Cat Health Problems

Your cat will most likely experience health problems at some point in his life, even if you take every possible precaution. By being well informed about the potential illnesses that can befall your pet, you are more likely to know what to do if he does get sick.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

Striped CatFeline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is a general term associated with a syndrome of diseases affecting the lower urinary tract. Diseases in the lower urinary tract affect males and female cats equally, with about one percent of the feline population suffering from FLUTD.

FLUTD can be caused by:

  • bacteria
  • fungi
  • defects in the urinary system
  • parasites
  • tumors
  • urethral plugs
  • urinary stones or crystals
  • viruses.

If you are concerned that your pet may have FLUTD, look for these symptoms:

  • blood in the urine
  • excessive licking of the genitals
  • dehydration
  • depression
  • frequent visits to the litter box, often only passing small amounts of urine in each trip
  • lack of appetite
  • painful urination, accompanied by crying or yowling when straining to urinate (which may be confused with constipation)
  • urinating in places other than his litter box
  • vomiting.

In the past, dietary factors have received a great deal of attention as both a cause and cure of urinary problems in cats. If your cat has already suffered a bout of FLUTD, follow your veterinarian”s advice closely. You may need to start feeding your kitty a special diet.

To prevent the occurrence or recurrence of FLUTD:

  • Encourage your cat to play or exercise.
  • Follow the vet”s dietary recommendations.
  • Give your cat access to fresh, clean water at all times.
  • Keep the litter box clean and easily accessible to your cat.
  • Maintain your cat”s ideal weight.
  • Minimize stress factors, such as environmental changes.
  • Never feed your cat table scraps and limit the number of treats.
  • Schedule veterinary checkups regularly.

Watch your cat for signs of any unusual behaviors or sounds of pain. Report abnormalities to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Diabetes in Cats

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a one of the most common hormonal diseases in cats that arises when cats suffer from a deficiency of the hormone insulin. Just like diabetes in humans, DM impairs a cat”s ability to metabolize sugar. DM typically affects middle aged and older cats of all breeds.

Signs to watch for:

  • increased frequency of urination
  • increased thirst
  • weight loss, despite regular eating patterns.

DM Care and Treatment

Cats diagnosed with DM tend to require one or two daily injections of insulin to control their blood glucose. If your cat needs insulin twice a day, administer the insulin shots 12 hours apart from each other. In general, it”s best to give the shots at the same time each day. Maintain your cat”s proper weight and observe your cat”s thirst and frequency of urination. If weight, thirst and urination remain at heightened levels, you may need to adjust the dosage of insulin.


Hairballs develop when a cat grooms himself and ingests his hair. The hair forms a mass in the digestive system and can lead to gastrointestinal issues. The common symptoms include:

  • a dry cough
  • constipation
  • vomiting or regurgitation.

Hairball Treatment

You can treat hairballs in a couple of ways. Frequent grooming reduces the amount of hair that your cat actually ingests when he licks himself. You can also get hairball paste-like products that act as laxatives and help them pass the hairball through their systems.

You can also buy “kitty grass” at your local pet stores to help your cats painlessly regurgitate their hairballs. Talk to your veterinarian before you make a decision to be sure that you are doing what is best for your cat.

The Fat Cat

Because cat health problems are often related to diet, watch what your cat eats is important.Although some cat breeds are naturally round, no cat is predisposed to obesity. Overweight cats are at a greater risk for contracting a variety of more serious health problems.

Use your judgment when it comes to feeding your cat. Cut back on your cat”s food if you notice it gaining weight. However, because drastic changes can also be risky, slowly decrease rations. If you cut back on food portions and your cat”s eating problems continue, see your veterinarian. Obesity may be sign of an underlying, more serious medical problem.

How You Can Tell Your Cat”s Overweight

If you are not sure if your cat suffers from obesity, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can you feel his ribs?
  • Does he have trouble grooming himself?
  • Has he stopped frolicking or exercising because of his size?
  • Is his physical appearance changing?

To treat your cat”s obesity:

  • Consider purchasing dietetic cat food that is lower in calories.
  • Don”t offer a wide assortment of foods. Most cats will eat more than they should from each type offered.
  • Don”t use milk as a substitute for water.
  • Eliminate his between-meal snacks and handouts from your table.
  • Keep your cat active and play with him often.
  • Leave your cat”s meal ration out for no longer than twenty minutes to prevent continuous snacking.

If you”re unsure of what to do when it comes to your cat”s health, contact your veterinarian. Your vet can answer questions you have about your cat”s health and treat any existing conditions.

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