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What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

Many different kinds of illnesses and their symptoms may worry you if you see them appear in your feline companion. Here, our Somerset vets offer some insight into a few different, and potentially dangerous, cat illnesses. 

What are some common cat illnesses?

As a cat parent, there are a number of illness that affect our feline companions that you should be aware of, especially since cats tend to isolate themselves when feeling unwell, making it difficult to detect symptoms. Here are 3 common cat illnesses and their symptoms. 

Upper Respiratory Infections

Your cat's throat, nose and sinuses—otherwise known as their upper respiratory tract—can become infected with bacteria and viruses. These infections can be transmitted around in shelters and multi-cat households. Cats may become infected with feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus through something even as commonplace as sharing a food or water bowl.

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

Symptoms include:

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


If a cat doesn't produce sufficient insulin to balance blood sugar or glucose levels, they develop diabetes mellitus. Left untreated, it may lead to several serious symptoms, such as:

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

If diabetes isn't properly controlled, this disease can significantly shorten a cat's lifespan and lead to a number of different health issues like nerve disorders. It may also result severe emergencies to occur. Treatment may include insulin injections and will be focused on managing this condition. 


Cancer is caused by an uncontrollable growth of cells in an animal's body, potentially affecting a wide variety of cells and organs. This disease generally starts to develop within a cell before attaching to the tissue below the skin and spreading to other areas of the body. 

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

Symptoms include:

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

Depending on whether or not the tumor is caught and diagnosed early enough, the kind of cancer and it's stage of development, as well as its specific location in the body, the effectiveness of the treatment plan and other factors, a number of different treatment plans may be advised for your cat, from chemotherapy and radiation to surgeries

What should I do if my cat is ill?

If your cat is ill and exhibiting any of the symptoms that are listed above, it's important that you bring them into the vet as soon as you can. At Spinnaker Veterinary Clinic, we have an in-house lab, emergency clinic and onsite pharmacy available to your pet in order to provide them with the care they need. We also offer referrals for after-hours emergencies. 

Do you suspect that your cat is ill with one of the illnesses listed above? Our vets are extensively experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of common illnesses and their symptoms in our feline companions. Book an appointment at Spinnaker Veterinary Clinic today.

New Patients Welcome

We're happily accepting new patients at Spinnaker Veterinary Clinic! Our experienced vets are committed to caring for pets in Somerset and surrounding areas. Reach out today to schedule your pet's first appointment. 

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(508) 673-3690