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What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

There are a number of cat illnesses and their symptoms may worry you. Some may even be fatal if left untreated for too long. Our veterinary team here offers some insight into signs and symptoms you should be aware of in your Los Angeles County cat.

What are some common cat illnesses?

As a cat parent, there are a number of illnesses you will need to be aware of. Be ready to visit your veterinarian if required, especially since cats tend to instinctively isolate themselves when they are sick. Here are 3 common cat illnesses and their symptoms. 

Upper Respiratory Infections

Your cat's upper respiratory tract—their sinuses, nose and throat—can become infected with bacteria or viruses. Often passed around in multi-cat households, these infections like feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus can be transmitted from cat to cat through something even as basic as sharing a food or water bowl. 

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:

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


If a cat doesn't produce sufficient amount of insulin in order to balance blood sugar or glucose levels, they may develop diabetes mellitus. If left untreated, it may cause a number of serious symptoms like:

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

If diabetes is poorly controlled, the disease can shorten a cat's lifespan and lead to numerous health problems such as nerve disorders. It may also result in severe emergency situations. Treatment can include insulin injections and will be focused on managing this condition. 


Uncontrolled growth of cells can cause cancer, affecting a wide range of organs and cells in a cat's body. This disease first starts to develop within a cell. It then attaches to tissues below the skin and potentially spreads 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
  • Chronic weight loss
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating
  • Unexplained bleeding or discharge
  • Marked increase or decrease in appetite

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, vet surgery and chemotherapy may be attempted. 

What should I do if my cat is ill?

If your cat is ill and exhibiting symptoms of any of the illnesses listed above, it's key to bring them to the vet as soon as possible. At Animal Hospital of Redondo Beach, we use our in-house veterinary lab, onsite pharmacy and emergency services to provide your pet with the care they need.

Do you suspect your cat is sick? Our vets are experienced in diagnosing and treating many common illnesses and conditions. Book an appointment at Animal Hospital of Redondo Beach today.

New Patients Welcome

Animal Hospital of Redondo Beach is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Los Angeles County companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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