Common Cat Diseases: Symptoms and Prevention

Posted on September 4, 2023

Cat being pet by a human

Cats are enigmatic creatures, known for their stoic nature and the ability to hide their pain or discomfort. This survival instinct, inherited from their wild ancestors, can sometimes make it challenging for pet owners to recognize when their feline friends are unwell. However, understanding the symptoms of common cat diseases and taking preventive measures can help ensure your cat's well-being and longevity. In this blog post, we will explore some prevalent cat diseases, their symptoms, and how to prevent them.

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites, often referred to as "worms," are a common issue for cats. Cats can become infected by ingesting eggs or larvae from contaminated soil or animal waste. Roundworms, for example, can affect kittens through their mother's milk, while tapeworms can be transmitted through fleas. Infected cats may display symptoms like distended bellies and the presence of parasites in their feces. Regular deworming and proper hygiene are essential to prevent these infections.

Feline Panleukopenia

Also known as feline distemper, FP is caused by the feline parvovirus. Kittens are especially vulnerable to this disease, which attacks the intestines and can damage the bone marrow. Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent FP. Cats can contract it from contact with infected animals or their waste. Symptoms include listlessness, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.

Feline Leukemia

Feline leukemia is a contagious disease caused by the feline leukemia virus (FeLV). Transmission occurs through saliva or other bodily fluids. Infected cats may not show symptoms for some time, but they can experience anemia, progressive weight loss, enlarged lymph nodes, pale gums, or persistent fever. Blood tests can confirm the diagnosis, and vaccination is available to prevent exposure to FeLV-positive cats.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

FIV weakens a cat's immune system, making it susceptible to various infections. Bite wounds from fights are the primary mode of transmission. Symptoms can appear in three stages, including swollen lymph nodes, lack of appetite, fever, or asymptomatic phases with abnormalities in blood tests. Cats in the progressive phase may develop secondary infections due to their weakened immune systems.


Rabies is a severe viral infection that can affect cats, dogs, and humans. It is primarily transmitted through bites but can also occur through saliva contact with open wounds. Sadly, there is no cure for rabies, and it is always fatal once symptoms develop. Signs of rabies may include sudden aggression, disorientation, and excessive drooling. Preventing rabies through up-to-date vaccinations is crucial for the safety of your cat and yourself.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the symptoms and prevention measures for common cat diseases is essential for responsible pet ownership. Regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, and maintaining good hygiene practices can go a long way in ensuring your feline companion lives a healthy and happy life. If you notice any unusual behavior or symptoms in your cat, consult your veterinarian promptly for proper guidance and care. Your cat's well-being is worth every effort to keep them safe from these common diseases.