6 common cat diseases and symptoms

Common cat diseases are hard to prevent. You could do everything to keep your cat healthy, but one small mistake could put your feline friend in danger. But if you have a profound knowledge of potential cat diseases, then you can prevent your cat from getting one. Knowhow of diseases, their symptoms, and signs help you in early detection.

Some cat diseases are tough to avoid; therefore, several cats globally suffer from such diseases. Here are the most common cat diseases and their symptoms:


Tapeworm most commonly affects cats all over the world. Tapeworms are long, flat, and white worms. They can live in the small intestines of your cat. Some of these tapeworms grow up to two feet or 20 inches inside the small intestine. They feed off from anything fed to the cat. Once the tapeworm is large enough, it starts shedding parts of itself. Those segments are called proglottids. Proglottids contain tapeworm eggs. These eggs are released as soon as the proglottid dries out.

Cats can get tapeworm through:

  • Contaminated water
  • Eating animals like mouse or squirrel
  • Fleas. Flea larvae can contain tapeworms. Cats usually digest flea larvae while grooming itself.

Tapeworms are hard to detect as their symptoms are generally very subtle. Major symptoms of tapeworms are vomiting, weight loss, and indigestion. Tapeworm can also be detected by checking the feces of your cat. Tapeworm looks like a grain of rice or sesame seeds. Tapeworms are also found around the anus of your cat or the bedding. Therefore, if you notice something odd, then check the bedding and anus of your cat. Tapeworms are easy to treat, as there are several injections and medicines available. Oral tapeworm medicine is called a dewormer. A deworming medicine simply dissolves the tapeworm in your cat’s intestine.


Cats get fleas at least once in their lifetime. Fleas are the most common disease in cats. Cats usually get fleas from other animals. Since it is a topical disease, therefore, it is easier to treat. Here are some of the symptoms that your cat has fleas:

  • Excessive grooming
  • Excessive scratching
  • Flea dirt on skin or bedding
  • Skin irritation
  • Spots on skin
  • Hair loss
  • Licking its skin

Fleas can easily be treated. Here are some of the ways to treat fleas:

  • Flea combs
  • Oral medication
  • Flea shampoo
  • Topical medication
  • Flea collars
  • Flea sprays

Even though these are great methods to get rid of fleas, you have to consider the environment of your cat as well. Don’t forget to treat your feline fellow’s environment. Clean the entire house as fleas can survive in the house for one year. Treat other pets in the house as well. Call your local exterminator if the situation gets out of hand. Fleas should be controlled immediately. It could cause anemia and tapeworm if left untreated. Therefore, contact your vet as soon as possible.


Underlying problems usually cause diarrhea in cats. Diarrhea is usually caused by intestinal parasites, expired food, allergies, and cancer. Loose, watery, and liquid stool, along with sluggish behavior, are the symptoms of diarrhea. This could last from one day to one month.

Excessive diarrhea could lead to dehydration, which then results in weak immunity. Therefore, if your cat has diarrhea, then make sure that it is hydrated. Immediately stop feeding your cat if you notice diarrhea. Take your cat to a vet if diarrhea lasts for more than one day. Diarrhea indicates serious health issues if there is blood in stool, vomiting, lethargic behavior, or loss of appetite.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases or FLUTD is a collection of feline diseases. These diseases affect 3 percent of cats worldwide. These diseases equally infect female and male cats. Underweight, overweight, stressed, or unfit cats are at a higher risk of getting such diseases. A sudden change in the environment or negligence could also cause your cat to get FLUTD. Here are the common symptoms of FLUTD:

  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Blood in urine, stool or vomit
  • Lack of appetite
  • Pain while urinating or defecating
  • Litter box issues
  • Licking urinary parts to reduce the pain

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, then immediately contact your vet. If your cat is in extreme pain, then take it to the emergency room because it could be due to urinary tract problems.



Vomiting is also a common disease. Cats usually don’t vomit. It is a serious problem if your cat keeps vomiting for hours or days. Vomiting is mainly caused by poisonous food, indigestible food, hairballs, urinary tract disease, or accidentally eating inedible objects. Drooling and abdominal heaving are symptoms of vomiting. It could easily be treated with the help of oral medication.

Eye infections

Eye problems in cats are usually an emergency. Some of the reasons for eye infections are: 

  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Trauma
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Inflammation
  • Retinal diseases

Some of the symptoms are given below:

  • Watery eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Cloudiness
  • Confusion
  • White eyelid lining
  • Squinting
  • Third eyelid
  • Scratching the eye
  • Pawing at the eye

You cannot guess the cause of your cat’s eye disease; therefore, immediately contact your vet. Only a vet or professional caregiver could help in diagnosing the underlying problem.


The diseases mentioned above are just a few from a stack of diseases. Cats are infected by several diseases every year. Some cats are more prone to such conditions due to their age. Aging cats have weaker immunity, which puts them at risk of contracting infections. Kittens also have a weak immune system, which causes them to get sick easily. As it is a difficult task to detect illnesses in cats, cats get diagnosed late. Therefore, always observe your cat. Try to understand the patterns of your cat. This would help you in detecting a disease early on. Also, it is better to take precautionary measures. Therefore, try to keep your feline friend away from sick cats or pets. Check with your vet immediately if you notice any symptom. Other than that, regular visits to the vet are essential to keep your cat healthy.

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