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What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

There are numerous cat illnesses with symptoms which may worry you, or even be fatal if untreated for too long. Here our Stockton vets offer insight into signs and symptoms of which you should be aware. 

What are some common cat illnesses?

As a cat owner, here are some illnesses you should be aware of in your feline companion. Be ready to visit your vet if required, especially since cats will instinctively self-isolate when they become sick. Here are 3 common (and serious!) illnesses in cats and their symptoms:

Upper Respiratory Infections

Your cat's upper respiratory tract (their sinuses, nose and throat) can become infected with bacteria and viruses. Often passed around in homes with multiple cats and shelters, cats may contract illnesses like feline calicivirus and feline herpesvirus through even just sharing a water or food bowl with another cat.

Generally speaking, cats can also transmit these viruses in this way, or by coughing or sneezing. Grooming is another way in which cats can catch these illnesses. 

Symptoms include:

  • Gagging, drooling
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Decreased or lost appetite
  • Congestion 
  • Runny nose or clear/colored nasal discharge


If a cat doesn't produce sufficient insulin to balance blood sugar or glucose levels, they develop diabetes mellitus. Left untreated, it may lead to several serious symptoms, such as:

  • Motor function problems
  • Thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Coma
  • Death
  • Increased appetite (as the body cannot use the energy in food) or loss of appetite

If diabetes is poorly controlled, the disease can shorten a cat's lifespan and lead to numerous health problems such as nerve disorders. It may also result in severe emergency situations. Treatment can include insulin injections and will be focused on managing this condition. 


Uncontrolled growth of cells can cause cancer, which can affect a wide range of organs and cells in a cat's body. The disease first starts to develop within a cell, before it attaches to tissue below the skin and potentially spreading to other areas. 

A common contributor to cancer is Feline Leukemia Virus, which cats can be diagnosed against. Other causes include environmental toxins. If caught early during a physical exam, your vet may be able to treat cancer. 

Symptoms include:

  • Sores that do not heal
  • Odor from the mouth
  • Chronic weight loss
  • Unexplained bleeding or discharge
  • Marked increase or decrease in appetite
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating
  • Lumps or bumps that change in size or shape

Depending on whether the tumor is caught and diagnosed early enough, the type of cancer and its extent, specific location within the body, etc., whether an effective treatment plan can be developed, and other factors, a number of treatments such as radiation, surgery and chemotherapy may be attempted. 

What should I do if my cat is ill?

If your cat is sick and exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, it's critical to bring them to the vet as soon as possible. At Rosemarie Pet Hospital, we have an in-house laboratory, onsite pharmacy, and emergency clinic to provide your pet the care they need (help for after-hours emergencies is also available).

Do you suspect your cat is sick? Our vets are experienced in diagnosing and treating many common illnesses and conditions. Book an appointment at Rosemarie Pet Hospital today.

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We can't wait to welcome you and your pet to the Rosemarie Pet Hospital family.

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