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What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

There are many cat illnesses that have worrying symptoms and could be deadly if they go too long without treatment. In this blog, our Pittsboro vets talk to you about the signs and symptoms of common cat illnesses that you should be aware of.

What are some common cat illnesses?

As a cat owner, there are a handful of illnesses that are common in cats that you need to know about. You also have to be ready to visit your veterinarian if needed, especially because cats isolate themselves instinctively when they are sick. Below we have listed 3 illnesses that are common in cats as well as their symptoms.  

Upper Respiratory Infections

The upper respiratory tract of your cat—their throat, nose, and sinuses—can get infected with viruses and bacteria. They often spread in multi-cat households and shelters, cats could also contract the feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus just by sharing a food or water bowl. 

They can spread this virus to other cats the same way, or by coughing and sneezing, or through grooming. 

Symptoms include:

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


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:

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

If diabetes isn't controlled properly, it can make your cat's lifespan shorter and cause various health problems including nerve disorders. It could also lead to severe emergency situations. Treatment will be focused on managing the disease and can include insulin injections. 


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 spread to other areas. 

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

Symptoms include:

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

Your vet could attempt various treatments such as radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy depending on whether the tumor is found and diagnosed early enough, the type and extent of cancer, the specific location within the body, whether an effective treatment plan can be developed, as well as other factors. 

What should I do if my cat is ill?

If your cat is sick and is displaying any of the symptoms shared above, it's important for you to bring your pet to the vet as quickly as possible. At Hope Crossing Animal Hospital, we have an in-house laboratory, onsite pharmacy, and emergency animal clinic that allows us to provide your cat with the care they need.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Contact our vets at Hope Crossing Animal Hospital in Pittsboro immediately if you believe your cat is sick. Our team has the experience and training they need to diagnose your kitty's condition and provide the appropriate treatment options.

Welcoming New Patients

Our vets at Hope Crossing Animal Hospital are now accepting new patients! Our talented veterinary team is passionate about caring for the pets of Pittsboro. Contact us today to book your first appointment. 

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