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What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

Several cat illnesses and their symptoms can be concerning for owners. They can even be fatal for pets if left untreated for too long. Our vets in Cincinnati offer insight on signs and symptoms to be aware of. 

What are some common cat illnesses?

As a cat parent, there are some illnesses you should be aware of. Be prepared to visit your veterinarian if required, especially since cats tend to instinctively isolate when sick. Here are 3 common cat illnesses and their symptoms. 

Upper Respiratory Infections

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

This virus can be transmitted to other cats in the same way, or by coughing or sneezing. It can also be passed during grooming.  

Symptoms include:

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

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


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 spreading to other areas. 

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 cat is sick and exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, it's critical to bring them to the vet as soon as possible. At Eastgate Animal Hospital, we have an in-house laboratory and onsite pharmacy to provide your pet the care they need (emergencies will be referred to a local veterinary helpline and 24/7 hospital).

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

New Patients Welcome

Eastgate Animal Hospital is welcoming new patients! Our compassionate vets are passionate about the health of Cincinnati companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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