Cat Health - Common Issues
Probably the number one problem with a cat's health is the notorious hairball. Cats clean themselves incessantly by licking their coats. The hair that clings to their tongues is swallowed. This will eventually form in a ball, and in most instances, the cat will be able to expel it. If the hairball makes its way into the cat's intestines, then this can cause serious complications and will need medical attention. A common symptom of this would be constipation.
Urinary tract infections (UTI's) are another common cat health problem. Although this is most common with a male un-neutered feline, it can also affect the females. If your cat stops using the litter or his urine has a strong odor, a UTI should be highly suspected Cats can also develop stones in their urinary tract developing feline lower urinary tract disease.
Another common problem with cat health is worms. These would consist of tapeworms, round worms, and hook worms. This would occur in outdoor cats. The symptoms would be diarrhea and inability to gain weight. This is highly troublesome, since owners can get this from their pets. In addition, the outdoors cat can also be afflicted with fleas, parasites, or ticks. Ticks can give the cat Lyme Disease. If your cat is lethargic, has a fever and loss of appetite, he may need antibiotic treatment for this. So, it is important to check his coat often.
Digestive problems, such as vomiting and diarrhea, are also health problems in cats. If your cat is vomiting for more than 24 hours, then you should seek medical treatment. Initially, you should withhold food for a several hours and start by reintroducing water, in limited quantities, to see how it is tolerated. Remember, one of the most frequent causes of vomiting is the hairball, so make sure to brush his coat daily. Diarrhea lasting one to two days is normal, as long as the cat is eating well. Anything beyond this requires a visit to the vet.
There are several dangerous diseases a cat can contract in its lifetime. One is feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), which is a virus that is difficult to diagnose. There is no known treatment for this disease. Another is feline immunodeficiency virus, which is "cat aids." This virus targets white blood cells. The last is feline leukemia virus (FLV), which can be avoided if the cat is immunized before contact with it. These diseases are more likely to be seen in outdoor cats.
Cats can also suffer from eye problems, because their eyes can get scratched during fights. They are also subject to abscesses, which result from bite wounds, anal gland problems, and cat allergies. There are also the occasional cold and respiratory infections.
There are many common health ailments that can affect cats. With proper attention, care and possible medical treatment, most need not be fatal. With your help, your cat can live a long, healthy, happy life.
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