Cats are wonderful household companions and beloved members of many families. But they can also be a bit mysterious and independent, making it challenging to know if something is affecting their health. Whether your cat is a kitten, a senior, or somewhere in between, it is important to know the early warning signs of feline illnesses.
Here are some common health issues among cats and how to take a natural approach to your cat’s treatment.
Feline Leukemia Virus
One of the leading causes of death in cats is feline leukemia virus, a disease that often does not show symptoms in the early stage. This disorder weakens a cat’s immune system and makes them more susceptible to other diseases, such as anemia and kidney disease. Symptoms include poor coat condition, enlarged lymph nodes, abscesses, and fever. It is common among kittens under one year of age. There is a FeLV vaccination that you can get for your cat and testing is available for the disease.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
Somewhat similar to HIV in humans, cats can develop FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus), which weakens the cat’s immune system. Cats with FIV often do not show any symptoms for several years, and then symptoms worsen over time. Some common symptoms include hair loss, non-healing wounds, weight loss, and behavioral changes.
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
Many cats develop issues with their urinary tracts, including feline lower urinary tract disease. This type of disease affects the bladder or urethra and is most common among overweight and middle-aged cats. Environmental factors, such as stress and a change in routine, can cause the onset of the condition. Signs that your cat may have an issue include straining to urinate, excessive licking of the genitals, blood in urine, and only passing a few drops of urine at a time.
There are various parasites that harm their health. For example, intestinal worms can cause serious hazards for cats and even affect humans. Tapeworms are parasites that are often carried by fleas and ingested by cats while they are grooming. You may notice tapeworms in a cat’s feces or vomit if they enter the stomach. Although more common in dogs, heartworms can also affect cats and cause coughing or breathing trouble. A blood test is needed to diagnose heartworm in cats. Meanwhile, ear mites are parasites that can enter a cat’s ear canal and cause itching. Thorough cleaning and medication may be required for ear mite treatment.
It’s not just humans that get diabetes because of a lack of insulin or poor response to it in the body. Cats can have type I or type II diabetes, and studies show that male cats and obese cats are most prone to the disease. Cats that develop type II diabetes may also develop type I diabetes and actually require insulin therapy to survive. Symptoms of diabetes in cats include increased thirst, frequent urination, urinating outside the litter box, and urinary tract infections.
Lymphoma is the most common type of cancer that affects cats. A tumor is the most obvious sign of cancer but certainly not the only one. Common symptoms of cancer in cats are lethargy, lumps, skin sores, labored breathing, and decreased appetite. Cancer in cats can be centralized in just one area or spread throughout the entire body.
Naturally Preventing and Treating Cats
The best thing you can do to prevent diseases in cats is to keep up with regular veterinary checkups so that a trained professional can look for the early warning signs and help you take action right away. Talk with your vet about natural treatment options as medication alternatives for non-life-threatening situations. For example, some pet parents swear by cranberry powder or juice for cats with bladder issues and a small amount of yogurt with probiotics for cats with stomach issues. Other people use olive oil for cats’ digestion, supplements for joint issues, CBD oil for stress, and citrus fruits for fleas.
Learn more about naturally caring for your cat on the Seagate blog: