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What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

Today, our Jesup vets offer insight into the signs and symptoms of three of the most common illnesses we see in cats. 

What Are Some Common Cat Illnesses?

As a cat parent, there is a range of illnesses you should be aware of. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with common symptoms of cat illness and to bring your cat in for regular wellness exams. Bringing your cat in for routine examinations helps your vet catch any signs of illness early when they are often the most treatable.  

Upper Respiratory Infections

Your cat's upper respiratory tract—its 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 socializing with other cats or through sharing food or water dishes, bedding, or toys. It can also be passed during grooming if the tools are not properly cleaned.

Symptoms include:

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


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

If diabetes is poorly controlled, the disease can shorten a cat's lifespan and lead to numerous health problems such as nerve disorders. It may also result in severe emergencies. Treatment can include insulin injections and will be focused on managing this 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 spreads to other areas. 

A common contributor to cancer is Feline Leukemia Virus, which cats can be vaccinated for. If caught early during a physical exam, your vet may be able to treat cancer with several different treatment methods, including chemotherapy or surgery. 

Symptoms include:

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

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 vet as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis. At Wolfe Animal Hospital, we have an in-house laboratory to assist our veterinarians in diagnosing and creating a treatment plan for your feline friend. We also offer emergency and urgent care for our established clients. 

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

New Patients Welcome

Wolfe Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Jesup companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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