When you have a cat, there are a few common health issues you should be aware of. Cats are naturally very healthy and low-maintenance pets, but learning to see the warning signs early will save you worry and may also help lessen the costs of treating the issue.
Urinary tract diseases are
common in cats. Symptoms will often include difficulty urinating such as pacing
around the litter box and/or crying while urinating, frequent urination and
lack of appetite. The causes are often related to diet and/or stress. Cats with
a urinary tract disease will most likely need to be diagnosed by a veterinarian
and prescribed antibiotics, but it's often possible to eliminate future
infections by ensuring your cat is fed dry food that's especially high in
Fleas are very common in the summer months. Symptoms include the fleas themselves, flea droppings in your cat's fur that look like black dirt, constant itching, licking and skin irritation. Over the counter medications like Frontline for Cats are easy to apply, prevent future outbreaks and work extremely well.
For more information about flea treatments, click here.
Cats can vomit for a
variety of reasons. Oftentimes vomiting is related to ingesting string, paper,
leaves or grass. Other times it can be contributed to licking excess fur. Over
the counter hairball paste works well to help prevent long-haired cats from
this particular issue.
Vomiting can also be caused by a change in diet or disagreement with a food choice. Make sure to change food types gradually and ensure you're buying food that's high in protein and low in "filler". If the vomiting persists after experimenting with different food choices or eliminating the cause, call your veterinarian.
Humans aren't the only
species capable of being allergic to various pollens, dusts and other environmental
factors. Cats will often get a gooey, sticky discharge around their eyelids
that can be wiped away with a cotton swab. This isn't serious by itself as a
symptom, but if the cat is sneezing quite a bit, wheezing or seems noticeably
listless, a veterinarian visit may be a good idea.
One common cause of sneezing and frequent eye discharge is using cat litter that causes a lot of dust to raise in the air. This dust, especially if it's heavily-scented, can often cause irritation when your cat uses the litter box. Switching to a non-scented or low-dust type of litter can help.
Tapeworm in cats is
generally caused from ingesting fleas. Make sure to first deal with the flea
issue, if there is one. Afterwards, if your cat is frequently vomiting, loses
weight, or if you notice white worms in the cat's stool, antibiotics and a
veterinarian visit are needed.
A healthy cat is a happy cat. If you begin noticing any early symptoms, make sure to always keep an eye on your cat and track any changes in their eating habits, playtime habits and bathroom habits.
Guest piece written and contributed by C. Holland, on behalf of ALStrays Re-homing & Transport Project.
"A cat improves the garden wall in sunshine, and the hearth in foul weather." - Judith Merkle Riley
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