Cats are very independent creatures but they still need lots of care. When it comes to their health, knowing what to look out for means you will be more likely to spot when something is wrong and get your cat checked out by a vet if necessary. Read on to find out about the four most common health issues in cats.
Cats are prone to urinary tract infections, also called cystitis. Signs to look for when a cat has a problem, include:
These can also be signs of something more serious, including bladder stones, a blockage or cancer. Early diagnosis will help to identify the cause and make sure that your cat is put on the right course of treatment.
Cat flu is a common illness that can be caused by a virus or bacteria. Symptoms include sneezing and a runny nose, runny eyes and a high temperature. It is extremely contagious in cats and there is no cure. However, it can be prevented through vaccination. Kittens are vaccinated against cat flu when they are eight to nine weeks old and again at three months. They will need an annual booster to help protect them from this infectious disease.
One of the most common causes of skin problems in cats is fleas, which can cause itchy skin. Fleas can be hard to spot, so look for evidence of flea dirt - which are dark specks on your cat’s fur.
Skin problems can also be caused by allergies - this includes being allergic to flea bites, food or environmental triggers like pollen or dust. Cats can also develop skin infections, which look weepy and sore. If your cat has a skin problem, a vet will need to first identify the cause and then advise on the best course of treatment.
Dental disease is another health condition commonly seen in cats, particularly in older cats. If left untreated it can lead to other health issues, such as kidney disease and heart disease. Symptoms to look for include bad breath, mouth pain, eating on one side of their mouth, preferring soft food and weight loss.
If you spot any of these signs, it’s worth getting your cat checked over by a vet. Treatment can include anti-inflammatories for pain relief, antibiotics for an infection and dental surgery for badly diseased teeth.