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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 worry you, or even be fatal if left untreated for too long. Our Little Rock vets offer insight on signs and symptoms to be aware of. 

What are some common cat illnesses?

Here are some illnesses to be aware of as a cat parent. Be prepared to visit your veterinarian if necessary, especially since sick cats tend to isolate themselves instinctively. The following are three common feline illnesses and their symptoms.

Upper Respiratory Infections

Viruses and bacteria can infect your cat's upper respiratory tract, which includes its throat, nose, and sinuses. Cats can contract feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus by sharing a food or water bowl, which is common in multi-cat households and shelters.

They can transmit this virus to other cats in the same way, or by sneezing or coughing. It can also be passed during grooming. 

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

Diabetes, if not properly managed, can shorten a cat's life and cause a variety of health issues, including nerve disorders. It may also lead to serious emergencies. Treatment will focus on managing this condition and may include insulin injections.


Uncontrolled cell growth can lead to cancer, which can affect a variety of organs and cells in a cat's body. The disease begins in a cell before attaching to the tissue beneath 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 vet may be able to treat the cancer. 

Symptoms include:

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

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, several treatments such as radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy may be attempted. 

What should I do if my cat is ill?

If your cat is sick and exhibiting any of the above symptoms, take them to the vet as soon as possible. We have an in-house laboratory, pharmacy, and emergency clinic at Bowman Road Animal Clinic to provide your pet with the care they require (help for after-hours emergencies is also available).

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

New Patients Welcome

Bowman Road Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Little Rock companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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