Friday, October 11, 2013

Cat and Kitten Diseases

There are many cat and kitten diseases, far too numerous for me to go into at this time, plus the fact I am not too knowledgeable in that area. For now I am going to touch upon some of the more common illnesses your cats may face and ones I am more familiar with.

Pneumonitis: is a cat disease that takes on the symptoms of a human's common cold. It is caused by a virus giving the kitty a runny nose and eyes, along with sneezing and drooling.

It is not a fatal disease, but one that is very uncomfortable for the cat and its caregiver. It is not fatal and can last up to 6 weeks or more. Your vet will prescribe an antihistamine and some antibiotics along with some eye ointment. There is a vaccine for it, however it only lasts for six months and is generally only given if there is a large outbreak in the area where you are.

Urinary Infections: Cats like their human caregivers can suffer from urinary infections, cystitis and even kidney stones. All of which can be very painful.

The symptoms of a urinary infection follow along the same lines as it does for us. Straining to go to the bathroom and nothing happens, blood in the urine when able to urinate.

If your cat starts vomiting and its tummy is bloated and sensitive to your touch that is a sign of a urinary blockage and you need to call your vet immediately.

To be serious for a moment, anytime you notice any sign that your cat is having a problem going to the bathroom call your vet at once.

Swollen or Infected Anal Glands: If you see your cat sliding along your tile floor it can be a sign of one or two things. It might be a symptom of tapeworms or it could be swollen or infected anal glands. These glands are located on either side of the anus on the inside. If the glands are swollen, they need to be emptied.

My suggestion is take your kitty to your vet to have this done. If you are brave, not faint of heart and can stand the smell you can do it, however, I really don't suggest it.

Constipation: This seems to be another problem cats and humans share. A poor diet, little or no exercise, and hairballs can cause constipation in your cat.

If you notice that your cat has not had a bowel movement for a few days, is not eating like it normally does and its tummy is bloated it may be constipated. A quick call to the vet can remedy that.

Your vet may suggest an over the counter remedy you can try or you may have to bring kitty in to see him/her.

It is not a matter of life or death, just a matter of getting kitty more comfortable and getting rid of stuff inside it.

Diarrhea: Diarrhea is the opposite of constipation, it can also be caused by a poor diet, parasites, a change in routine that has upset the cat or some intestinal virus.

Loose stools or a soft bowel movement is not really a sign of diarrhea (even though we humans often consider it that, when it happens to us.) Diarrhea in a cat is really a watery stool or one that is watery and bloody. If blood should appear do not hesitate to take your kitty to the vet, it could be a serious problem.

Feeding your cat some cooked rice mixed with a little of its food or some cottage cheese can sometime control a watery stool.

Think of what you have been feeding your cat. Have you changed its diet to something new? Have you given the cat a special treat? Any of these may be the cause of the problem. If it persists for more than two days call your vet.

Vomiting: My Boots will vomit if he eats too much dry food at one time. Invariably he will do this at night and will find a spot to vomit where I will unknowingly step in it barefoot when I get up at night.

As a general rule cats do not need an excuse to vomit and most of the time it is not anything to worry about. You just clean up the mess. Hairballs seem to be the biggest cause, which is why brushing your cat is a worthwhile endeavor. Feeding your cat once a week a "hairball prevention treat" is a good idea.

However, if you cat vomits consistently it could be worms, poisoning, or an internal problem and your vet should check the cat over. If you suspect poison, rush your cat to the vet at once.

Ear Mites: Ear mites are pesky little crawly things that can get into your cat's ears and cause all kinds of problems. If nothing else they will drive your poor cat crazy as they itch and will cause kitty to dig at its ears.

There are products you can buy at the pet store to use in your cat's ears (that do not always work), but I recommend that before you attempt to play doctor, you call your vet and take kitty in to be certain that is what the problem is.

Feline Diabetes: Feline diabetes seems to be a common ailment among some cats. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that controls the flow of glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body.

Should the insulin be deficient, the cat's body starts to break down the fat and protein that has been stored, in order for it to be used as an alternative energy source.

Symptoms to be on the alert for are: large appetite, eating more, but losing weight, excessive thirst, and frequent urination.

Diabetes is usually found in older obese cats, males are more prone to it than females. If diabetes is not treated it will definitely shorten your cat's life. Your vet will determine the type of treatment, the changes necessary in the cat's diet and the procedure to follow to help your cat lose weight.

Roundworms and hookworms: A mother cat can transmit these critters to a kitten even if the mother has been wormed. Roundworms are long skinny (spaghetti like) worms that can be seen if your kitten vomits or you can see them in the kitten's feces.

Older cats can get them from infected soil. A trip to the vet is necessary to treat these. As these worms can be transmitted to humans.

Make certain you keep the children's sandbox covered, so neighborhood cats will not use it for potty calls. As an added precaution always have the children wash their hands when they come in from playing in the dirt.

Tapeworms: Tapeworms look like little grains of rice and cannot be detected by a fecal examination. They can be noticed on your cat's hair by its tail or even on a carpet.

Tapeworms are not harmful to children or adults and your vet will prescribe a worm medicine for your cat. There are medicines you can buy over the counter, however I am told they do not do a good job and cats do not like the taste. You need to have a medicine your cat will like, cause feeding a cat anything that is distasteful is not fun.

Ringworm: Ringworm is a nasty contagious skin infection that is caused by a fungus. It can be airborne or found in the soil.

It can be transmitted to humans and is a pain to get rid of. If you suspect that your cat has come into contact with the fungus, you will notice it first around your cat's face, ears, and paws. It is circular in appearance and needs to be treated at once by your vet.

It can spread like wildfire and you need to be careful in handling your pet. Definitely keep the children away from the cat.

Hairballs: Hairballs are a part of life when you have a cat. Cats groom themselves and as a result manage to swallow some of their hair.

If your cat has a hairball that it is trying to get rid of, you will certainly know it by the sounds it will make. My Boots would retch, gag and finally vomit, until I realized the problem, I truly thought he was about to die. My solution has been to feed him "Whiskas Temptations" for hairballs. He loves the treat and so far I have not had to go through all those horrible sounds again.

There are other hairball treatments on the market that work well too, like "Petromalt" or "Laxatone."

Longhaired cats really need to be brushed daily to help prevent this problem. If your cat vomits more than once a week, you more than likely need to talk to your vet, as it may not be a hairball problem.

I have tried in these few pages to touch upon a few of the more common cat diseases and cat problems. It is very important that you stay in contact with your vet or other cat health care provider in order to discuss any problems you may have with your cat.

Cats as a general rule are rather healthy. It is very important that you start your kitten off on the right foot with all the necessary shots and that you follow the advice of your vet on general cat care. Feeding a high quality cat food, whether it is a dry food or a wet food is very important in keeping your cat healthy. As the old saying goes "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" and that holds true when raising a kitten into a cat.

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