Cat Diseases – Most Common Problems and How to Prevent

There are several viruses and bacteria that cause disease in animals. Learn how to prevent, recognize and treat illnesses in cats.

Cats are fantastic animals. In addition, these cats are intelligent, independent and very active. But, like all living things, they can also get sick. For this reason, the tutors of these pets must be attentive and know the main diseases that affect them.

Therefore, it is worth mentioning that domestic cats, that is, those that do not have access to the streets, are less exposed to diseases, accidents and injuries resulting from contact with other animals, being run over and mistreated. However, even at home, they are not exempt from diseases and therefore it is necessary to keep up with your pet’s vaccination schedule.

In this article, we list the most common diseases of cats and the vaccines that should be applied to pets.

Most common diseases in cats


Cats’ skin is very sensitive, so they often have allergies or dermatitis. In this sense, allergies are caused by the accumulation of dust mites on fabrics and carpets or by the presence of cleaning chemicals in homes. To avoid this, it is necessary to have the house well cleaned and ventilated.

Calicivirus or feline calicivirus

This feline viral disease is caused by a picornavirus. Symptoms include sneezing, fever, a lot of salivation and even ulcers and blisters on the mouth and tongue. It is a very widespread disease with high morbidity. In addition, it is the cause of 30% to 40% of cases of respiratory infections in cats. The affected animal that manages to overcome the disease will continue to be a carrier for life, that is, it will be able to transmit the disease to other pets.


Cats’ urinary systems are delicate and can present problems as cats age. For this reason, mineral stones are often formed that block the urinary tract. This can cause pain when urinating, lack of urine, thirst, vomiting or causing him to urinate outside the toilet. In this case, when a cat is affected by this disease, the veterinarian prescribes a treatment based on medications in addition to a balanced diet.


This is one of the most common diseases of cats. To clarify, as in humans, this disease consists of inflammation of the lining of the eye and, although it is often not serious, it must be diagnosed and treated in time. Otherwise, the cat may lose vision.

Feline leukemia (FeLV)

Feline leukemia is a type of cancer that usually affects young cats. It is a serious disease, which can be fatal. Symptoms are poor appetite, weight loss, caries, weakness and the presence of tumors. In that sense, the best way to protect your cat from leukemia is to keep your vaccines up to date.

Feline panleukopenia

This disease is triggered by a parvovirus, which is also the same disease that effects dogs. Your pet can catch this disease from body fluids of an infected feline. Feline Panleukopenia symptoms include fever, vomiting, dehydration, hypothermia, diarrhea and depression. It certain cases it can also lead to anorexia and even death.

Panleukopenia is more common in kittens and young cats more seriously. As the disease is contagious, it is necessary to quickly separate any sick cat suspected of having this disease. Affected cats will need antibiotics and depending on the cats condition they may also need intravenous hydration. It is possible to prevent your cat from catching this disease through vaccination.

Infectious peritonitis

The virus that causes this disease is a type of coronavirus which affects mostly kittens and occasionally older cats. Its contagion occurs, mainly, through the feces of infected cats and when a healthy cat smells them, the coronavirus enters the respiratory tract. Thus, the transmission of this disease occurs more commonly in areas with many cats such as shelters and kennels.

The most notable symptoms are fever, anorexia, enlarged abdomen and fluid accumulation. This is because the virus attacks white blood cells, causing inflammation in the membranes of the chest and abdominal cavities. However, there is still no vaccine against peritonitis, and once contracted there is no cure and it is fatal, so it is better to follow the vaccination protocols and thus prevent the cat from contracting it. Symptomatic treatment can only be given to relieve pain in the cat.

Feline pneumonia

Pneumonia is also called Feline Chlamydiosis and is brought on by microorganisms known as intracellular parasites. Your pet cat can pick up this disease from contact with body fluids and secretions from an affected cat. Pneumonia can lead to death so it is necessary to start a treatment as soon as possible.

Feline Pneumonia symptoms include conjunctivitis, red and painful eyelids, yellow or green eye discharge and sneezing. Other symptoms may include fever, runny nose, coughing and lack of appetite. Cats can be easily treated with antibiotics and regular cleaning of the eyes with special eye drops. To help with the recovery the cat will need rest, a diet rich in carbohydrates. Pneumonia can be prevented by keeping up with your cat’s vaccines.


This disease is not so common in domestic cats, since vaccination is almost always mandatory. However, it can be very serious not only for the felines, but also for the humans around them. Rabies is caused by a virus transmitted by saliva through a bite from an infected animal. Fortunately, it is a controlled zoonosis in much of the world, where there is regular and mandatory vaccination.

Feline rhinotracheitis

This nasty little virus lodges in the respiratory tract, causing infections in the respiratory system. In fact, about 50% of respiratory diseases in felines are caused by this virus. This disease especially affects unvaccinated pets.

Symptoms include fever, sneezing, runny nose, conjunctivitis, watery eyes and even corneal ulcers. In addition, the virus is transmitted by contact with fluids, such as nasal secretions and saliva. Therefore, feline rhinotracheitis can be prevented with adequate vaccination. Finally, the cats that heal become carriers, because although they no longer suffer from the symptoms, they continue to harbor the virus and can infect other animals.

What are the essential vaccines to prevent cat diseases?

There are vaccines that all kittens should receive, as they will be responsible for shielding their immune system against the most common infectious viruses, including respiratory ones. The main vaccines that must be applied in the period between six and eight weeks of life of these pets, are:

Rabies vaccine

The application of this vaccine is a legal requirement in some countries, as it is a deadly disease that can be transmitted to humans, and unfortunately there is no cure.

Trivalent against rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia
All kitten puppies should receive this triple vaccine. It is essential, as the consequences of these diseases are serious, in addition to the fact that these three infections are easily transmitted and can pose a danger to pets.

Additional vaccines
Anyway, there are other vaccines for cats available that your kitten may or may not need, depending on the risk of infection, lifestyle and level of exposure to other cats. Look for a veterinarian and keep your pet’s vaccines up to date, so that he lives with health and well-being.

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