Common kitty health problems – and how to spot them
For us kitty parents, the value our furbabies add to our lives can’t be measured. There’s plenty of evidence that they improve our health – especially when it comes to mental health and stress-related illnesses. Call me silly, but I’m sure that having Jade by my side helps me recover faster when I’m sick! Since our cats take care of us, we want to take care of them, too.
But by nature, cats don’t make it easy for us to watch out for their health. Loathe to show weakness in front of fellow predators, cats naturally go out of their way to hide pain or illness. As their caretakers, it’s our job to see past their tough exterior. So, check out these health problems that frequently affect cats, and their warning signs.
Fleas and ear mites
These nasty little critters most commonly latch onto outdoor cats, but can get into the house on dogs or even people’s clothes. The good news is that both fleas and mites are treatable. But first, you’ve got to spot them. If your kitty is scratching or licking his skin constantly, or losing hair, he might have fleas. Another telltale sign is “flea dirt,” or little black dots on the kitty’s skin.
Ear mites are similar to fleas, but only take residence in the ear canal. If your cat is shaking her head a lot or scratching her ears, it might be mites. Also look out for waxy, black earwax, scabs, and inflammation. If you’re not too squeamish, take a whiff of your pet’s ear – mites emit a strong odor.
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases – FLUTD
FLUTD refers to a handful of urinary diseases that are very common, especially among cats who eat dry food or have been experiencing stress. If your kitty’s litter manners suddenly deteriorate, especially if he starts making small puddles all around the house, it might be a sign of FLUTD. Also watch out for bloody urine, licking around the pelvis, and vomiting. And, watch what your cat doesn’t do – if he stops urinating or eating, it might mean FLUTD.
These are an intestinal parasite common in both dogs and cats. Left untreated, tapeworms can be disastrous. Luckily, they are easy to spot and treat. Just keep an eye on the litter box. If you find little white specks that look like sesame seeds, you probably just found tapeworm segments. A trip to the vet and some oral medication is in order.
Other digestive issues
Digestive problems in cats are common, but thankfully easy to spot. Just watch for vomiting and diarrhea. If you find yourself cleaning up either type of mess continuously for a few days, you probably want to call the vet.
If it’s diarrhea, you can try treating your kitty at home first. Offer her plenty of water, and less food than usual – and water down the food. If the problem clears up, great! If not, talk to the vet.
If it’s vomit, you should also focus on keeping kitty hydrated. And when you make an appointment with the vet, ask whether you should try to bring in a sample. Despite the yuck factor, this might help your vet reach a speedier diagnosis.
And, one warning sign to always keep an eye on…
…is whether your cat spends a lot of time hiding. Like we mentioned at the top of the post, cats are great at hiding pain or illness. When they can’t conceal the symptoms, they’ll conceal themselves. So, if you notice your kitty hiding behind or beneath furniture, and not coming out to play or cuddle, something may be wrong.
Is there something else we should have covered here?
Can you think of any other common kitty health problems you’d like to see covered on the blog? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Tell me about the experiences you’ve had with your pet’s health, and what you’ve learned. If it’s something I’m not equipped to research, we’ll talk it over with a veterinarian to get the best info. After all, it’s an uphill battle to stay on top of our cat’s health. We’ve got to support each other.
Wishing you nine healthy lives,
Hannah and Jade