Our feline friends of all ages can get sick anywhere, so it is essential for a pet owner like us to learn the common conditions, how to spot them, and how to prevent our cats from contracting them.
So, we have spent over three weeks researching and compiling the 25 most common cat diseases as well as their general treatment prices.
Let’s check them out!
1. Eye Disease: Conjunctivitis
The most common of all cat-eye conditions is cat conjunctivitis. This is an inflammation of the thin mucous membrane that covers the outer surface of the eyeball and lines the inner surface of a cat’s eyelids.
According to a study, at least 80% of cats are dormant carriers of the conjunctivitis virus and about 95% of cats worldwide have experienced the disease.
In serious cases, the disease can lead to blindness or fatal pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs).
Causes of Conjunctivitis
Viral infection such as Feline Calicivirus and Herpesvirus is the most common cause of cat conjunctivitis. Chlamydia and Mycoplasma are other types of bacteria that can also cause cat conjunctivitis.
Symptoms of Conjunctivitis
Red or pink eyes; excessive blinking; eye discharge; swollen eyes.
Treatment of Conjunctivitis
Luckily, most cats respond well to immediate treatment and the symptoms may disappear within 1 to 2 weeks. But some cats experience complications, and some have recurring or chronic conjunctivitis.
Conjunctivitis itself will be treated with special eye drops, but the primary cause of conjunctivitis may require additional treatments. Steroids, immune-boosting supplements, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and other medications may be recommended depending on the cause of the disease.
Most cases of conjunctivitis in cats can be diagnosed and treated for less than $300.
How to Prevent Conjunctivitis
Not all causes of conjunctivitis are preventable, but some are. The most effective method to avoid the disease is regular vaccination.
2. Eye Disease: Corneal Damage
A cat’s corneal damage is a wound that develops on the surface of a cat’s eye. The cat will develop a reddish, painful eye while squinting or rubbing its eyes.
Corneal damage occurs when one or more of these layers sustain structural damage, such as a hole or a scratch.
Causes of Corneal Damage
The most common cause of corneal damage in cats is trauma (injury), resulting from a cat scratch or bite, and contact with a sharp object. Irritant chemicals like shampoo and dips can also damage your cat’s cornea. Other causes include bacterial or viral infections.
Symptoms of Corneal Damage
Corneal damage is very painful. In response to the pain, most cats rub the affected eye with their foot or on the carpet (do not allow your cat to rub the eyes as this may worsen the condition, wearing an Elizabethan collar will help). You may also observe swollen or cloudy eyes, a visible wound on the eye’s surface, involuntary closing of the eyelids or excessive blinking.
Treatment of Corneal Damage
Depending on its severity, mild corneal damage usually heals within three to five days with the use of medication to prevent bacterial infections and relieve pain. The best course of treatment is usually eye drops or an antibiotic-containing ointment since they can guard against infection while moisturizing the eye to lessen the discomfort caused by the lesion rubbing against the eyelid when blinking.
More severe cases may involve surgery. In general, surgery will cost between $500 and $2,000 depending on the condition and the cat’s age.
How to Prevent Corneal Damage
You can reduce the chances of corneal damage by removing objects that may cause trauma to your cat’s eyes. If your cat always gets into fights, you have to manage aggression and fighting which may include spaying or neutering your cat, providing plenty of hiding spaces and cat supplies, and using pheromones.
3. Eye Disease: Blepharitis
Blepharitis is a swelling of the cat eyelid, it most often occurs on the surface parts of eyelids rather than the inner surface.
Causes of Blepharitis
Any conditions that can cause eyelid irritation can lead to blepharitis, which include allergies, infections, congenital abnormalities, and tumors.
The most common congenital eyelid abnormality in cats that can lead to blepharitis is entropion. This is a condition in which the eyelid (mostly lower eyelid) turns inward and rubs against the eyeball. Certain cat breeds with short flat faces like Persian and Himalayan are prone to entropion.
Symptoms of Blepharitis
The affected eyelid is usually swollen, red, and itchy, accompanied by red eyes sometimes. The cat may scratch, or rub at its face or eyelids which may lead to secondary bacterial infections in the surrounding tissues, and causes mucus secretion.
Treatment of Blepharitis
For short-term symptomatic relief of the inflammation, your veterinarian may advise applying warm compresses for five to ten minutes many times daily and cleaning out any discharge from the eye.
A bacterial or viral infection will be treated with prescriptive eye drops.
If the condition is due to an allergic reaction, try to get rid of the irritant to prevent future flare-ups. Your vet will advise changing your cat’s diet if it is food allergies, make sure you feed your cat the recommended diet.
In cases of entropion, surgery is usually required to correct the defect. Entropion surgery can cost between $1,000 to $2,000, depending on the severity and the number of eyelids involved.
How to Prevent Blepharitis
There is no easy way to prevent Blepharitis because there are so many different causes. However, you can decrease the risk of eye disease by staying up to date with vaccinations and vet checkups; and checking your kitty’s eyes frequently for any abnormalities.
4. Dental Disease: Periodontal Disease
Studies have shown that 50-90% of cats over the age of four suffer from some form of dental disease.
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, refers to any disease around the outside of the tooth.
The most common periodontal diseases are Gingivitis and Periodontitis.
Gingivitis is a condition in which the gums around the cat’s teeth become inflamed. This inflammation is usually the result of the buildup of plaque, a layer of bacteria on the cat’s teeth.
Gingivitis can develop into Periodontitis, a very advanced gum disease that is commonly found in older cats. The gums are very inflamed, and the tooth may become loose.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
Often caused by food particles and bacteria building up along the cat’s gum line to form plaque.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Symptoms include yellow deposits on the teeth, bleeding or red gums, sneezing, bad breath, discharge from the mouth or nose, excessive drooling, loose teeth, etc.
Treatment of Periodontal Disease
The early stages i.e., Stage 1 or Stage 2 can be controlled with professional vet cleanings, daily brushing, prescription fluoride, and other products to reduce plaque development, or antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections.
For more advanced cases, like Stage 3 and Stage 4 gum diseases, detailed cleaning is still required for your cat, but the removal of diseased teeth and tissue might also be necessary.
The cost of dental treatment can vary greatly depending on the geographical area and whether the veterinarian performing the care is a specialist or not. A dental exam including x-rays and professional cleaning may cost between $800 and $1,600. Treatment for cats in Stages 3 and 4 often costs thousands of dollars.
How to Prevent Periodontal Disease
The best way to prevent the disease is by maintaining good oral hygiene with daily brushing. Brush gently using a cat toothbrush and toothpaste, as human toothpaste may contain ingredients that are harmful to your cat.
5. Dental Disease: Tooth Resorption
Tooth resorption is also known as Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORLs). This is the second most common cat oral problem that affects about 28% to 67% of cats and almost three-quarters of those over the age of five.
The condition happens when cells known as Odontoclasts destroy the surface of the tooth. It starts below the gum line and slowly dissolves the root of the affected tooth.
Causes of Tooth Resorption
The main cause of tooth resorption is still unknown. Some researchers believe that infection or inflammation caused by periodontal disease can cause the movement of Odontoclastic cells into the area. Others claim that diet plays a role in causing the disease.
Symptoms of Tooth Resorption
Pain, drooling, difficulty in chewing, dropping the food when chewing, vocalizing when eating, reduced appetite, red and inflamed gums, and more.
Treatment of Tooth Resorption
The best treatment for tooth resorption is to remove the affected tooth. This can be a complicated procedure because the tooth is often very fragile and can break. Your vet may use dental x-rays to help find and remove broken root fragments.
Extracting the entire tooth is the only way to prevent infection and other problems. If an extraction is necessary, as is often the case, the cost can be around $500 to $1,500 including anesthesia, x-rays, and pain relievers.
How to Prevent Tooth Resorption
Since there is no straightforward answer to the cause of tooth resorption, it cannot be effectively prevented. Regular dental checkups with your vet are the best way to identify any problems early to avoid pain or discomfort.
Cat hyperthyroidism is a condition that is normally caused by an overproduction of a thyroid hormone known as Thyroxine from the thyroid glands, which has the function of regulating animal metabolism.
If left untreated, the disease can cause secondary complications such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
Causes of Hyperthyroidism
The underlying cause of hyperthyroidism is unknown, and it has no known hereditary tendency. In fact, hyperthyroidism, which is frequently diagnosed in older cats, is the most common hormonal condition in the cat population.
The average age of affected cats is about 12 years. Only about 5% of them are younger than 10 years old.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
Weight loss despite an increased appetite (occasionally a loss of appetite), vomiting, diarrhea, drinking and peeing more than usual, hyperactivity or aggression, and deterioration of the cat’s coat which may appear unkempt or oily.
Treatment of Hyperthyroidism
Luckily, most cats with hyperthyroidism can be properly treated, and many of them will fully recover.
Surgical removal of the affected thyroid gland can produce a permanent cure, it costs between $1,800 to $2,500.
Radioactive iodine therapy is another effective type of treatment. It selectively destroys hyperactive thyroid tissue, and the cost usually ranges from $1,500 to $1,900, depending on the required dose of treatment. This includes the radioactive iodine itself, the cost of food, hospitalization, litter, and monitoring.
When surgery and radioactive iodine treatment are not the options due to financial or health considerations, daily medication is an alternative to maintain control of the disease although it does not provide a cure. Medical management can cost about $600 to $900 per year. Over time, the cost of this will mount up.
How to Prevent Hyperthyroidism
Preventive measures for hyperthyroidism are not currently known, but early diagnosis reduces secondary problems and improves prognosis.
7. Upper Respiratory Infections
Feline Upper Respiratory Infection (URI) is a common term for a respiratory infection caused by one or more viral or bacterial agents.
URI is like a common cold in humans, but it can be much more serious. If it is not treated, the symptoms can worsen and lead to other serious conditions such as chronic breathing problems and blindness.
Causes of Upper Respiratory Infections
The most common viruses that cause upper respiratory tract infections in cats are Herpesvirus (FHV) and Calicivirus (FCV), which are responsible for almost 90% of all URI in cats. While the most common bacteria that cause URI in cats are Bordetella Bronchiseptica (B. bronchiseptica) and Chlamydophila felis (C. felis).
The viruses are easily spread through contact with infected cats. Hence, URI is very common in shelters, multi-cat households, and outdoor cats.
Symptoms of Upper Respiratory Infections
Coughing, sneezing, discharge from eyes or nose, oral ulcer, red eyes, fever.
Treatment of Upper Respiratory Infections
Having your cat examined by a vet and given medication to cure an upper respiratory infection might cost as little as $100. If your cat is feeling sick and requires a lot of treatment, like fluids to rehydrate, it can cost $300 or more.
Antibiotics may be recommended to combat bacterial infections that often follow viral infections. Also, your vet may recommend an eye ointment and medication to help control eye discharge and nasal congestion.
Most cats can be treated symptomatically at home if the disease is not complicated.
How to Prevent Upper Respiratory Infections
Prevention of respiratory infections often involves providing your cat with a healthy lifestyle to support the immune system. This means providing routine veterinary care, reducing stress, and providing a good quality diet. Keep the cat indoors to lower the exposure to infected animals.
8. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common heart disease in cats in which the heart muscle is thickening. About 10-15% of cats suffer from this heart condition.
Male cats have a higher chance of getting HCM as compared with females, and the disease occurs primarily in middle-aged to older cats although it can also occur in cats of any age.
If not controlled, HCM can lead to hypertension, congestive heart failure, and sudden cardiac death.
Causes of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
The direct causes of HCM remain unknown in many cases. But, genetic mutations in some cat breeds are known to lead to HCM. Thyroid disease and hypertension can further complicate the heart condition in cats.
Symptoms of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Difficulty breathing, lethargy, poor appetite, abnormal heart sounds, short breathing sounds, weak pulse and etc.
Treatment of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for HCM in cats, and the damage to the structure of the heart muscle is irreversible.
Many HCM cats will need lifelong drug therapy to control the heart rate, relieve heart congestion, and prevent blood clots that can lead to Thromboembolism.
Treatment may also involve hospitalization for several days especially if the cat is suffering from congestive heart failure, a common result of HCM. It usually includes oxygen therapy, diuretics, blood pressure control, and medications to make the heart beat more efficiently.
If a life-threatening blood clot is present, treatment may also include platelet medications, pain relievers, aspirin therapy, and physical therapy.
In most cases, the diagnosis of HCM can cost up to $1,500 and the ongoing treatments can cost from $100 to $300 per month.
How to Prevent Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
There is no method of preventing the development of HCM in an individual cat. However, breeders can play an important role in preventing HCM in predisposed breeds and a gene test is available to check if the cat is at higher risk for the disease.
Being one of the most common cat diseases, gastroenteritis refers to inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the stomach and intestines.
Causes of Gastroenteritis
A lot of things can cause cats to develop gastroenteritis, including infections, dietary changes, foreign object obstruction, medication side effects, and organ diseases like pancreatitis, kidney disease, liver disease, and gallbladder disease.
If not treated, severe bacterial gastroenteritis can lead to nerve problems, severe dehydration, kidney failure, and even death.
Symptoms of Gastroenteritis
The condition often results in diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, depression, and other clinical symptoms.
Treatment of Gastroenteritis
The course of treatment will depend on what caused the gastroenteritis. Your vet may recommend medications such as antiemetics, antidiarrheals, anti-inflammatories, antifungals, antiparasitics, or probiotics.
Fluid therapy may be recommended if diarrhea and vomiting are present and changes in diet may be required. And if the cat has a blockage in the digestive tract, it may need surgery.
The cost of treating gastroenteritis can vary, depending on the primary cause and the severity of the condition. Minor cases can cost less than $400 to treat, while severe cases requiring hospitalization, intensive care, and surgery can cost up to $3,000 or more.
How to Prevent Gastroenteritis
For prevention, you should always slowly introduce new foods, medications, and supplements into your cat’s diet. Keep things and food that your cat shouldn’t eat out of reach. And schedule regular check-ups with your vet for a routine blood and stool exam to check for infections before they cause gastroenteritis.
This occurs when a cat’s pancreas becomes inflamed. Acute pancreatitis is a sudden and short-term condition, while chronic pancreatitis is a long-term condition.
A recent study suggests that pancreatitis may affect more than 40% of cats. The disease can also lead to secondary issues like diabetes mellitus.
The mortality rate in cats with acute pancreatitis ranges from 9% to 41%.
Causes of Pancreatitis
The exact causes of pancreatitis in cats are not clear. Veterinarians think Pancreatitis is associated with some viral or parasitic infections, such as Toxoplasmosis or Pancreatic Flukes.
Other causes of Pancreatitis in cats may include improper diet, obesity, injury, inflammatory bowel disease, tumors, toxins, diabetes, and adverse reaction to certain medications.
Symptoms of Pancreatitis
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, decreased appetite and lack of energy.
Treatment of Pancreatitis
When it comes to treating pancreatitis in cats, there are no standard treatment protocols. The treatment is focused on managing symptoms, side effects, and nutrition. These usually include hospitalization for IV fluids, the fluids can help cleanse the pancreas and allow it to heal. Medicine for infections, vomiting, and pains may also be prescribed.
The cost of treatment is usually around $400 to $1,500 depending on the condition.
How to Prevent Pancreatitis
There are no sure ways to prevent pancreatitis in cats; the best prevention is through monitoring and controlling your cat’s diet. Avoid feeding your cats high-fat meals and table scraps or human foods.
Cats are obligate carnivores. Their primary source of energy and nutrients should be high-quality animal protein instead of excessive fats and carbohydrates.
Feline diabetes, commonly known as diabetes mellitus, is becoming an increasingly common condition in cats. It often occurs in overweight and senior cats.
Diabetes develops when the cat’s body is unable to produce enough insulin to maintain a normal balance of sugar in its bloodstream.
Causes of Diabetes
Although the specific cause of diabetes in cats is unknown, overweight cats are more likely to develop the disease.
Other risk factors include chronic pancreatitis and hormonal disorders like hyperthyroidism and Cushing’s disease.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, depression, excessive thirst and urination, and dehydration.
Treatment of Diabetes
Diabetes is often more successfully treated if it is detected and treated early. The goal of treatment is to keep glucose concentrations regulated.
Treatment usually includes drugs, insulin injections, and diet control.
Diabetes cats usually need regular doses of insulin that cost approximately $50–$60 every 40 days.
How to Prevent Diabetes
One of the best ways to prevent diabetes in cats is through diet management and to prevent obesity. Make sure your cat eats a healthy, balanced diet with quality sources of meat proteins and low carbohydrates. Regular visits to your veterinarian will help identify any changes in your cat’s health.
12. Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) in cats is sometimes referred to as Chronic Renal Failure or Chronic Renal Insufficiency, but they all mean the same thing; your cat’s kidneys are not functioning as effectively as they once did.
It is estimated that about 30-50% of cats above 15 years of age will have chronic kidney disease.
This is one of the most prevalent diseases that affect middle-aged and senior cats; it is often progressive over time and results in a gradual decline and worsening of the disease.
Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease
A lot of medical problems can cause kidney disease in cats. The most common causes are dehydration, poor diets, damage from infectious diseases, toxins, clotting disorders, blockage, abnormal blood pressure, and heart failure.
Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease
Weight loss, lack of appetite, bad breath, vomiting or diarrhea, dry coat, excess thirst, and dehydration.
Treatment of Chronic Kidney Disease
CKD is not a curable disease, but early detection, care, and treatment can increase your cat’s quality of life and length of life by slowing the progression of the disease.
Dietary adjustment is a crucial and effective part of the treatment. Cats with CKD may live longer and have a better quality of life when fed therapeutic diets that are low in phosphorus, protein, salt, and rich in fiber, and antioxidant levels.
Treatment therapies may also include intravenous fluids to correct dehydration, vitamin injections, phosphate binders to reduce phosphorus, potassium supplementation, etc.
Treatment costs vary with each individual case, with an average bill of $650 per year.
How to Prevent Chronic Kidney Disease
Feeding your cat a high-quality and balanced diet is the first thing in preventing CKD. This means that your cat’s diet should contain a quality animal source of protein (without fillers) that can be easily digested along with a constant supply of fresh drinking water. Always monitor your cat’s water intake to ensure that it is drinking sufficient water.
13. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) defines the range of conditions that affect a cat’s bladder and urethra.
Between 4% and 8% of cats that visit veterinary clinics have been reported to have FLUTD. The disease can be fatal if left untreated.
Causes of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
Diet, dehydration, obesity, bacterial infections, diseases like diabetes or hyperthyroidism, and environmental stress can increase the risk of FLUTD in cats. The condition can also arise from birth defects and injuries to the urinary system or spinal cord.
Symptoms of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
Cats with this disease often show signs like urinating outside the litter box, difficulty while urinating, increased frequency of urination, blood in the urine, and excessive licking around the private area due to pain.
Treatment of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
FLUTD is a severe condition that often requires extensive treatment depending on the underlying cause.
Diet management including increased water consumption and encouraging frequent urination is essential.
Antibiotics may be given to fight bacterial infections, and surgery is usually necessary to remove bladder stones or blockages.
The treatment cost will vary depending on the severity of the treatment and the treatment options used; casual treatment usually costs between $100 and $200, while surgery and hospital treatment can cost up to a few thousand dollars.
How to Prevent Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
The best way to maintain a healthy urinary tract includes encouraging your cat to drink and urinate frequently. Provide a healthy diet and stress-free environment so that your cat has a strong immune system that can fight off infection.
Also known as “degenerative joint disease” or just “arthritis”, osteoarthritis (OA) affects more cats than most cat parents are aware of.
According to Veterinary Ireland Journal, 40% of all cats show signs of OA, and more than 90% of all cats over the age of 12 experience this disease.
The disease is caused by the deterioration of the cartilage that surrounds the joint and the accumulation of fluid and bone material inside the joint. It progresses slowly over a long period of time.
OA is generally not life-threatening for domestic cats that do not have to hunt and catch their food.
Causes of Osteoarthritis
Senior cats and obese cats have the highest risk of contracting OA.
It can also be caused by a previous injury or a genetic disease like Hip Dysphasia.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Less active, reduced appetite, poor grooming habits, urinating outside the litter box, stiff swollen joints, and difficulty standing up, climbing, or jumping.
Treatment of Osteoarthritis
Since the deterioration of joints is irreversible, drug therapies such as anti-inflammatory pain relief and joint supplements are designed to control the symptoms. These medications are often given every day.
In some severe cases, your vet may recommend surgery that includes reconstructive procedures and joint removal or replacement.
The cost of long-term medications and supplements is about $400 to $1,000 per year; while the surgery ranges from $1,500 to $3,000, depending on the geographic area and the veterinarian.
How to Prevent Osteoarthritis
Maintain your kitty at a healthy weight because extra weight puts more strain on joints. Encouraging your cats to exercise for about 30 minutes daily and feeding them a complete and balanced diet that is rich in animal fatty acids will help their joints stay strong.
15. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is one of the most common infectious cat diseases around the world that affects about 2.5% to 15% of cats in the world. It is similar to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in people in that it attacks and weakens the immune system and there is no cure for it.
While it can be fatal if left untreated, a positive test for FIV is not a mandatory death sentence for cats. With proper nutrition and aggressive treatment of secondary infections, an FIV-positive cat can live a normal lifespan and even live longer than non-infected cats.
Causes of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
A cat usually develops FIV after being bitten by an infected cat. The virus is directly introduced into the non-infected cat’s bloodstream when an infected cat bites that cat. It can also be passed from an FIV-positive cat to her kittens during birth or while feeding.
Symptoms of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
Infected cats may remain healthy for many years before showing signs of disease which may include enlarged lymph nodes, oral or eye inflammation, fever, skin diseases, anemia, behavior changes, and progressive weight loss.
Treatment of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
Unfortunately, there is no known cure or treatment for FIV. The infected cat will be a life-long carrier of the virus and will need to be managed rather than cured.
FIV cats with special care and management can live for many years in good health. It includes keeping the FIV-positive cat indoors and out of contact with other animals. The cat should be neutered to avoid the urge of roaming and fighting. Regular vaccinations, flea and worm control, and feeding a high-quality diet are equally important.
To keep the cat as healthy as possible, a veterinarian may attempt anti-inflammatory medications, immune-enhancing drugs, and medications for secondary infections.
FIV treatment for cats ranges between $150 and $2,000 per treatment depending on the condition.
How to Prevent Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
Since there is no effective vaccine available to protect against FIV, the best way to prevent your cats from contracting the virus is to keep them indoors and avoid any chance of contact with infected cats.
16. Feline Leukemia Virus
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) suppresses the cat’s immune system which can lead to other infections. It affects about 3% of all cats in the United States. The affected cats may develop different disorders like anemia, cancer, and neurologic disorders.
The disease worsens over time and is often fatal due to secondary diseases.
Causes of FeLV
FeLV is usually transmitted from one cat to another via saliva or urine, which can be through biting, grooming, close contact, and sharing dishes or litter trays. The disease can also be transmitted to the kitten at birth or through breast milk. Kittens are much more susceptible to the virus, as well as males and cats that have outdoor access.
Symptoms of FeLV
The clinical signs of FeLV are very similar to FIV such as enlarged lymph nodes, anemia, weight loss, oral inflammation, fever; and infections of the skin, upper respiratory tract, and urinary tract.
Treatment of FeLV
There is currently no cure for cats infected with FeLV. Positive cats often require symptomatic treatment with medications to control the symptoms.
Some infected cats can live for years without major issues and supportive care can improve their life longevity. Recommended care includes a stress-free environment, feeding a healthy diet, and immune-support supplements.
All affected cats should be neutered and have regular visits to the vet for check-ups.
Treatment for the symptoms of FeLV usually costs between $200 and $1,000.
How to Prevent FeLV
There is a vaccine available to protect your cat against FeLV and it is highly recommended. Another approach to prevent FeLV in healthy cats is to separate the affected cats from the non-affected ones.
17. Feline Panleukopenia
Feline Panleukopenia (FPV), also known as feline distemper, is the medical term for when your cat has a low count of white blood cells.
It is a serious disease caused by Parvovirus that has been reported in many countries around the world. As a result, most cats are to some extent exposed to the infection.
Diseased cats have an approximate fatality rate of 50% and it can go over 90% in kittens. Cats who survive the symptoms for longer than 5 days will usually survive, although complete recovery may take a few weeks.
Causes of Panleukopenia
This disease is very contagious and easily spreads through feces and bodily secretions. Many cats in shelters and other crowded places are often infected. Cats of all ages can be affected by this infection, but kittens are most vulnerable.
Symptoms of Panleukopenia
Vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, fever, depression, and seizures.
Treatment of Panleukopenia
There is no straightforward cure for Panleukopenia; The treatment focuses on correcting dehydration, preventing secondary infection, and providing nutrients until the virus subsides.
FPV treatment consists of aggressive fluid treatments to correct dehydration and electrolyte defects. It can also include glucose and potassium supplements, antimicrobials, nausea therapy, and sometimes immunotherapy.
Supportive care as an outpatient may vary from $400 to $800 depending on the condition and size of the cat. The cost of hospitalization and intensive care can range between $800 and $1,500 depending on the length of stay.
How to Prevent Panleukopenia
Vaccination is an important tool for preventing FPV. All cats four weeks of age and above should be vaccinated as quickly as possible.
Obesity is the buildup of excess fat and is defined when the cat is 20% more than its ideal body weight. Obesity is presently one of the biggest health issues in domestic cats around the world. About 50% of cats are obese or overweight, especially in developed countries.
Causes of Obesity
Like people, cats can develop obesity for a number of reasons, such as overfeeding, decreased or restricted activities, aging, stress, medication side effects, and slowed metabolism.
Obesity can happen any time calorie intake exceeds energy use.
Symptoms of Obesity
Loss of visible waistline, the owner unable to feel the hip bones or rib bones, disinterest in physical activity, difficulty moving, and unkempt hair coat.
Treatment of Obesity
Diet and exercise are the most important treatments for cat obesity. Your vet will place your cat on a weight loss program that tracks the weight, food intake, and amount of exercise. There are also specific dietary supplements that your vet may prescribe.
Weight management is a long road thus it is important to keep patience during the process. You can’t rush the process because a rapid weight loss may lead to a devastating liver disease called hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver).
Prescription diets can cost from $50 to $200 per month. Medication, if necessary, can cost around $100 each month.
How to Prevent Obesity
Obesity in cats can be prevented by encouraging exercise and giving a high protein, low carbs diet without being overfed. Avoid free feeding, instead, give your cats two or three meals a day and limit snacks to 10% of the daily diet. Ensure to include at least one daily walk or playtime for 30 minutes.
19. Cancer: Lymphoma
Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system or to be specific, the white blood cells. Lymphatic tissue is the immune system found all over the body, thus the disease can cause damage to various organs throughout the cat’s body and ultimately results in death.
Lymphoma cancer usually affects the intestines, it is most common in cats about 10 years of age. The disease constitutes 90% of feline blood cancers and 30% of feline cancers.
Causes of Lymphoma
The precise cause is not known. Researchers believe that inflammation caused by diets or environmental toxins, such as smoking environment, may lead to cancer.
Symptoms of Lymphoma
The clinical signs of Lymphoma may consist of enlarged lymph nodes, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stool, lethargy, and urinary infections.
Treatment of Lymphoma
Unfortunately, Lymphoma is never truly cured.
The goal of treatment is to achieve “remission” i.e., all symptoms of cancer have disappeared, which can be partial or complete. With proper treatment, most cats with small-cell lymphoma can achieve remission for 2 to 3 years. While around 50% of cats with large-cell lymphoma will live between 6 to 9 months, a small percentage can live more than 2 years.
Usually, oral chemotherapy drugs are used for cats with small-cell lymphoma. While treatment for large-cell lymphoma usually involves chemotherapy, with a combination of drugs, and sometimes surgery and radiation therapy. Unlike humans, cats rarely lose their hair and become ill when treated with chemotherapy.
The costs of oral chemotherapy drugs may be over $100 per month while the cost of chemotherapy can range from $1,500 to $6,500 for a standard course.
How to Prevent Lymphoma
The chances of cats developing lymphoma can be reduced by preventing contact with infected FIV or FeLV infected cats, vaccination against FeLV, and ensuring that they do not reside in a tobacco smoke-filled environment.
Many veterinarians recommend feeding a high protein and low carb diet with Omega-3 fatty acids since they have anti-inflammatory properties.
20. Allergies: Environmental
It is estimated that 30 to 40% of the world’s population suffers from one or more allergic conditions and the commonness of allergic disorders has been increasing globally.
Environmental allergies, or “atopy”, are one of the most common allergies among all cat breeds and can affect cats of any age.
Causes of Environmental Allergy
There are a variety of allergens your cat may be sensitive to, such as mold, fungi, dander, dust mites, pollen, grass, plants, fragrances or perfumes, cigarette smoke, cleaning products, some cat litters, and other inhaled allergens.
Symptoms of Environmental Allergy
Sneezing, irritated or runny eyes and nose, lip sore, scabbing, vomiting or diarrhea, ear or skin infection, and swollen paws.
Treatment of Environmental Allergy
The course of treatment will differ according to the source of allergy your cat has. Cat allergies are best treated by removing the allergen from the surrounding area.
Your vet will usually perform tests to identify the potential allergens in your cat such as skin test and blood test, which costs about $200 to $300 respectively.
Depending on the severity of the symptoms and the allergy’s underlying cause, your vet may recommend antihistamines, antibiotics, or steroids. These may cost as low as $10.
Some veterinarians include the cost of treatments in a total allergy test package, the price ranges from $600 to $1000.
How to Prevent Environmental Allergy
Although it may be difficult to prevent cat allergies, you can help to reduce their exposure to allergens by keeping a home clean, providing cat litter that is dust-free and odor-free, and bathing your cat more frequently, especially outdoor cats.
A good diet with fatty acids will make a healthier skin and coat so that it is more difficult to absorb allergens.
21. Fleas Infection
Fleas infection is very common in cats. Fleas don’t always show up on cats because they can easily hide in their thick fur. They bite the cat’s skin to feed on its blood, which can result in severe irritation and may transmit diseases that they carry such as tapeworm or bacterial infections.
It is uncommon for a cat to die from fleas, but if your cat is young or weak, losing too much blood to fleas can be deadly.
Causes of Fleas Infection
As one of the most common parasites that infect cats, fleas are likely to come in touch with outdoor cats. Though, any living or nonliving thing can bring fleas into your home. Even indoor cats can become infected with fleas if the parasites get into their home.
Symptoms of Fleas Infection
Itchy skin, skin inflammation, scabbing, excessive grooming, and hair loss on the head, neck, legs, or back.
Treatment of Fleas Infection
When it comes to treating fleas, the goal is to alleviate your cat’s symptoms and to tackle all the fleas on the cat as well as the environment.
Topical treatments and flea shampoos can help to control itching and kill adult fleas and flea eggs on your cat. Your vet may prescribe oral medications or even injections if the skin infection is more serious.
A bottle of flea shampoo costs about $10, while topical treatments such as Frontline and Advantage cost around $15 for a one-month supply. Oral medications may cost from $10. To truly get rid of the flea problems, you may need to have your cat on flea control for at least three months.
How to Prevent Fleas Infection
To prevent cats from getting fleas, you should vacuum the house frequently, limit the amount of time your cat spends outdoors, limit contact with stray animals, bathe and groom your cats regularly, check your cat for fleas regularly, and talk to your vet about the right flea prevention products for your cats.
22. Tapeworms Infection
Tapeworm infections are common in the small intestine and can affect cats as well as many other mammals. They are white, flat, and segmented long worms that eat the nutrients your cat excretes. Although most are just 8 inches long when fully grown, they can reach a maximum length of 20 inches.
Tapeworms are not highly harmful to cats, but if the infection is left untreated, cats may start to show the usual tapeworm symptoms.
Causes of Tapeworms Infection
Tapeworms are most often contracted when your cat accidentally consumes tapeworm larvae. Fleas and small rodents can carry tapeworm larvae so if the cat ingests them, tapeworm larvae begin to grow inside the cat.
Symptoms of Tapeworms Infection
Diarrhea, vomiting, irregular appetite, weight loss, and poor hair coat.
Treatment of Tapeworms Infection
Fortunately, it is easy to treat tapeworms in cats.
If your cat is infected, your vet will prescribe a dewormer. The medications are usually oral, though they can also be given by injection. The cost of treating tapeworms could range from $20 to $50, while the diagnosis like tests and fecal analysis, may cost $50 to $150.
How to Prevent Tapeworms Infection
A regular deworming routine is essential especially if your cat has access to the outdoors. Flea treatment and prevention are also important to get rid of tapeworm.
23. Ear Mites Infection
Ear mites are very common in cats probably due to the fact that they are very contagious. While not life-threatening, it can cause severe irritation to your furry friend and can result in a condition known as ear scabies.
Causes of Ear Mites Infection
Ear mites are usually contracted from the outdoor environment your cat comes into contact. This can include grassy or wooded areas, veterinary clinics with poor hygiene, or animal shelters, and can spread from mother to kitten or from contact with another cat.
Symptoms of Ear Mites Infection
Cats often react to this by shaking their head or scratching their ears excessively. You may also observe droopy or inflamed ears and dark brown material that looks like coffee grounds in the ears.
Treatment of Ear Mites Infection
Treatment usually begins with a thorough cleaning of the ears to remove any wax or debris that may protect the mites from topical treatments. Once the ear is clear, parasite-killing medicine will be applied.
Depending on how tough it is to eradicate and the medication used, the cost of treating ear mites can vary between $50 and $300.
How to Prevent Ear Mites Infection
The best way to prevent ear mites is to keep your cat indoors, check your cat’s ears frequently for any signs, and organize a regular check-up with your veterinarian.
24. Ringworm Infection
Ringworm is the most common fungal infection in cats, which is caused by a type of fungi called dermatophytes. The fungi can grow on the skin and use the nutrition from the hair, skin, or nails.
Ringworm is not life-threatening, but it can be uncomfortable and can easily spread to other pets and humans. If not treated, the cat’s hair will continue to fall out and its bare skin is exposed. This can increase the cat’s risk of skin wounds and consequent infections.
Causes of Ringworm Infection
Cats get ringworm when they come into contact with the fungus that causes the infection, and it can be easily spread through contact with infected animals or humans or by touching contaminated surfaces.
Though it can affect any cat, kittens with less healthy immune systems are more likely to develop infections.
Symptoms of Ringworm Infection
Excessive grooming due to itchiness, cracky ring-shaped rash, and circular patches of skin with hair loss.
Treatment of Ringworm Infection
The most common way to treat ringworm in cats is to use a combination of topical treatment (application of ointments, creams, or shampoos) and oral systemic therapy (administration of anti-fungal drugs by mouth).
The total cost for treating ringworm can be as little as $100.
Your vet will usually advise you to restrict the cat in a room to prevent the fungus spores from spreading throughout the house. As the spores can live in your home for as long as 18 months, you are advised to decontaminate the whole house to avoid re-infection.
How to Prevent Ringworm Infection
To prevent ringworm from spreading, it’s important to clean surfaces and objects where spores can spread. Wash all fabrics at home. If it can’t be washed, vacuum it. Disinfect cat toys, beds, combs, and brushes, and clean surfaces with diluted chlorine bleach.
25. High-rise Syndrome
High-rise syndrome is the common set of injuries that cats can sustain when falling from heights such as a balcony, window, or an interior second-story landing.
Cases of high-rise syndrome usually spike during warmer weather months when windows are likely to be opened, but it can happen any time a balcony door or window is left open. The fall can be even more dangerous if the cat falls from a lower window or two stories.
There is a 90% survival rate for cats that get immediate medical attention after a high-rise fall. But it can be an expensive, painful, and long journey to recovery.
Causes of High-rise Syndrome
Some of the known causes include leaving windows open without proper screening, cats being shocked by a vacuum or other mechanical noise, or when going after prey, cats fail to note surroundings because of extreme focus on the prey.
Symptoms of High-rise Syndrome
The symptoms vary greatly which may include vomiting, visible wounds, bleeding, misaligned limbs, lips swelling, bruises, fever, and more.
Even if your cat seems fine after a fall, it is still necessary to bring it to the vet for a check-up because the cat may be suffering from internal bleeding or brain injury.
Treatment of High-rise Syndrome
Treatment depends on the injuries sustained, but normally includes medication to control pain, oxygen for chest trauma, dental work for cracked jaws or teeth, and surgery for broken bones or other damage. Cats are usually hospitalized for several days.
Conservative treatment for high-rise syndrome can cost around $1,000; where surgery is involved (which is usually the case), the price can range from $2,000 to more than $5,000.
How to Prevent High-rise Syndrome
The good news is that high-rise syndrome is very preventable, you can prevent high-rise syndrome with a little knowledge and planning on your part.
Keep your window screens tightly in place, if you don’t have window screens, close the windows. Keep your cats off open balconies, don’t feed birds on your balcony, and always keep the balcony doors completely closed. Don’t rely on childproof window guards because cats can squeeze through just fine.
It is also important to spay or neuter your cat to prevent it from escaping to search for a mate.
Conclusion: 25 Most Common Cat Diseases
While most of these common diseases in cats are not fatal in the first place, they do have the potential to become serious and some may eventually cause death if not treated properly.
Hence, it is important to pay close attention to your cat and watch out for any signs of discomfort. Preventative care, feeding a healthy diet, staying up-to-date on vaccines, and regular checkups are vital to maintaining your cat’s health.
Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.