7 Most Common Cat Health Problems

sick cat

There are numerous health problems that cats can develop at any age.

If you own a cat or you’re thinking about getting one, you need to learn about some of these things.

This will enable you to take better care of your cat over the long term.

1. Lower Urinary Tract Disease

It is fairly common for cats to develop lower urinary tract disease, also known as FLUTD. This condition causes a cat to stop using its litter box. You might notice blood in their urine if it is severe enough. Cats with this problem also lick their genitals frequently. They may also urinate a lot more or less than usual.

There are numerous things that can cause FLUTD, including bladder stones and cancer. This is ultimately a symptom of a larger problem that needs to be addressed. Your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics if your cat has a bacterial infection.

Another cause of this health problem is a blockage in the urinary tract. If this is the case, your vet will most likely just clear it. A change in the cat’s diet may also be recommended to avoid this issue in the future with your pet.

2. Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease can be an extremely serious health problem for cats. These worms can be contracted when a cat gets bite by an infected mosquito. It is a lot more common for outdoor cats to develop this particular disease.

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Some of the symptoms of heartworm disease to watch out for include:

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe coughing with no hairballs
  • Trouble walking/balancing

There is currently no treatment for heartworm disease that is truly effective. A lot of cats are able to fight off the infection on their own. Older and younger cats that get these worms are at the most risk because of their weakened immune system.

While a veterinarian can perform surgery to remove the heartworms, it might not be worth it due to the high level of risk involved.

cat sick

3. Cancer

Cancer is always a concern with pets, especially cats. Feline leukemia is a fairly common health problem that can be fatal in many cases. It can affect your cat’s chest cavity or intestines.

Some of the most common symptoms of feline cancer are:

  • Repeated skin infections
  • Sluggish behavior
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Labored breathing
  • Difficulty urinating and/or defecating
  • New lumps that grow in size and/or shape

The treatment options for feline cancer depend on how far it has progressed in your pet. Your vet might recommend chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment. These treatments can be highly effective for some cats but not others.

You will need to see a veterinarian who deals exclusively with cancer.

4. Kidney Disease

Kidney disease can also be a fairly serious health problem among cats. This condition makes it difficult or even impossible for the cat to expel waste in its urine. This inevitably leads to a dangerous accumulation of toxins in their body.

Some of the symptoms of kidney disease in cats include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Low energy
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Before treatment can begin, your vet will need to discover the precise cause of the kidney disease. If the condition has progressed far enough, your cat could need a new kidney. A transplant could save your cat’s life, but it can also be fairly risky.

There is also a chance that your cat could need to have dialysis administered to it for the rest of its life.

5. Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is fairly common among older cats, though these animals can develop it at any stage in their life. This condition is basically caused by an overactive thyroid gland.

Some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism to look for in cats include:

  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Drastic and sudden weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Frequent vomiting

There are numerous medications that can be used to treat this condition in cats. Surgery may be recommended, depending on how serious it is. This is a condition that many cats live with for years without any significant decrease in the overall quality of their life. The third treatment option is radioactive iodine therapy, which can be very effective.

sick kitten

6. Diabetes

Diabetes Mellitus affects a lot of cats and can be quite serious. Cats that already have hyperthyroidism or pancreatitis are more likely to develop this condition. Obesity is another significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes in these animals.

Some of the symptoms of diabetes in cats include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Lethargy

This condition can be fatal if treatment is not started early on. You may end up having to administer insulin injections to your cat on a daily basis for the rest of its life.

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7. Cataracts

Many cats also develop cataracts as they get older, which can impair their vision. Glaucoma is another potentially serious condition that affects the eyes.

Some of the symptoms of these issues include:

  • Cloudy eyes
  • Squinting
  • Pawing at their own eyes
  • Watery eyes

If you suspect that your cat is having some problem with its eyes, you’ll need to get it looked at by your veterinarian right away.


  • Lower urinary tract disease can be quite serious. A couple of the most common causes include cancer and bladder stones.
  • Heartworm disease is most common in outdoor cats. There is no definitive treatment, but surgery can be performed to remove the worms.
  • Feline leukemia is fairly common, and it can occur in cats of any age.
  • Kidney disease is a very serious problem for many cats. It can require dialysis or even a transplant of the kidney.
  • Hyperthyroidism is usually not life threatening, but it can become fatal if it not treated early enough.
  • Many cats also develop diabetes, which can also be fatal without proper treatment.
  • Cataracts and other eye problems are common with older cats as their vision declines.
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