What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

There are many worrying illnesses and symptoms your cat can develop, some of them can even be fatal if they go too long without being treated. Today our knowledgable Edgewater vets explain the signs and symptoms you should look out for.

What are some common illnesses in cats?

If you are a cat parent there are many illnesses and conditions you have to know about. You need to be ready to go to your veterinarians if necessary, especially because cats instinctively isolate themselves when they are sick. Below are 3 illnesses that are common among cats and their symptoms.  

Upper Respiratory Infections

Your cat's upper respiratory tract—their throat, nose and sinuses—could get infected with viruses and bacteria. Often spreading in multi-cat households and shelters, cats can contract feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus through something as primitive as sharing a water or food bowl. 

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

Symptoms include:

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


If your cat doesn't produce sufficient levels of insulin to balance glucose levels or blood sugar, they can develop diabetes mellitus. If this goes untreated, it can lead to a variety of serious symptoms, including:

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

If diabetes isn't controlled properly, the disease can shorten your cat's lifespan and cause various health problems such as nerve disorders. It might also result in severe emergency situations. Treatment will be focused on managing this condition and may include insulin injections. 


Cancer is caused by uncontrolled growth of cells, this could affect a vast range of organs and cells in a cat's body. The disease first starts to develop within a cell, before it attaches to tissues below the skin and potentially spreading to other areas. 

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

Symptoms include:

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

The type of cancer your cat has, if the tumor is diagnosed early enough,  its extent and its specific location within the body will play a factor in whether or not an effective treatment plan can be developed. There is also a variety of treatments that could be attempted such as radiation, surgery and chemotherapy. 

What should I do if my cat becomes 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 Animal General, we have an in-house laboratory, onsite pharmacy, and emergency clinic to provide your pet the care they need.

Do you think your cat could be sick? Schedule an appointment with our vets at Animal General today. Our veterinarians are highly trained and qualified to diagnose and treat many common cat conditions and illnesses.