Here is the list of 7 common cat diseases and their symptoms

Felines suffer from several illnesses throughout their life cycle, from parasite infestations to upper respiratory tract and viral infections. In the U.S, about 40 million households have pet cats. As a cat parent, it is essential to identify the signs and symptoms of common diseases so veterinary help can be sought in good time. We have put together a list of common feline diseases for your understanding.


  • Although parasitic infections are common, the good news is they are easily preventable. However, they can be severe and even contagious to human beings and other pets. In addition, parasites can have fatal consequences, especially for kittens.

Intestinal Worms

Specific treatment is required for a particular type of parasite. Infestation with intestinal worms and protozoa can cause the following symptoms:

  • Pot-bellied appearance
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Worms are usually evident in the kitten’s stool.

Fleas And Mites

  • Fleas and mites are also known as external parasites. They are more readily apparent. Bathing your cat with a mild shampoo and using a flea comb is helpful for the removal of fleas. Ear mites look like black debris and cause itchy ears. They need to be accurately diagnosed and treated by a vet.

Upper Respiratory Infections (URIs)

  • Upper respiratory infections are caused by easily transmissible bacteria and viruses. They affect the upper respiratory system and spread to the lower respiratory system, causing pneumonia. Calci and herpes viruses are the most common causes of URIs in cats. They can be transmitted to other cats. However, some cats affected by URIs remain asymptomatic. Others have flare-ups during times of stress.

The symptoms include:

  • Discharge from the eyes and nose
  • Sneezing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Squinting
  • Difficulty breathing

The treatment usually requires antibiotics, eye medications, nebulization, and antiviral medications. An amino acid, lysine, help mitigate the symptoms of herpes virus flare-ups. Consult with your vet to find an excellent product to help your cat.

Heartworm Disease

  • Heartworm disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. It is one of the primary causes of underlying health problems in pet cats. It usually affects the lungs and is a cause of concern for cats living in areas that are susceptible to mosquito populations.

Feline Leukemia

  • Discovered in the 1960s, feline leukemia is a disease that compromises a cat’s immune system. Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is an RNA retrovirus transmitted through saliva, bite wounds, feces, or mutual grooming. It can also be transmitted from the mother’s milk or blood during pregnancy. It is one of the domestic cats’ most common causes of disease and death. The virus doesn’t always show symptoms right away. Any new cat should be tested for FeLV.

FeLV leads to low red blood cell count and causes lethargy, pale gums, difficulty breathing, and the risk of other chronic infections. Treatment is usually based on symptoms and may require blood transfusions and supportive care. The FeLV-positive cat must be kept separate from other cats to prevent spreading infections.

Ringworm Infection

  • common cat diseasesContrary to its name, ringworm is caused by a fungus and can spread to humans and other pets. The fungal infection affects the skin, hair, and nails. It can cause patchy and circular areas of hair loss. It can also lead to scaly, itchy ears. Ringworm is also known as dermatophytosis and requires anti-fungal treatment. A veterinarian runs a fungal culture or a skin scrape to identify and diagnose ringworm.

See a vet if your cat undergoes weight loss, decreased or increased thirst, reduced appetite, changes in urination, vomiting, or diarrhea.

If your cat shows signs of the conditions mentioned above, consult a veterinarian immediately. At Autumn Trails and Veterinary Center, we provide multiple veterinary services. We are located in Charlottesville, VA. Appointments are conveniently available; call us at 434-971-9800.