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What Are Some Common Cat Illnesses & Symptoms?

What Are Some Common Cat Illnesses & Symptoms?

Numerous cat illnesses and their symptoms may be fatal if left untreated for too long. Our Diablo View Veterinarians offer insight on signs and symptoms to be aware of. 

What are some common cat illnesses?

As a cat parent, here are illnesses you need to be aware of. Be prepared to visit your veterinarian if necessary, especially since cats tend to instinctively isolate when sick. Here are 3 common cat illnesses and their symptoms.  

Upper Respiratory Infections

Your cat's upper respiratory tract—their throat, nose and sinuses—can become infected with viruses and bacteria. Often passed around in multi-cat households and shelters, cats may contract feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus through something as basic 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:

  • Gagging, drooling
  • Cough
  • Runny nose or clear/colored nasal discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • 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:

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

Diabetes, if not properly managed, can reduce a cat's life and cause a variety of health issues, including nerve diseases. It may potentially lead to life-threatening circumstances. Treatment will be focused on controlling this disease and may include insulin injections.


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 spreading 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 veterinarian may be able to treat cancer. 

Symptoms include:

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

A variety of treatments, including radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy, may be tried depending on whether the tumor is detected 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.

What should I do if my cat is ill?

If your cat is sick and exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, it's critical to bring them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. At Diablo View Veterinary Medical Hospital, we have an in-house laboratory and online pharmacy to provide your pet the care they need.

Do you suspect your cat is sick? Our veterinarians are experienced in diagnosing and treating many common illnesses and conditions. Book an appointment at Diablo View Veterinary Medical Hospital today.

New Patients Welcome

Diablo View Veterinary Medical Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced veterinarians are passionate about the health of Pleasant Hill companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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