9 Most Common Health Problems and Diseases in Cats

Common cat health problems

Read 9 most common health problems and diseases that frequently impact cats. It is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of common illnesses in cats so you can seek veterinary help for them as soon as possible.

1. Vomiting

Vomiting is a prevalent problem with cats with many causes, and this mainly happens when your cat eats something infectious or inedible.

Drooling and abdominal heaving are common symptoms that may leave the pet dehydrated. Call your vet immediately if your cat continues to vomit or acts sick.

2. Feline Panleukopenia or Cat Distemper

Feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), also referred to as cat distemper, is one of the deadliest viral diseases in cats. This virus affects the rapidly dividing blood cells within the body, primarily the cells within the intestinal tract, bone marrow, and skin. 

Watch out for these symptoms:

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea/bloody diarrhea 
  • Dehydration and Weight loss 
  • High fever with anemia 
  • Depression 
  • Complete loss of interest in food 
  • Hiding 

Cats with this condition would require emergency treatment and hospitalization. If you notice any symptoms mentioned above, contact your vet immediately. Vaccination is the only way to prevent feline panleukopenia. 

3. Upper Respiratory Infection

A cat’s upper respiratory tract, nose, throat, and sinuses can be infected by several viruses and bacteria. 

Herpesvirus type-1 (also known as Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis or FVR) and Feline Calicivirus (FCV) are the most common viruses that cause upper respiratory infections in cats. These two are responsible for approximately 90% of all feline upper respiratory infections.

Upper respiratory tract infection Symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Nasal discharge
  • Fever
  • Decreased appetite
  • Rubbing eyes
  • Open-mouth breathing
  • Depression

It is essential to consult with the vet if you notice your cat showing these symptoms.

4. Litter Box Issues or Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

It can be highly frustrating when your cat avoids the litter box. There are usually many reasons behind it, but Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is one of the most critical issues.

It is often found in overweight or unfit cats, especially those who eat dry food, and it affects both males and females. Stress, a multi-cat household, and sudden changes can be the reasons behind it. Treatment depends on the stages of the disease.

These symptoms may include:

  • Drinking more
  • Straining to urinate
  • Urinating in unusual places
  • Crying when urinating
  • Licking around the urinary area
  • Depression
  •  Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
5. Cat Fleas

This one is a very common yet curable disease that cats often have. Fleas can live for more than a year and cause anemia in cats if the problem becomes severe, which is why you should treat your cat’s flea problem and prevent it from returning.

Here are some symptoms:

  • Flea dirt on skin that looks like tiny black dots
  • Constant scratching
  • Frequent licking
  • Hair fall
  • Skin infections
6. Eye Infections

Your cat can suffer from severe eye-related issues like conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers, cataracts, viruses, and inflammation.

Here are a few symptoms to watch out for:

  • Watery eyes
  • Tear-stained fur
  • Gunk in the corners of the eye
  • Pawing at the eye
  • Red eyelid linings

Make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible if you notice these symptoms.

7. Worms

Outdoor cats and cats who come into contact with other cats or are exposed to soil are prone to worms. Kittens who are not dewormed are also at risk of various severe health issues caused by worms.

There are 6 types of worm generally seen in cats : 

  • Tapeworm
  • Roundworm
  • Heartworm
  • Lungworm
  • Whipworm and
  • Hookworm 

Treatment options include various medications. But cats generally get worms from swallowing a flea, so solve any flea problems first.

Clinical signs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Worms in feces and around the anus
  • Constipation

You should keep your cat indoors, so it isn’t exposed to infected cats, rodents, fleas, and feces. Ask your vet for a proper deworming treatment according to your cat’s age.

8. Diarrhea

Diarrhea in cats can be caused by a variety of things, such as parasites, spoiled food, allergies, infections, liver disease, and cancer.


  • Loose, watery, or liquid stool (frequently)
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite

To avoid dehydration, give your cat plenty of clean, fresh water if he has diarrhea. Do not feed him for 12 hours. If it doesn’t stop, contact your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist has probably seen and dealt with every problem you’ll face with your furry friend. You do not have to give up on your cat when things go gloomy. Take help from the professionals and have patience, and you can live happily with your pet.

9. Rabies

Rabies is a deadly viral disease that damages all mammals’ brains and spinal cord, including cats, dogs, and humans.

It’s usually transmitted by bites from an infected animal. Cats that are not vaccinated and roam freely outdoors are at the highest risk of contracting this virus.

  • Changes in behavior (including aggression, restlessness and lethargy),
  • Increased vocalization
  • Not willing to eat
  • WeaknessThis virus is most likely to be contracted by cats who are not vaccinated and roam freely outdoors.
  • Disorientation
  • Paralysis

Symptoms can vary as it takes months to develop. Do not attempt to handle or capture an infected cat without any protection as they become highly aggressive. Contact the nearest vet immediately if you think a rabid animal has bitten you or your pet.

Vaccination plays a crucial role in protecting the health of your indoor or outdoor cat. It strengthens your cat’s immune system against fatal viral diseases. That’s why kittens should be vaccinated as early as six to ten weeks of age.

Kitten Vaccination Schedule:

6-10 Weeks: CRP (Calicivirus, Rhinotracheitis, Panleukopenia)

11-14 Weeks: CRP Booster (Calicivirus, Rhinotracheitis, Panleukopenia) + Rabies

15-16 Weeks: CRP Booster (Calicivirus, Rhinotracheitis, Panleukopenia) + Rabies

If you have any doubt, talk to our experts over a video call. Book an online consultation right now. Onpets provides vet home visits as well.


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