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What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

Numerous cat illnesses and their symptoms are a serious cause for concern or even life-threatening if left untreated for too long. Today our Santa Clarita vets share insight on some signs and symptoms to be aware of. 

What are some common cat illnesses?

As a cat parent, here are illnesses you need to be aware of. Be prepared to visit your veterinarian if necessary, especially since cats tend to instinctively isolate when sick. Here are 3 common cat illnesses and their symptoms.  

Upper Respiratory Infections

Your cat's upper respiratory tract—their throat, nose and sinuses—can easily become infected with viruses and bacteria. Often passed around in multi-cat households and shelters, cats may contract feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus through something as basic as sharing a food or water bowl. 

Infected cats can transmit this virus to other cats the same way, or by sneezing or coughing. It can also be spread during grooming. 

Symptoms include:

  • Gagging
  • Drooling
  • Runny nose or clear/colored nasal discharge
  • Decreased or lost appetite
  • High fever
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion 


If a cat doesn't produce sufficient insulin to balance blood sugar or glucose levels, they develop diabetes mellitus. Left untreated, feline diabetes can lead to several serious symptoms, such as:

  • Thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Increased appetite or loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Motor function problems
  • Coma
  • Death

If diabetes is not properly managed, 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 for diabetes in cats can include insulin injections and will be focused on managing this condition. 


Uncontrolled growth of cells can cause cancer, which can affect a wide range of organs and cells in your cat's body. The disease first starts to develop within a cell, before it attaches to tissue below the skin and potentially spreading to other areas. 

A common contributor to cancer is Feline Leukemia Virus, which cats can be vaccinated against. Other causes include environmental toxins. If detected early during a physical examinataion, your vet may be able to treat cancer. 

Symptoms include:

  • Lumps or bumps that change in size or shape
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Odor from the mouth
  • Unexplained bleeding or discharge
  • Marked increase or decrease in appetite
  • Chronic weight loss
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating

The type of treatment recommended for your cat will depend upon factors such as whether the tumor is caught and diagnosed early enough, the type of cancer and its extent, and the specific location of the tumor within the cat's body. Treatments for cats with cancer can include radiation, surgery and/or chemotherapy. 

What should I do if my cat is ill?

If your cat is unwell and exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, it's critical to bring them to the vet as soon as possible. At Valencia Veterinary Center, we have an in-house laboratory, onsite pharmacy, and emergency appointments during regular business hours to provide your pet the care they need.

Is your cat feeling under the weather? Our vets are experienced in diagnosing and treating many common illnesses and conditions in cats. Book an appointment for your feline friend today at Valencia Veterinary Center.

Book Online (661) 463-9445