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Common Cat Illnesses And Symptoms

Common Cat Illnesses And Symptoms

A number of cat illnesses and their symptoms may be worrying to you. Some may even be fatal if not promptly treated. Our Murfreesboro vets are here to offer some insight into the signs and symptoms you should be aware of. 

What are some common cat illnesses?

As a cat owner, there are a number of illnesses you should be aware of that may affect your feline friend. Be ready to visit your veterinarian if required. This goes doubly since cats will often instinctively isolate when they are ill. Here are 3 common cat illnesses and their symptoms:

Upper Respiratory Infections

The upper respiratory tract of your cat: their throat, nose, and sinuses, may become infected with a number of different kinds of bacteria or viruses. Illnesses like feline herpesvirus or feline calicivirus can be passed around in multi-cat households through something as simple as just sharing a water or food 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:

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


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

If diabetes isn't properly controlled, it may significantly shorten your cat's lifespan and cause numerous issues including nerve disorders. It may also result in severe emergency situations. Treatments for diabetes in cats include insulin injections and will be focused on managing the effects of the condition.


Uncontrolled growth of cells can cause cancer, which can affect a wide range of organs and cells in a cat's body. The disease first starts to develop within a cell, before it attaches to tissue below the skin and potentially spread to other areas. 

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:

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

Depending on whether the tumor is caught and diagnosed early enough, the type of cancer and its extent, specific location within the body, etc., whether an effective treatment plan can be developed, and other factors, a number of treatments such as radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy may be attempted. 

What should I do if my cat is ill?

If your cat is feeling unwell and is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, it's important that you bring them in to see one of our vets as soon as possible. At Animal Medical Center, we have an in-house laboratory, onsite pharmacy, and all-hours emergency clinic to provide your pet the care they need.

Do you suspect your cat is sick? Our vets are experienced in diagnosing and treating many common illnesses and conditions. Book an appointment at Animal Medical Center today.

New Patients Always Welcome

Animal Medical Center is happy to welcome new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about improving the health of Murfreesboro companion animals. Contact us today to book your pet's first appointment.

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