The Most Common Cat Health Problems & How To Treat Them

a white kitten with big green eyes

A lot of the health problems in this article are so common that there’s a pretty high chance that your cat may encounter at least one of them in their lifetime. That being said, it might be a good idea to brush up on some of them and take note of what to do to help treat your cat if they ever run into these issues. If that sounds good to you, we can go ahead and get started. 

In this article we’re going to discuss:

  • Vomiting
  • Fleas
  • Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
  • Tapeworms
  • Hairballs
  • Upper Respiratory Infections
  • Conclusion
A kitten looks off into the distance while laying on a blanket.
The more you know about these conditions, the more likely you’ll be prepared for whatever the world throws at your cat. None of the conditions in this article are rare or very difficult to treat, so if you find that your cat may be dealing with one of these health challenges, it isn’t the end of the world. 


One of the messier ones on the list

If you notice your cat throwing up inside or outside of your home it could be a sign of various different issues that may be the cause. It’s almost common knowledge that cats are no strangers to vomiting on occasion. Symptoms of vomiting are more visually obvious things such as drooling, or heaving. If your cat is vomiting up undigested food every once in a while, it’s most likely not something you should be concerned about. However, vomiting that is occurring multiple times a day or has blood in it you should definitely take your cat on a trip to see the vet. Vomiting could be an indicator of organ failure or diabetes, so it’s important to pay attention to how frequently it occurs.  


Unwanted pests that may live in your cat’s fur

These pesky parasites can even get to your indoor cat. Fleas are a common problem for all different types of animals and they happen to spread unfortunately fast. Fleas jump from host to host rather quickly and can live for up to a year so it’s important to catch your cat’s case early on. 

Symptoms of fleas include:

  • Constant scratching
  • Hair loss
  • Flea eggs or dirt in their fur
  • Red or irritated skin
  • Hot spots or skin infections
  • Flea excretions or flea dirt

Some common ways to treat fleas include:

  • Cat flea-control products
  • Insecticides to treat your home and your cat’s belongings
  • 30-day flea treatments

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

This one’s more common than you may think

Approximately 3% of cats get feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). FLUTD is a condition that affects the urethra and bladder of the cat in ways that can be rather painful. Both male and female cats can develop FLUTD, and it can lead to your cat being unable to urinate which is an emergency situation.

Some symptoms of FLUTD include:

  • Bloody urine
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Licking around the urinary area
  • Urinating in unusual places
  • Lack of appetite
  • Straining when producing urine

As soon as you notice signs of this, you should call your vet. It’s important to address and treat this disease head-on and as soon as you can. 


Parasites that afflict your cat from the inside

Tapeworms are parasites that live in your cat’s small intestine and can grow to be up to 2 feet in length. Some key symptoms of a tapeworm include vomiting and weight loss. These parasites strip nutrients from what your cat eats and makes it difficult for your cat to receive the nutrients that they need. Tapeworms can be dangerous for your cat, but luckily there are some very direct ways to get rid of the worm and treat your cat. If your cat has a tapeworm, you’ll also be able to tell if you see pieces of the worm in their feces.

Ways to treat tapeworms include:

  • Oral medications
  • Injections
  • Topical medications

If you’ve discovered that your cat has a tapeworm, you may want to consult a professional just to make sure that you handle it properly.


The stereotypical problem with a fairly easy fix

Because of their barbed tongue, cats tend to ingest quite a bit of their fur when they groom themselves. This can lead to the build-up of hairballs which can cause constipation among other minor problems. Hairballs are a juxtaposition of hair and food in their digestive tract.

The best way to keep your cat from producing as many hairballs is by using special tools to groom your cat frequently. 

Upper Respiratory Infections

If you have multiple cats this might be even more common

Cats often have notably delicate lungs. That being said, it’s the very reason that upper respiratory infections have made their way onto this list.

Symptoms of upper respiratory infections include:

  • Sniffling
  • A change in attitude
  • Discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Change in appetite

Much like respiratory infections in humans, upper respiratory infections have the potential of causing a lot of problems for your cat. It’s more likely that your cat will contract an upper respiratory infection if it interacts with other cats including the ones it lives with. Generally, any signs such as sniffles should be taken seriously and addressed with a trip to see your cat’s veterinary doctor. 

A sleepy calico kitten stretches on its back after its owner helped them overcome its health problems.
There is a wide range of illnesses and health challenges that your cat may run into. Knowing how to treat even a handful of these challenges will make you all the more equipped to make sure that your cat stays healthy and happy.  


Staying prepared and being attentive

Any illness that your cat is dealing with is deserving of a level of seriousness and caution. It’s a good idea to keep learning as you go so that you have knowledge that can be applied in the chance that your cat deals with the problem you’ve researched. When in doubt, speaking with your cat’s vet is basically always the right answer. If you’re just a bit unsure about what to do it’s worthwhile to contact them just to make sure that you’re making the correct decision to help your cat feel better.

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