Many cat owners worry when their cat is sick, often turning to the Internet for free on-line veterinarian advice. While some help can be found on-line, nothing should replace an actual visit to the veterinarian, especially before any treatment is given.
- Is your cat vaccinated?
- Does your cat go outside, or have contact with other cats that go outside?
- Is your cat spayed or neutered?
- How old is your cat?
- Is your cat overweight, underweight, or has it experienced any sudden change in weight?
- What are the symptoms?
- Any Changes (new food, recently treated with flea medication, changes in the home)
These facts are things that can help diagnosis the problem when you are searching for information on-line, and are also of extreme value to a veterinarian. Be aware these only offer hints at what the problem may be, and an proper diagnosis is needed, as well people need to be aware that while vaccination is very important, it is not a 100% guarantee against a health problem.
Some health problems can be the result of different things, an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI) can be caused by bacteria or a virus, as such until the cause is determined, treatment should not be given. See other links at the bottom of the page, also related to common cat health problems.
Common Symptoms of Problems
- Watery Eyes, or Running Nose
- Loss of Appetite
- Excessive Drinking
- Excessive Shedding
- Cat appears to be in Pain
photo by author
When seeking free on-line veterinary help, such as diagnosing a sick cat, be aware you will encounter results based on a persons own experience. For example if a person has a cat that drinks a lot and it was diagnosed with diabetes, then this is what they are likely to say is wrong with your cat, if you say it “drinks excessively”, when the problem could be something totally different.
Common Cat Illnesses and Problems– Common Symptoms
Urinary Tract Infections – Cat not using its litter box, note there are MANY reasons cats do not use their litter box, this is only one.
Upper Respiratory Track Infections – Sneezing, watery eyes and nose, can develop into pneumonia.
Diabetes – Frequent drinking and urination, weight loss, cat is usually on a lower quality cat food.
Feline Distemper (aka Feline Panleukopenia) – Lethargy, loss of interest in food or life.
Feline Leukemia (FelV) – Multiple symptoms developing over time, generally poor health.
Worms – Bloody stool or diarrhea, hair loss, pale gums.
Fleas, Ticks, Mites (including earmites) – Hair loss, itching, flea dirt.
Food Allergies – Diarrhea, vomiting, hair loss, itching.
Cancer – Multiple symptoms according to the type of cancer, poor health.
Please note there are hundreds more diseases or problems that could be the cause of your cats illness, and only a veterinarian can offer a proper diagnosis, and treatment. A good veterinarian would not diagnose a problem over the phone, or Internet, they would want to see the cat or get more information (including a stool sample).
So many people self diagnose and try to treat a suspected problem, and end up making things worse. Be aware that “over the counter” medications are generally more risky than that from a veterinarian, and are not always fully effective (as an example over the counter wormers do not kill all types of worms, and over the counter flea medications have been linked to many pet deaths).
The cats that are most at risk for health problems are kittens, or senior cats, those who go outside, are not vaccinated, are poorly fed, or on a poor quality cat food, are not spayed/neutered, and who are in the company of many other cats.
Further Reading for More Diagnosis Help