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3 Common Cat Illnesses & Their Symptoms

3 Common Cat Illnesses & Their Symptoms

Even for the most attentive cat owners, it can be hard sometimes to tell when our feline companions are ill, even when they are seriously sick! Here, our Gilbert vets explain the signs of 3 common illnesses in cats as well as their symptoms. 

How do I know if my cat is sick?

Like any pet owner, if you have a cat you need to be on a swivel for health issues and a visit to the veterinarian if required. This can be especially true for cats since they isolate themselves and hide their symptoms instictually when sick. To help you to recognize symptoms of illness in your kitty, here are explanations of 3 common cat illnesses that you should keep an eye out for as well as their symptoms. 

Upper Respiratory Infections (Cat Colds)

Just like in people, bacteria and viruses can cause infections in your cat's upper respiratory tract, their throat, their sinuses and their nose.

These infections, or "cat colds," can be seen pretty frequently in multi-cat houses or shelters since they are very contagious! Cats can contract upper respiratory infections like feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus as easily as by sharing a water or food bowl, grooming one another, and by coughing or sneezing in one another's vicinity/ 

The symptoms of upper respiratory illness in cats are much like the symptoms of respiratory illnesses in people. To determine whether your cat has a cat cold or upper respiratory infection look for the following symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Congestion or drooling
  • Coughing or gagging
  • Decreased or lost appetite
  • Runny nose or nasal discharge


Diabetes is becoming increasingly common in cats across the United States. If your cat is unable to produce enough insulin to balance out their glucose levels or blood sugar, they will develop diabetes mellitus. If left untreated, diabetes can shorten your cat's lifespan and lead to nervous system disorders, health issues and potentially even emergency trips to the vet. The treatment for diabetes in our feline companions is focused on management of the condition rather than curing it and can include injections of insulin.

If your cat is displaying any of the following symptoms make an appointment to see your vet straight away, your cat may be suffering from diabetes that requires immediate attention.

  • Thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Vomiting
  • Increased appetite or loss of appetite
  • Motor function problems
  • Dehydration
  • Coma
  • Death


In cats, cancer can affect a wide variety of cells, organs and bodily functions. Cancer begins to grow within a cell itself before attaching to tissues beneath your cat's skin and possibly even spreading to other parts of their body. 

Detection of this disease as early as possible is critical to successfully treating cancer in cats. If your cat is showing any of the following signs, make an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible.

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

Feline Leukemia Virus (which cats can be vaccinated against) is a common contributor to cancer in cats. Other potential causes of cat cancers include toxins in the environment. If detected early during a physical exam, cancer in cats may be able to be treated.

If your cat is diagnosed with cancer, your vet may recommend that surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy be used to help treat their illness. Some different factors that can influence the success of cancer treatment can include the variety of canecr, it's extend throughout the body and the location of tumors. 

What should I do if my cat is sick?

If your cat is showing any of the symptoms from the illnesses outlines above, bring them to your vet as soon as you can. Illnesses found in our feline companions can progress quite quickly and can become very serious in a short time. 

Is your cat showing signs of illnesses like those outlines above? It's time to bring them into your Gilbert veterinary clinic. Contact Crossroads Veterinary Hospital today for diagnosis and treatment of your cat's illness.

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Contact us today to book your first appointment and find out the difference that caring, compassionate and knowledgeable veterinary service makes in your pet's health and happiness. 

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