay healthy for years if they are well taken care of and live indoors

Where is the feline leukemia virus found? 

  • Its Mother’s milk
  • Saliva 
  • Nose secretion
  • Fecal excretion
  • Excretions from the eyes 

It survives well in moist atmosphere (feces) at room temperature (e.g., contaminated needles) or in refrigerated blood for transfusions. 

How can I prevent my cat from getting feline leukemia? 

Vaccination is still the best way to prevent this disease. Information about the vaccine should be obtained from your veterinarian.  Two doses of vaccine should be given one month apart. A booster is then given every year. 

How can I prevent my cat from feline leukemia without going to the vet? 

This virus dies directly by care products such as soap, disinfection water, it does not resist to heat and drying. 

So if you have a doubt that it is affected, you must give your cat warm milk if it refuses to take it, give it to him in a well disinfected syringe. 

Because this virus starts its infection in the throat and all that surrounds it. So this heat will kill it before it does its effects. 

Is this disease transmissible between cats and humans? 

Feline leukemia is not a zoonosis. This means that it is not transmissible between cats and humans. But it is transmissible between all cat breeds of pet and outdoor cats. It is not transmissible between cats and other animal species. 

How to treat feline leukemia? 

The sad news! There is no treatment today for feline leukemia. 

On the other hand, there are medications that allow in some cases the remission or in any case to offer better living conditions to the cat, by strengthening its immune system.

Give your cat a healthy and good quality food , avoid raw food or unsterilized milk. The food of your cat in case of feline leukemia must be well cooked to avoid the transmission of parasites and viruses. 

5- Diabetes 

Diabetes, as you know, is a high level of glucose in your cat’s blood.  It is called hyperglycemia when you measure with a glucometer and you will find a blood sugar level higher than 16 mmol/l. 

Signs of diabetes in cats 

Like humans: He drinks a lot of water, he urinates too much, and slimming despite a good appetite. 

Why does my cat have diabetes? 

There are many reasons for diabetes in cats , they are too similar to those of humans. 

  • Genetics 
  • Obesity 
  • Certain long term treatments (some treatments that contain sugar and can cause hyperglycemia, in this case you must minimize the sugar intake for your cat to avoid diabetes)
  • Pancreatic damage due to infection.
  • Hormonal problems
  • Heredity is not among the causes of diabetes mellitus in cats. 

What is the treatment of diabetes in cats? 

Insulin is the basic treatment for diabetes in cats. 

Then there is the so-called natural treatment 

Taking care of his diet 

A cat with diabetes should be fed a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet. The meal is also presented just before the injection. On the other hand, cats suffering from obesity must lose weight and therefore benefit from a strict diet until they have reached their ideal weight.

Physical activity: 

Cats don’t like to move around too much, so you should give him something to play with several times a day. If he refuses to play, it’s not necessarily because he’s tired, but it’s his lazy nature.

When he stops playing, take him out for a walk for at least 15 minutes and let him rest every 5 minutes. 

Physical activity plays an important role in controlling blood sugar. It also has a hypoglycemic effect. Keep him moving and walking regularly. This will prevent your cat from staying awake during the whole night to.

Can my cat die from diabetes? 

Diabetes in cats is not dangerous enough. With proper management, insulin, a good diet and regular exercise, he can have a normal life. 

How to prevent cat diabetes? 

It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Don’t let your cat sleep all day, he needs to move around and do moderate physical activity regularly. 

After that , give him only 33% sugar in his diet. The cat needs to eat much more protein of high biological value, meat, fish, good fat, plain dairy products, and vegetables as well. 

6- Gangliosidosis 

This is a rare and not very well known genetic disease that affects cats. It is the accumulation of fat in the cat’s body because the cat does not have an enzyme that will break down the fat. 

So these fatty substances will reside in the cat’s cells which will cause problems with your cat’s functionality. 

What are the signs of gangliosidosis in cats? 

  • Loss of vision
  • An unbalanced gait
  • Difficulty moving 
  • lack of concentration
  • weight loss

Which cat breed can have gangliosidosis 

There are two types of Gangliosidosis: each type affects different breeds of cats. 

Gangliosidosis type 1 Usually affects

  • Korat (it is the most affected by this disease) 
  • Siamese
  • The Bombay 
  • oriental shorthair

The last two are less affected by Gangliosidosis than the Korat and the Siamese. 

The gangliosidosis type 2 affects : 

The Korat cat

Burmeses ( American Burmese & British Burmese )

Is gangliosidosis very dangerous? 

Unfortunately yes. Gangliosidosis is a fatal disease. and it has no cure. The only thing the vet usually recommends is a reduced sugar diet. And to keep your cat away from any kind of stress, don’t force him to move when he doesn’t want to. 

7- FIV ( Cats Immune deficiency ) 

The AIDS of cats. It is one of the most known and frequent diseases in cats caused by the FIV virus. Cats during this disease, lose a lot of immune capacity, so they will be an open door for viral and infectious diseases because there is no solid defense. 

What are the signs of FIV in cats?

No signs at the beginning of contamination, which is dangerous. But we can notice : 

  • Decrease of performance
  • Fever
  • Several months or years later, you may notice that your cat has FIV by the following signs
  • Deterioration of its health condition 
  • Remarkable weight loss
  • Tumors 
  • Loss of appetite

At this stage, the cat doesn’t have a strong immune system, so it may have repeated infections, which can be very damaging to its health. 

So to avoid this, once you notice that your cat has diarrhea or a fever, you take her to a veterinarian. You take him to a veterinarian. 

Take your cat’s temperature at least once a week, even if it is in good condition. 

How is the FIV virus transmitted in cats? 

This virus is transmitted through the saliva of cats. Therefore, biting and mating is the most common method of transmission of FIV in cats.

Can FIV be transmitted from a cat to a human? 

It is true that FIV resembles the human AIDS virus, but the FIV virus is specific to cats and is not transmitted to humans. Even if you have a dog or other pet, the FIV virus is only transmitted between cats. 

How can I prevent my cat from getting FIV? 

Unneutered male cats are especially at risk for FIV when they have access to the outdoors, where they may encounter other cats and fight with them. 

So don’t let him go out alone, always be with him when your cat is outside the same goes for the female. 

The virus is not resistant to disinfectants, like soaps. That’s why it’s best to shower your cat every week, even though it’s not dirty. 

What is the treatment for FIV in cats? 

The vaccine against FIV exists in some countries, like the United States, Australia and New Zealand. 

But unfortunately some countries don’t have it. This is the best way to prevent this virus. 

Medical treatment is also possible but not very effective against this virus. 

Is the FIV virus so dangerous? 

Yes it is a serious disease, like AIDS it is an open door for all other serious diseases, tumors and then it can be fatal if not taken care of. 

8- kidney failure

Another very common kidney disease is kidneys that have lost their proper function. This means that the kidneys are not working properly.

What are the signs of kidney failure in cats? 

  • The cat drinks a lot of water
  • She/he urinates a lot 
  • Noticeable weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Sometimes vomiting

Why can a cat have kidney failure? 

This disease is hereditary. If it is present in the parents, or ancestors, it can be passed on to the offspring.

It can also be congenital, i.e. malformation at birth. 

It can also be acquired: that is to say following an infection or a complication of another disease. Kidney failure usually comes as a complication of diabetes in the absence of proper management.  

Does kidney failure in a cat cause pain? 

Not all the time, but it can have bad breath sometimes.  A cat with kidney failure can live normally as long as he is not stressed, do not force him to do what he does not want, or eat what he does not want to eat. So, pay attention to its diet, and its medication. 

Can a cat die from kidney failure? 

Yes. At an advanced stage and without proper care and management, an adult cat can lose its kidney function altogether. The kidneys can no longer eliminate toxins from the body, so they will accumulate in the bloodstream and cause death. 

How do you care for a cat with kidney failure? 

There are several treatments to calm and avoid complications of kidney failure: this is the cat.  The main treatment is based on a suitable diet low in protein and phosphorus, increased water intake, foods rich in good fat. 

Good foods for a cat with cat kidney failure

High quality protein food 

  • Grass Fed chicken 
  • Grass Fed eggs 
  • Grass Fed beef 
  • Lean fish (sardines) 
  • Crustaceans and mollusks 

These foods are rich in protein, are not prohibited. But to limit their consumption. 

Foods rich in omega 3 

  • Sardines, salmon, mackerel, cod liver oil. 
  • Foods rich in antioxidants 
  • Foods rich in antioxidants are very important for a cat with kidney failure, because it needs to renew its dead kidney cells.

Foods for cats rich in oxidants

Blueberries: For those who don’t know, blueberries are a small, round fruit among the foods that cats love!  

Melon is also rich in antioxidants and can be easily eaten by cats. However, it is necessary to make him accustomed to this taste from childhood.

It is especially important to pay attention to its salt intake. Do not buy too salty. Avoid canned food and meat products. 

It is necessary to take care of a good hygiene of food. Wash everything you feed him well, wash his water jar, and change his water at least twice a day. You must limit the toxins that enter his body to help his kidneys. 

9- Typhus 

This is a viral disease (due to a virus), this disease has nothing to do with human typhus which are bacterial diseases. This infectious disease causes an infection in the digestive tract of the cat. 

What are the signs of typhus in cats? 

  • Fever
  • lack of appetite
  • increased heartbeat
  • vomiting and diarrhea
  • Weakness. 

Why can a cat get typhus? 

The cat catches the virus that causes typhus and gets sick. Cats can get typhus through the fetus or by sniffing or ingesting material contaminated with the virus (feces, saliva, vomit). 

The typhus virus can be carried on the soles of shoes or through contaminated clothing. 

Is there a treatment for typhus? 

There is no specific treatment for typhus, but there are effective treatments to calm it down and prevent complications. 

The only effective way to prevent typhus is through vaccination. Fortunately, there is an effective vaccine against cat typhus. 

Can typhus be treated naturally without going to the vet? 

Unfortunately no, there is no natural treatment for cat typhus.  Only a veterinary treatment can give you the best chance to save your cat.

Is cat typhus really that dangerous? 

It is a highly contagious disease. Only those who are treated and monitored regularly and seriously can survive. According to recent statistics, the survival rate is 51%. That’s why you should vaccinate your cat from birth against typhus.

How to prevent my cat from typhus? 

Apart from the vaccine, there are hygiene measures. This virus is present in the saliva, feces, and vomit of an affected cat, so to prevent your cat, you must isolate it from outdoor cats and avoid contact with them, do not let it go out alone. 

Be careful! a cat can be contaminated by staying all the time at home, touching for example clothes that carry this virus, especially if you have just touched another cat that you do not know.  

The cat typhus virus is sensitive to disinfectants such as disinfectant water.

What Cat breed has a greatest health ? 

The British Shorthair, has a robust health, it gets very little sick. It is the breed of cats that has less disease. it is a cat, loyal and friendly, and among the cats of apartment. 

However, this depends on the environment of your British Shorthair cat, the medical history, and its parents. 

The Siberian cat is also a breed of cat that gets very little sick and has a robust health. 

Final Tips 

Finally, to avoid any health problems, you should always pay attention to your cat, so that you know the signs of illness early and can treat it before the disease invades your cat’s body.

It is also necessary to check the temperature of your cat at least every week, to make him a shower also every week, to verify when he poops if he has diarrhea or not, especially if it is a breed of cat predisposed to such a disease or he is not vaccinated.

M Samy pet blogger and author at famillypet

About Author

Hey! M. Samy here , Welcome to my Blog I'm an animal lover, especially pets and Really concerned about their well being ; I've been around and caring for all my life and Now ; a full-time Pet blogger at your service . My motto here at Famillypet is: "Pets First" ... Read More