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What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

There are a number of common cat illnesses that can be serious or even fatal if left untreated for too long. Our Tracy vets share insight on the signs and symptoms you should be aware of. 

What common cat illnesses do I need to know about?

If you are a cat owner there are a number of illnesses you need to be aware of. It's important as a pet parent to be prepared to visit your veterinarian if necessary, especially since cats tend to instinctively isolate when they are sick. Here are 3 of the most common cat illnesses and their symptoms.  

Upper Respiratory Infections - Cat Colds

Your cat's upper respiratory tract, which includes their throat, nose and sinuses, can become infected with viruses and bacteria leading to potentially serious illnesses. Often passed around in multi-cat households and shelters, cats may contract feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus through something as basic as sharing a food or water dish. 

Cats can quickly transmit this virus to other cats the same way, as well as by sneezing or coughing. It can also be passed along when grooming. 

Symptoms of upper respiratory infections in cats include:

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


If a cat is unable to produce sufficient insulin to balance blood sugar or glucose levels, they develop diabetes mellitus. Untreated this condition may lead to some very serious symptoms, such as:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Dehydration
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Motor function problems
  • Coma
  • Death

If diabetes is poorly managed, the disease could shorten your cat's lifespan and lead to numerous health problems such as nerve disorders. Diabetes in cats can also result in severe emergency situations. Treatment can include insulin injections and will be focused on the long-term management of this condition. 


The uncontrolled growth of cells can cause cancer, which can affect a wide range of organs and cells in your cat's body. The disease first begins to develop within a cell, before it attaches to tissue below the skin and potentially spreads to other areas of the cat's body. 

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

Symptoms of cancer in cats 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

Based on whether the tumor is caught and diagnosed early enough, the type of cancer, the extent of the disease, and the specific location of the tumor within the body, an effective treatment plan may be developed to treat your cat's cancer. Treatments such as radiation, surgery and chemotherapy are often used to treat cancer in cats. 

What should I do if my cat is ill?

If your feline friend is unwell and exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, it's critical to bring them to the vet as soon as possible. At Affordable Pet Vet Clinic, we have an in-house laboratory, onsite vet pharmacy, and emergency clinic to provide your pet with the care they need (help for after-hours emergencies is also available).

Do you suspect your cat is sick? Our vets are experienced in diagnosing and treating many common illnesses and conditions in cats. Book an appointment at Affordable Pet Vet Clinic today for your feline friend.

Looking for quality veterinary care for your pet in Tracy?

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