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Common cat diseases and symptoms to watch for [Checklist]

One of a cat’s many talents is their ability to hide signs of illness or injury until their condition has advanced. As a cat owner, this makes it extremely important to know what early signs to look out for that can tell you that something isn’t right with your cat’s health, so you can seek veterinary treatment early.

Learning what diseases are common and becoming familiar with your own cat’s normal behaviour are great ways to better understand your cat's potential risk level, and what to look out for. Knowing the clinical signs associated with common diseases can help you recognise a problem and determine how your pet may be impacted by the disease, the next steps you should take and what treatment could look like, in consultation with your veterinarian.

A variety of illnesses can impact your cat from viral infections to hormone irregularities, as well as chronic conditions that develop with age. Examples covered in this article include Conjunctivitis, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Hyperthyroidism, Feline lower urinary tract disease, Arthritis and more.

Getting to know a bit about these illnesses and their symptoms will help you understand any preventative measures you could take to reduce the risk of or impact of the conditions. For chronic conditions with no cure, such as kidney disease or arthritis, symptoms can only be managed once diagnosed. This makes identification and early diagnosis crucial to minimising pain and slowing their progression.

On the other hand, the risk of viral infections can be reduced by regular vaccinations, which make it less likely your cat will be infected by specific viruses and reduce the severe disease if they do become infected. The risk of obesity and associated diseases such as diabetes can be reduced through good regular management, such as feeding an appropriate quantity of a diet that is suited to your individual cat, monitoring your cat's weight and providing plenty of opportunities for exercise.

Whatever the case, if you notice any of these symptoms you should seek the advice of your veterinarian so they can help to identify if there is a problem and, if so, to begin management or treatment.

To learn more about how you can identify these common cat diseases, along with their associated symptoms, check out our downloadable checklist!

Download the Common cat diseases and symptoms to watch for [Checklist]

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Dr Rosemary Elliot 

Dr Rosemary studied veterinary science at the University of Sydney after having established her career as a clinical psychologist, and has qualifications of BVSc (Hons), MANZCVS (Animal Welfare), MPsych (Clin), BA (Hons) as well as previously establishing her career as a clinical psychologist. Her experiences during veterinary training fostered an ambition to focus directly on animal welfare and ethics, with a particular interest in animal sentience and the human-animal bond. Currently working in small animal practice, Dr Rosemary combines her psychology background and veterinary skills to contribute to and promote animal welfare, and regularly contributes quality content to RSPCA Pet Insurance's Pet Care blog.