Common Cat Health Problems

If you've never owned a cat before, you may not realize that cats can suffer from quite a few different health problems. Some of these problems are easily preventable, while others are hereditary.

One of the most common cat health problems is the hairball. Cats groom themselves constantly with their tongues. The loose hair comes off on their tongues and is swallowed.

Sometimes the hair gradually forms into a ball instead of passing through the cat's body. If your cat starts coughing and hacking, he may have a hairball.

Usually, the cat will expel the ball on his own. To prevent hairballs, groom your cat frequently to remove loose hair. In addition, feed your cat food that helps control hairballs.

Recently, treats that help control cat  hairballs have become available as well.

Another common health problem in cats is the urinary tract infection. This infection is particularly common in un-neutered male cats, although female cats can also develop this problem.

If your cat has suddenly stopped using his litter box, a urinary tract infection could be the culprit. If your cat's urine smells strong, you should suspect a urinary tract infection.

These infections need to be treated by your veterinarian.

Be sure to ask about cat foods that help alleviate the chance of an infection re-occurring.

There are also several dangerous viruses that cats can catch. Feline Infectious Peritonitis, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, and Feline Leukaemia Virus.

FIP is a disease that is related to Corona virus. This problem is serious, because there is no known treatment for the disease.

Cats who test positive for this disease may not actually have it, as Corona gives the same result on the titer.

There is a vaccine for FIP, but many veterinarians and scientists say that it actually is not very effective. Luckily, this disease is not as easy to catch as some other diseases.

FIV, or cat AIDs, is not always fatal. Some people are afraid that they will catch HIV from a cat with FIV, but that cannot happen.

FLV is preventable if the cat has not been exposed to the virus before being immunized.

Although the disease is not always immediately fatal, cats with FLV rarely have a long life expectancy. You should never bring other cats into your household when you have a cat with FLV.

Worms are also a problem for many cats. Roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms are the most common types that infect cats.

However, they can occasionally develop heart worms, as well. If your cat seems unable to gain wait, is infested with fleas, or has white specks that look like grains of rice in his stools, you should take him to the veterinarian to be tested for worms.

A cat with worms is easily cured with a few doses of medication, but worms can prove fatal if left untreated.

Finally, if your cat spends time outdoors, you should keep a close eye on him for ticks.

If you find a tick on your cat's body and he has been acting lethargic or moving slowly and acting as if he was in pain, you should ask your veterinarian to test him for Lyme Disease.

This disease is transmitted to people and animals by ticks.

To read more about owning cats and kittens, click here to return to the Cat Ownership Tips home page.

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