Common Health Problems in Cats
With generations of selective breeding employed to produce ever-longer coats for our cats, hairballs are a common and potentially distressing problem for them. When a matt of hair forms in the stomach, it combines with remnants of food which, often, they manage to cough up, but sometimes, can remain in the stomach, causing great irritation, and if left untreated, can lead to constipation and a possible intestinal blockage, resulting in diminished appetite, lethargy and depression.
Roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and occasionally heartworms are a very common problem in our kitties. These pesky parasites can cause great discomfort, and while easily treated if nipped in the bud, can cause serious health problems and, in some cases, can even prove fatal. Another thing to watch for is the risk of human infection – a particular danger when it comes to young, explorative children.
As a flea feeds on your cat’s blood, it secretes saliva in order to prevent its blood from coagulating. It also just so happens to be one of the most allergenic substances known to man, so a bout of fleas can make your cat’s life very miserable indeed. Transferable to dogs and humans, an extensive flea infestation can lead to anemia, while kittens, unfortunately, have been known to suffer death at the glands of their saliva.
While our cats are hardy little creatures, they may, from time to time, come to blows with a fellow cat whilst on one of their night prowls, suffering wounds which, while at first probably minor, can go unnoticed and become infected under thick fur. A resulting abscess will form and, while in most cases the wound will self-heal and the abscess will drop off, often some of the infection can remain to cause a deeper abscess and deeper issues. It is best practice to get your vet to drain it for him, so if your cat’s a bit of a feisty one, a good pet insurance plan might be a good idea!
As in most mammals, vomiting is often the first sign that there’s something wrong inside. While it is a common occurrence for cats, we mustn’t ignore frequent vomiting and should be inspect our cat’s vomit in order to spot any irregularities such as blood, poisonous substances or even parasites. Vomiting, not to be confused with regurgitation, can also indicate problems with internal organs or high blood-toxin levels. While most bouts of acute vomiting will be readily cured, it may indicate a more serious underlying health issue.
You may notice a change in color, smell, consistency, or all of the above. Normal faeces should be light brown and firm, so when your cat is suffering from diarrhea, it will appear soft, sometimes watery, and will occasionally contain fresh blood or mucus. You will also see a change in your cat’s defecation pattern, and what it does produce probably won’t smell too clever. This symptom usually indicates a gastrointestinal infection or even liver or kidney disease, so should be monitored closely.
That’s just a few of the common problems our feline friends face from time to time, but others include (and are not restricted to) urinary tract infection, upper respiratory tract infection, kidney failure, Feline Panleukopenia (‘Feline Distemper’), Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, (FIV – Feline AIDS virus), Feline Leukemia Virus and Lyme Disease. If you’re worried about how you will be able to afford to treat your cat if it’s taken ill by any of the above, then you may benefit from visiting a pet insurance comparison website, compare pet insurance plans and get the best deal around.