Cats are beautiful, stoic beings. They mask pain well, as opposed to us humans who wear the slightest pains all over our faces. However, cats are prone to a handful of specific ailments. The good news is knowing about these common illnesses in cats empowers us to help prevent these diseases.
Top 5 Diseases in Cats
1. FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease)
FLUTD is a classification of several different urinary tract problems in cats. Urinary tract issues are the number one reason cats are brought to the vet. What we need to understand about this disease in cats is that it can be prevented by feeding our kitties a moisture rich diet. The reason so many cats battle urinary problems (like UTIs, bladder inflammation, cystitis, etc) is because they often live in a state of semi-dehydration. Believe me when I say that cats can not and will not fix this dehydration at the water bowl. They must be fed a raw or wet food diet in order to absorb the moisture that they need. The “prescription diets” are often acidic kibble diets with little to no moisture OR nutrients. If your cat is prescribed a diet like this, please also be sure to supplement with wet or raw food daily. There are also natural supplements that can be added to prevent the recurrence of FLUTD. Consulting a holistic veterinarian is recommended.
2. Dental Disease (Periodontitis or Feline Gingivitis)
Dental diseases in cats are caused by the buildup of plaque along the gum line. Up to 70% of cats will develop dental disease at an early age. If left untreated, the bacteria can spread to other organs and cause bigger problems – like kidney disease. Signs of gingivitis in cats is bad breath, reddened gums and difficulty eating food. This disease is most common in cats that are fed a high carbohydrate diet, so feeding a species specific diet (like a balanced raw diet or high quality wet food diet) will help prevent this from occurring. You also want to be sure to brush your cat’s teeth regularly and have routine teeth inspections done at your veterinarian’s office.
3. URI (Upper Respiratory Infection)
Common upper respiratory problems in cats are feline calicivirus and feline herpes virus. The most common symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, congestion, fever, loss of appetite, and rapid breathing. These diseases in cats are highly contagious and can also be contracted via high stress situations. The key to preventing your cat from getting an upper respiratory infection is keeping the immune system strong. This can be done by feeding a high protein, species specific diet and supplemental care. Reducing stress and keeping your cats indoors will also help prevent URIs.
4. Renal Failure / Kidney Disease
Renal failure in cats come in two forms, chronic and acute. Acute renal failure normally happens from the ingestion of a toxin or poison. Keeping household cleaners and chemicals out of reach of your kitty is key. It’s also important to make sure any over-the-counter meds you give your cat are tested and approved first. However, acute renal failure can be reversed if treated quickly. Chronic renal failure is common in cats over the age of eight. It is caused by the degeneration of the kidneys over a long period of time. A major cause of chronic renal failure is feeding a low quality dry food diet. Symptoms include straining to pee, weight loss and dehydration. While this disease cannot be reversed, it can be helped with a healthy diet and supplemental care.
5. Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetes is one of those diseases in cats that should not be as common as it is. Symptoms include frequent urination, overeating (while losing weight), and excessive thirst. These symptoms are common with other diseases in cats as well, so be sure to have accurate tests run on your kitty. Studies have shown that a high protein, low carbohydrate diet is as helpful in causing the remission of diabetes in our feline friends. Antioxidant support has also proven to lower blood sugar levels, so check with your holistic veterinarian for diabetes support.
As you can see, the prevention and support for the top 5 diseases in cats have a few simple things in common; a healthy, species appropriate diet and supplemental care. Making these healthy habits early on make us proactive pet parents and help give our cats the best and longest life possible. Get your cat started on a preventative treatment today – with the CATastic Wellness Kit.