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If there’s one thing any tabby cat owner wants it’s for their cat to be healthy and safe. The reality though is that almost any cat breed or coat type can still sometimes face some health concerns. With a proper understanding of what issues a cat can face, you can take some preventative measures so they can always feel their best. Below is a list of the 10 most common tabby cat health problems along with helpful prevention tips!
One of the most troubling things to ever witness is a cat committing. Vomiting can encompass a lot of things, but in most cases, it’s just an upset stomach. Here are a couple of things that can cause a cat to vomit.
- Poor diet
- Eating spoiled or contaminated foods
- Eating food too quickly
- Drinking water too quickly
- Changing of the cat’s diet too fast
- Food allergies
- Certain medications
- Bacterial infections
Of that list of issues that cause a cat vomit, eating and drinking too quickly or switching diets are the main ones you’ll deal with. It’s important that whenever changing a cat’s diet that you do it gradually. Especially when transitioning between protein heavy diets or wet to dry food, it must be done in small increments. Putting you are a cat on a proper feeding schedule will also help reduce excessive eating. Hairballs are also quite preventable with certain cat foods geared towards that. Purina makes an excellent hairball control food which you can check out here.
In some instances, the cat’s vomiting is a sign of serious health issues. Daily vomiting can be a sign that the cat has eaten something toxic by mistake. This can be related to anything such as pesticides, eating bugs, or ingesting fertilizer if they are an outdoor cat especially. Internal parasites like tapeworm and roundworm can cause vomiting in cats too.
If you see chunks of food or blood in the cat’s vomit, it’s also a sign that something is desperately wrong. While a cat vomiting foam may seem terrible, it’s not necessarily a sign that the cat has an infection. Foam in vomit is usually associated with hairballs or sudden diet changes. If the cat is dealing with stomach inflammation that can also cause white foam.
While vomiting can be disturbing for the cat and the owner, there are actually few home remedies you can try to help them feel better.
- Withhold food or water for 12 to 24 hours
- Giving the cat digestive oils like this one by Clever Paws.
As always, if your cat has a chronic vomiting issue, it’s time to take them to a vet. Veterinarians can run body scans, perform special procedures and provide medications to help your cat feel great again.
2. Lethargic Behavior In Cats
Lethargic behavior in cats may not seem like a health concern, but it actually is. It can be an indicator that something else might be wrong with your cat. Cats tend to be lethargic when they are not getting enough attention or if they are in some kind of pain. It’s actually not uncommon to see this behavior post-surgery or when a cat is on certain medications.
Cats who are lethargic will typically stop eating or drinking water at a normal rate. Some may even enter a stage of depression and lose their social nature. Many cats appear to be constantly sleepy, lack interest in playful activities, and lack general awareness.
Lethargy can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and even weight gain. Cats who are lethargic are not physically active enough, and that can lead to even more health issues. For many older cats, it can be a sign of serious health issues on the horizon. Older cats are more likely to suffer from arthritis, cancer, and other issues which will cause lethargy.
Other general causes of lethargy in cats include:
- Bladder infections
- Surgical procedures
- Weight loss
- High fever
- Poor coat quality
- Increased urination
- Medication side effects
To help treat a cat with lethargic behavior, you can try some of the following suggestions.
- Get regular vaccinations
- Provide a healthy and consistent diet
- Spend time with your cat
- Allow the cat to explore
- Stimulate the cat with brain activities
- Regularly check for injuries and other issues
- Keep your cat indoors
- Putting your cat into a low-stress environment
3. Cat Lower Urinary Tract Problems
Urinary tract problems are extremely common in cats. Feline UTI is an interesting condition because it’s hard to always determine the physical cause of it. In fact, around 64% of all cats that get it seems to get it without any specific cause. A big percentage of cats that do get it, however, get it as a result of stone and crystals that form.
It’s a disease that can occur in both male and female cats. It can also occur at just about any age from kitten to adult. Chances are you’ll see this happen in cats who are at least a year old and up. Older cats beyond 10 years usually won’t display this condition.
Below are a few of the common causes of feline UTI:
- Stones and crystals
- Debris in the urine
- Stress or Depression
- Back issues
- Birth defects
- Inflammation of the bladder
In addition to recognizing the causes of lower urinary tract problems, it’s important for cat owners to know the symptoms. Being able to catch the issue early on is important to preserving the life of your cat.
Here are a few things to look for in a cat that may have lower urinary problems:
- Trouble or pain with urination
- Constant meowing or hollowing
- Cats attempting to urinate in random locations outside of the litter box
- Blood in the urine
- Blockage of urine flow (droplets and no consistent stream)
- Swollen stomach area
Treating feline lower urinary tract problems is quite easy with the right diagnoses. Most of the time it requires significant changes in the cat’s diet to limit the formation of stones and crystals.
- Here are a few ways to treat this disease:
- Get a urinalysis test from your vet
- Changing to a prescription diet such as Hills C/D
- Install a pet diffuser in the home
One of the most common issues any cat will face is those dreaded fleas. Fleas are incredibly annoying pests for cats They are equally as annoying for owners too, especially when they jump from one host to another.
Fleas can cause your cat to itch obsessively as they continue to bite your furry little pal. Those bites can cause the cat to have sores and even meow in pain when it gets out of control. Cats who itch too much end up clawing out huge chunks of their fur coat.
Below are a few cat flea symptoms you may notice:
- Excessive itching (lead to clumps of hair on the floor)
- Meowing in pain
- The visibility of fleas crawling through the fur
- Scabs, sores, or redness of the skin
- Flea dirt in the carpet or fur (turns red when wet with water)
Luckily there are a plethora of ways to treat flea infestations, but sometimes multiple treatments are needed. Here are a few ways to treat fleas.
- Flea collars (Definitely speak to your vet before purchasing any collars)
- Flea droplets (Advantage II works well and is safe for most cats)
- Medicines prescribed by your local vet
- Using flea shampoos such as this one
- Regularly vacuuming the home
- Treating carpets and flooring with flea sprays such as Adams Flea Spray
- Keeping all windows and screens closed to prevent fleas from entering the home
It’s important to remember that flea treatment in cats should not be taken lightly. It is not wise to cheap out on flea products as they can have toxins that can actually harm your cat rather than help them. It’s advisable to stay away from the Hartz brands when it comes to flea treatment as they are known to cause huge issues. A simple Google search will pull up thousands of negative reviews on Hartz flea products.
5. Upper Respiratory Infection
If you have a multi-cat household, then expect to eventually deal with upper respiratory infections!
Upper respiratory infection in cats is a bacterial infection. One of the first things you’ll notice a cat doing symptom wise is sneezing or irritation with their nose or mouth area. Sometimes you’ll hear some nasal congestion or even see runny noses from them; almost like a cold. The cat’s eyes may also appear irritated with a red color around the lids. Cat behavior is also another indicator of upper respiratory infection although it’s much harder to come to that conclusion. Things such as lethargic behavior, lack of eating, and fever.
Here is a full list of upper respiratory infection symptoms in cats:
- Runny nose
- Red eyes
- Lack of appetite
- Mouth ulcers
Contracting this infection usually happens from one cat delivering it to another. It’s highly contagious, so simply being around another cat can cause it. Also any items such as old food, water bowls and such can pass on the infection. The reality is that the bacteria only lasts for a short period of time outside of the body, so most of the contraction is by direct contact with an object or another cat.
Although the infection can last up to 3 – 4 weeks, in some rare cases it will be a lifelong issue. Treatment and prevention of upper respiratory infection in cats is pretty straightforward though.
Vets will check out your cat, diagnose them officially, and then likely administer special antibiotics. There are some preventatives that you can take such as:
- Keeping your cat indoors
- Avoid multiple cats sharing the same food bowls
- Keeping counters wiped down
- Reducing stress in the home
- Isolating infected cats to certain areas of the home
- Keeping your hands and clothes clean before handling other cats.
One of the worst parasites a cat can get is worms. Outdoor cats are more susceptible to contracting worms. There are all kinds of worms that a cat can get stuck with but below are the most common:
That’s certainly a lot of worms! However, some of these worms are less common depending on what region of the world your cat lives in. Also, age plays a factor in the likelihood that some cats will contract certain worms or not. For example, kittens are more likely to get roundworms than tapeworms.
Looking at roundworms, they are an intestinal worm. They can affect cats of all ages, and pass on to other cats through eggs. Cats can ingest those eggs through eating whether that’s food or attacking prey. Female cats that are pregnant can end up passing roundworms on to their kittens through the ingestion of milk.
Tapeworms are a little different. These are long worms that are flat and contain eggs. Cats who ingest infected fleas typically get tapeworms, and this usually happens during routine grooming.
Of all the worm types, hookworms might be the most dangerous. They have the ability to actually damage the lining of a cats intestines. This can result in some really bad health issues like rapid weight loss and even some bleeding.
Treatment for worms of any sort usually takes several applications. For kittens, the treatment is every few weeks and then as they age the treatments can be spread out. Treatments can be purchased anywhere, but it’s always a wise idea to first consult a vet.
When your cat’s tummy is giving them problems, it’s probably diarrhea. Diarrhea can be caused by the following:
- Sudden changes in diet
- Lack of nutrients
- Reduced water intake
- Intolerances to certain ingredients
- Worms (tapeworm, roundworm, hookworm etc)
- Bowel disease
In general, cat diarrhea symptoms last between 1 – 2 days, although occasionally it can go on for much longer. Treatment is not so straightforward here because it can be caused by really anything. If you notice it happen after a diet change, then it’s safe to assume that’s probably the cause. However, if it comes out of nowhere, definitely seek out a vet. It’s also a wise idea to regularly check your cat’s stool to make sure the coloration and texture are consistent. Also, avoid giving your cat dairy products as that can upset their stomach and cause diarrhea.
Like diarrhea, constipation is quite common in cats. This is easy to pick out if you notice your cat struggling to use the bathroom and meowing in protest. Cats also attempting to use the bathroom in other locations of the home are likely constipated. Any cat that is straining is having an issue.
Here are a few causes for cat constipation:
- Diet change
- Colon issues (such as feline megacolon)
- Kidney issues
- Hair getting into the digestive tract (from excessive grooming)
Usually, a fiber-rich diet can help eliminate constipation. And simply giving your cat more water to get rid of the dryness. Changes to the diet should be done gradually to help aid in better digestion. Cats who are overgrooming will probably do well to take some hairball medications or move to a hairball reducing diet. More exercise also helps.
Have you ever heard of the term fat cats? It’s very true that cats can easily become obese. Cats are a lot like turtles. They constantly want to be fed, even when they are not hungry. Part of it has to do with their desire to spend time with their owners, and others are just hyperactive when it comes to hunger.
Cats who don’t exercise regularly or are older are more likely to pick up too much weight over time. It’s a good idea to portion your cat’s food intake with respect to how much they weigh and the recommendations on the food labels. Ideally, you want to feed your cat a low-calorie meal that is full of nutrients, good proteins and well balanced. Using a measuring cup can help.
The timing of when the food is fed is also important. This is where automatic feeders come in handy. Feeders such as this one by PetSafe not only portion out the meals, but they dispense food at specific intervals so your cat has a consistent feeding schedule. Also, spend time monitoring your cats sleep patterns so that you can anticipate when they are most active versus when they are not. IF you have a nocturnal cat, then it may be better to feed them during the day when they are active instead of at night, or visa Versa.
10. Dental Issues
Dental issues are often overlooked in cats, but they can be problematic if not treated early and often. Cats tend to bite anything they can sink their teeth into, so it’s only natural that eventually, they will need a dental checkup.
Cats can get cavities, broken teeth, gum disease, bacteria and everything in between. This is especially problematic with cats because they groom themselves on a regular basis. It’s important that cats have fresh breath and clean teeth. Here are a few indicators your cats teeth are in bad shape.
- Dark red gum lines
- Bad breath or odor
- Cracked teeth
- Plaque buildup
- Lack of appetite/difficulty eating
Here are a few ways to treat your cat’s teeth:
- Give them dental treats such as Feline Greenies
- Professional cleanings as the vet
- Using cat dental gel
- Brushing with finger brushes or toothbrushes