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What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

A number of cat illnesses and symptoms may cause you to worry. Some may even prove to be fatal if left untreated for long. Here, our Yucaipa vets offer some insight into the signs and symptoms to beware of in your cat. 

What are some common cat illnesses?

As a cat owner, here are some of the illnesses you should be aware of that may appear in your feline friend. Be prepared to visit your veterinarian if necessary, especially since our kitties will tend to isolate themselves when feeling unwell. 

Upper Respiratory Infections

The upper respiratory tract in your cat—their throat, nose and sinuses—can become infected with viruses and bacteria. This illness can often be passed around in households with multiple cats as well as in shelters. Cats may even contract illnesses through something as simple as sharing a food and water dish.

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

Symptoms include:

  • Gagging, drooling
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Congestion 
  • Decreased or lost appetite
  • Runny nose or clear/colored nasal discharge


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

If diabetes isn't properly controlled, this disease can shorten your cat's lifespan and cause a number of health problems including nerve disorders. It may also result in severe emergency situations. Treatment can include injections of insulin and will generally be focused on managing this condition. 


The uncontrolled growth of cells in your cat's body can cause cancer, affecting a wide range of their cells and organs. The disease first starts its development within a cell before it attaches to tissue below 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 cancer. 

Symptoms include:

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

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, a number of treatments such as radiation, veterinary 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 symptoms listed above, it's critical to bring them to the vet as soon as possible. At Oak Glen Animal Hospital, we have an in-house laboratory, onsite pharmacy, and emergency clinic to provide your pet the care they need (help for after-hours emergencies is also available).

Do you suspect that your cat is feeling unwell? Our veterinarians are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety fo common illnesses and conditions in our feline companions. Book an appointment at Oak Glen Animal Hospital today.

New Patients Welcome

At Oak Glen Animal Hospital, we are always accepting new patients. Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of your pet. Contact us today to book your first appointment and learn more.

Book Online (909) 500-4350