Understanding Common Cat Health Issues and Their Causes

Cats are notoriously good at concealing illness and disease from their owners, so it is essential to detect health issues that require veterinary attention.

One of the most prevalent cat health issues is upper respiratory infections. This can cause a runny nose, frequent sneezing, and coughing.

Upper Respiratory Infections

Common cat health issues can have a detrimental effect on your furry friend. By understanding the causes of these problems, you can ensure your feline companion stays healthy and content.

Upper respiratory infections, or URIs, are infections of the nose, sinuses, and throat. They may be caused by either a virus or bacteria and are usually mild in nature – meaning they last only a short period before clearing up on their own.

Viral URIs are the most prevalent but can sometimes progress to bacterial ones. Bacterial URIs can be more serious and lead to complications like pneumonia – caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria which has the potential for life-threatening outcomes.

Other common URIs include flu, bronchitis, and ear infections. While these typically resolve on their own within a few weeks, some may need antibiotics for treatment.

If your cat develops a viral upper respiratory infection (URI), it’s critical to take them directly to the vet. This will enable the veterinarian to accurately diagnose the source and provide effective treatment options.

Feline Chlamydophilosis is a bacterial illness that can infect your cat’s upper respiratory tract. Signs include swelling, redness, and watery discharge from the eyes; additionally, it has been known to affect your cat’s lungs by causing coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing.

FIV, feline leukemia virus (FeLV), diabetes, and parasites are other conditions that can negatively impact your cat’s well-being. These illnesses tend to strike middle-aged to older cats and could prove life-threatening if left untreated.


Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a disorder in which your cat’s body no longer produces insulin – the hormone responsible for transporting sugar (glucose) into cells. As glucose builds up in the bloodstream, you may notice symptoms like increased urination or thirst.

Overweight cats often suffer from insulin resistance, especially older cats. This issue may also be caused by other medical conditions like chronic pancreatitis and hyperthyroidism.

Your veterinarian will likely order bloodwork and a urinalysis to diagnose diabetes in your cat. If the results indicate your feline has diabetes, they must begin treatment with insulin injections.

A nutritious diet can help regulate diabetes symptoms. A low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet will lower insulin requirements. Furthermore, keeping your cat’s weight under control with a prescription diet and portion control is essential.

If your cat has diabetes, they must be carefully monitored by their veterinarian on a daily basis. This may include blood tests, urine checks, and frequent checks with an at-home glucose monitoring system.

You and your veterinarian will collaborate to develop a treatment plan for your cat that includes medication, diet and regular physical activity.

If your cat’s condition becomes uncontrolled, they can develop the same symptoms as diabetic patients: weakness and difficulty walking or jumping. They may even develop diabetic neuropathy – a condition that causes pain and weakness in the legs – or ketoacidosis – a life-threatening complication of diabetes.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is a widespread issue that affects cats and their owners alike. When cats experience difficulty or discomfort while urinating can lead to an obstruction in their urinary tract – potentially dangerous if left untreated. If this issue is left untreated, FLUTD could progress into full-blown cystitis in cats.

The exact cause of FLUTD in cats remains uncertain, but numerous factors can increase their likelihood of developing it. These include:

Stress: One of the leading causes of feline laryngitis (FLUTD), stress can cause inflammation of the bladder lining which weakens its protective mucus layer and allows urine to seep through.

Emotional and environmental stress can exacerbate symptoms in cats, making it essential to reduce stress levels if you have one. Other contributing factors to FLUTD include:

Weight: Being overweight can irritate the bladder and urethra, leading to crystals or stones accumulating inside them. This leads to an accumulation of waste products and painful urination.

A urinalysis can help detect any issues in your cat’s urinary tract, such as blood or stones. The veterinarian team will take a sample of their urine to check for bacteria which can then be treated with antibiotics.

A simple urinalysis may be enough to diagnose FLUTD, but your vet may need other tests in order to get a more definitive diagnosis. These include x-rays, blood work, and urine culture to detect bacteria in your cat’s pee. If there is evidence of infection, antibiotics will be prescribed along with diet changes to control it and medication to relieve pain from any discomfort caused by the condition.


Vomiting can be indicative of several illnesses, so it’s essential to visit your veterinarian as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.

Vomiting is a common symptom of gastroenteritis, marked by rapid expulsion of food, fluid, or mucus from the stomach or upper intestinal tract. It may be accompanied by other symptoms such as drooling, excessive swallowing, and abdominal heaving.

Vomiting can be caused by a variety of issues, from minor dietary mistakes to more serious illnesses like intestinal infections, parasites, liver disease, or cancer. To ensure your cat’s well-being, it is wise to take them for a full physical exam as well as blood tests at the vet.

Vomiting with an acute, sudden onset is usually due to an underlying infection such as a virus or bacteria. Antiemetic drugs and a bland, easy-to-digest diet can be prescribed in order to reduce vomiting episodes.

Frequent or chronic vomiting in cats is a serious matter and should be addressed by your veterinarian immediately. It could indicate an array of serious illnesses and serve as a warning sign that something is amiss with their health.

Coughing is similar to vomiting, except instead of vomiting your cat may cough up froth or foam. They usually crouch down on all four legs when coughing, stretch out their neck, and swallow any vomitus that arises as soon as it passes.

Vomit from your cat may appear greenish or yellow, which could be bile, which normally resides in the intestines but can be forced into your stomach by vomiting. Red or black vomit indicates blood in the stomach; if your pet vomits this color, seek immediate veterinary assistance.


Cats, just like humans, can suffer from various health issues. These issues may be minor or major and easily treatable if you know what to look out for.

Cancer is one of the most prevalent health issues that cats experience. Cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably, infiltrate surrounding tissue, and may spread to other parts of the body.

Depending on the type of cancer, signs, and symptoms can differ. Some can be managed with antibiotics and other medications; others require veterinary oncologists to accurately diagnose and provide treatment.

Cats are particularly susceptible to skin, lymphoma, and gastrointestinal tumors. While the exact causes of these cancers remain unknown, certain factors may increase your cat’s likelihood for developing them.

Squamous cell carcinoma, or skin cancer, is the most common form of this tumor and can be found on your cat’s ears, nose, eyelids, or other parts of their skin. Squamous cell carcinoma tends to occur more frequently in older cats due to exposure to cigarette smoke, flea collars, and other environmental elements.

Oral squamous cell carcinoma is another form of this disease that is highly difficult to treat. This tumor usually starts in the mouth and requires surgical removal for removal.

Lymphoma is common cancer that can develop in the liver, lymph nodes, and other organs. This condition tends to affect older cats more frequently and usually responds well to chemotherapy treatment.

No matter the type of cancer your cat has, treatment can often improve their quality of life and extend their lifespan. Your veterinarian will usually conduct a physical exam and blood work to get an overview of the situation, then stage cancer according to the severity and determine an effective course of treatment.