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What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

Various cat illnesses and their symptoms may be worrying to you. Some may even be fatal if not promptly treated. Here, our Oak Grove vets offer some insight into the signs of symptoms of three cat illnesses.

What are some common cat illnesses?

As a cat owner, there are many illnesses that you need to be aware of. Be ready to visit your veterinarian if you have to, especially since cats will tend to instinctually isolate themselves when sick. Here are 3 commonly encountered cat illnesses and their symptoms.

Upper Respiratory Infections

Your cat's throat, nose and sinuses all make up their upper respiratory tract and can become infected with bacteria or viruses. These illnesses are often based around multi-cat households and shelters. Cats can contract diseases like feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus through even something as simple as sharing the same food or water bowl.

They can transmit this virus to other cats the same way, or by sneezing or coughing. It can also be passed during grooming. 

Symptoms include:

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


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:

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

If diabetes is poorly controlled, the disease can shorten a cat's lifespan and lead to numerous health problems such as nerve disorders. It may also result in severe emergency situations. Treatment can include insulin injections and will be focused on managing this condition. 


Cancer is caused by the uncontrollable growth and replication of cells in your cat's body in any number of organs or parts of their body. This disease will first begin to develop inside a cell before attaching to the tissues below the skin and beginning to spread to other areas of your cat's body.

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

Symptoms include:

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

Depending on whether the tumor is caught and diagnosed early enough, the type of cancer and its extent, specific location within the body, etc., whether an effective treatment plan can be developed, and other factors, a number of treatments such as radiation, surgery and chemotherapy may be attempted. 

What should I do if my cat is ill?

If your pet is ill and showing any o the above symptoms, it's hugely important that you bring them to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. At Oak Grove Animal Hospital, we have onsite diagnostic technologies and tools that can help us provide your pet with the care that they need.

Do you suspect your cat is sick? Our vets are experienced in diagnosing and treating many common illnesses and conditions. Book an appointment at Oak Grove Animal Hospital today.

We Are Always Welcoming New Patients

Oak Grove Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our veterinarians are passionate about animal health and are proud to serve our patients. Contact us today to book your pet's first appointment and to get started.

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