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Expert guide: all about cat health

White cat at the vet advice © Shutterstock

When it comes to a cat’s health, prevention is always a better option than a cure. Understand what’s a normal situation for your cat then you can easily notice any important health changes.

By Dawn Parrish

It’s very beneficial if you, the cat’s owner, understand the basic health issues that may affect your pet. This is of course, in addition to their regular visits to the Vet. Once you recognise the basics of cat health care, you will know if there are any causes for concern.

Here are the 10 most important reasons why cats need to visit the surgery for medical checks. Our cat health information is given as a guide only. Always ask for feline medical help if you feel it is required.

No 1. Coughs and colds

This first condition we look at that affects cat health is a fairly common issue. Cat-specific illnesses such as the common cold and cat flu can often result in upper respiratory tract infections. Obvious symptoms include runny eyes, loss of appetite, sneezing and mucus stuffed nose. A viral chest infection will need antibiotics and the cat may be quite sick.

Grey cat
If your pet cries there is obviously a cat health issue ©cel.lisboa, Unsplash

No 2. Bladder infection

When a cat has a urine infection caused by bacteria, this is termed cystitis. This painful condition inflames the lining of the bladder. You will be able to spot your cat has a bladder infection by:

# Cat visiting the litter box frequently

# Crying when passing urine and has discomfort

# Spotting blood in the litter tray

# Cleaning and licking her bottom

# Attempting to urinate outside of her litter tray

No 3. Diarrhoea

Our cat health guide includes the illness, diarrhoea, although many cat owners will recognise these symptoms. This is a common health issue which can be caused by several disorders:

# Food allergy or intolerance – milk or rich food

# Parasites – tapeworms or roundworms

# Various infections – bacterial or viral

# Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

# Cancer or other issues such as when the pancreas or liver isn’t functioning as it should

Little kitten
Medication can help with many cat health conditions ©danilo.batista, Unsplash

No 4. Itching and Scratching

Skin diseases in our pets can be quite infuriating. Symptoms most often noticed include itching, scabs, hair loss and excessive grooming. In the first place there are many reasons for a cat to itch and scratch frequently. Environmental and food allergies, mites and other skin parasites, and finally, fleas. It may take several visits to the surgery to diagnose the problem correctly.

No 5. Vomiting

Vomiting in cats can be quite a common, weekly occurrence and all can be well. However, more frequent events and it’s a cause for concern with your cat’s health. This needs further investigation if she has changed her appetite or lost weight recently. Certainly, there is usually an underlying disease such as Liver disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Kidney problems, Pancreatitis or even hairballs.

No 6. Kidney disease

This cat health condition can happen for different reasons. The most common cause is in a senior cat, with age-related kidney changes. There are, however, several treatments and medications that can be given to extend the cat’s life and support kidney function.

No 7. Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes caused by old-age, less activity and over-eating is quite common in felines. Symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus can include:

# Cat drinking a lot more than usual

# Urinating frequently

# Still eating and enjoying food but losing weight

# Advanced stage diabetes – cataracts and walking on flat of heels

The good news for the cat’s health is that diabetes can be reversed in some case by weight loss. If this isn’t an option for your cat, the blood sugar levels can be controlled by insulin injections.

Ginger kitten getting treated
In some cases surgery may be needed to help improve your cat's health ©Shutterstock

No 8. Overactive Thyroid glands

Cat health information would previously state this hyperthyroidism as kidney issues in older cats. Nowadays, symptoms are recognised and treated accordingly with either surgery, prescription diet food or drugs. If you think your cat has the following signs of an overactive thyroid gland, take some medical advice

# Is constantly hungry

# Drinking and peeing lots more than normal

# Despite enjoying food still losing weight

# Sickness and diarrhoea

No 9. Dental problems

Many cats have dental issues as their owners don’t care about their daily cleaning routines. Yes, it is possible to clean a cat’s teeth or provide chewy sticks to help with tartar build-up.

No 10. Lymphoma affecting white blood cells

Of course, it’s very unfortunate if a serious condition like this affects your cat’s health. If you spot that the lymph nodes on your cat are swollen, it’s a cause for concern. These lymph nodes can be felt behind the cat’s knees, in her groin, shoulders, armpits and throat. Depending on the location of the swollen lymph nodes, resulting because too many white blood cells are produced, there are several treatment options. Chemotherapy or surgery are treatment routes and the prognosis depends on each individual case.

In the first place, our cats need more than just love, toys, food and water to keep healthy. They also need regular visits to the vets for check-ups, screening tests and vaccinations. Proper cat health care will not only protect your feline pet from serious diseases, parasites, infections and other health issues but will also save you those worrying, expensive medical expenses too.

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