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What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

Many kinds of illnesses and symptoms in cats may worry you as a pet owner. Some can even be fatal if left for too long. Our Scottsdale vets offer information about the symptoms and signs of illness in your cat you should keep an eye out for. 

What are some common cat illnesses?

Here are 3 of the illnesses and the symptoms you should be aware of as a loving cat owner. If it is required, make sure you're ready to visit your veterinarian, especially because cats will isolate themselves when they're sick.

Upper Respiratory Infections

Your cat's sinuses, nose and throat (which are all part of their upper respiratory tract) can get infected with different viruses and bacteria. These illnesses can be passed around in households or shelters where multiple cats share a space with one another. Even something as simple as two cats sharing a food or water dish can be enough to transfer the feline calcivirus or feline herpesvirus. 

These viruses can be transferred to other cats similarly, or through grooming, sneezing and coughing.

Symptoms include:

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


A cat will develop diabetes mellitus if they don't produce enough insulin to balance their glucose or blood sugar levels. This condition can cause several different symptoms, many of them serious:

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

If you cat's diabetes

If diabetes is poorly controlled, the disease can shorten a cat's lifespan and lead to numerous health problems such as nerve disorders. It may also result in severe emergency situations. Treatment can include insulin injections and will be focused on managing this condition. 


Cancer is caused by the uncontrollable growth of cells in a cat's body and can affect any number of their organs. The disease begins to develop inside a cell and then attaches to the tissue below the skin. When it does this, cancer can possibly spread to other areas of the body. 

Feline Leukemia Virus is a common contributor to cancer in cats and can be diagnosed. Environmental toxins can also play a part in the development of cancer in cats. If your vet identifies early stages of cancer in your cat, they may be able to treat it.

Symptoms include:

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

Many different kind of treatments are available for cancer including chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. Which treatment your vet recommends will depend on your cat, how advanced their illness is, the kind of cancer and it's location in their body.

What should I do if my cat is ill?

If your cat is ill and showing any of the symptoms listed above, you should bring them to your veterinarians as soon as possible. At Scottsdale Ranch Animal Hospital, we are equipped to give your pet the care they need with our onsite pharmacy, in-house laboratory, and emergency clinic.

Do you suspect your cat is sick? Our vets are experienced in providing care for cats with all manner of common illnesses and conditions. Book an appointment at Scottsdale Ranch Animal Hospital today.

Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Book Online (480) 391-3699