5 Health Problems that Commonly Affect Cats
By: Dr. Stephanie Malmquist, DVM and Founder of VetPet Box
Veterinarians get to see cats for a variety of reasons, but all too often there are are a few issues that pop up on almost every kitty's medical record if the owner (and vet) are paying close enough attention to kitty! The following problems are so common, that it would be unusual (and awesome!) to see an adult feline patient without at least 1-2 of them.
Did you know that more than 50% of cats in the United States are overweight!? An average domestic cat should weigh about 8-12 pounds, with some larger breeds, such as the Maine Coon, weighing a bit more. Being overweight can dramatically impact a cat’s quality of life by making it uncomfortable for her to get around and putting her at higher risk of developing arthritis, breathing issues, heart disease, diabetes, liver problems and other illnesses. If you suspect your kitty is overweight, ask your vet for an honest assessment!
Arthritis is one of the most under-diagnosed (and most common) problems affecting cats because cats hide their pain, are often overweight, spend hours napping, and won’t typically allow for a full orthopedic exam at the vet. Some signs of arthritis are an unkempt coat due to a cat’s inability to stretch and groom themselves (think... less yoga posing), reluctance to jump on and off of furniture, limping or a stiff gait, and hiding. Your vet can recommend supplements, such as Dasequin treats or Cosequin sprinkle capsules, as well as prescription pain medications to provide relief. Make sure you speak to your vet if you think your kitty may be experiencing signs of arthritis… she can’t speak up for herself!
Studies report that 50-90% of cats older than 4 years of age suffer from some type of dental disease. Left unaddressed, these cats will almost certainly end up with painful mouths that negatively impact their quality of life. Thorough and frequent oral exams are necessary to identify and monitor dental disease, which could be difficult if your kitty won’t allow her mouth to be examined. Signs of oral disease can be decreased appetite, bad breath, drooling, pawing at the mouth, a red line at the gum line and hiding. A professional dental cleaning is best for addressing dental disease, but at-home products, such as Vetradent Water Additive, can also help to keep the mouth healthy.
Although common… intermittent vomiting is not normal or okay! Some cats vomit with such regularity that their owners brush it off as “no big deal.” Hairballs, food intolerance, eating too rapidly and intestinal parasites are just a few of the MANY causes of vomiting. If your cat is vomiting with any regularity, for any reason, it needs to be addressed by your veterinarian.
Kidney & Urinary Bladder Issues
Clinical signs associated with disease of the urinary system (peeing outside the box, abnormal color/ smell to the urine) are very common reasons for cats to be presented to the vet. Cats can become very distressed with urinary disease and often show signs such as straining to urinate, urinating outside the litter box, discolored/ bloody urine, increased frequency of urination or vocalizing while attempting to urinate. Urinary tract infections (UTIs), chronic kidney disease (CKD), Feline Interstitial Cystitis (FIC) / a stress-induced painful bladder, bladder stones, urinary obstructions / blocked urethra (an emergency) are all common problems seen in cats. Any time your cat has a change to urinary habits, he or she should be seen by a vet.
Does you cat have signs of any of the above mentioned problems? If you look closely, chances are that they do! Don't worry... vets are well-versed at tackling these common problems and there are many inexpensive, easy-to administer (yes, even for cats!) products available to help you help your kitty!
Want more information on these topics and a chance to try some of the products mentioned above… subscribe to VetPet Box and send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any special requests! Plus, get $15 off with the code “HEALTHYCAT” at www.vetpetbox.com