Find out about TOP HEALTH PROBLEMS in cat
Here are a few common health problems in cats, their causes and how pet parents can prevent them.
1. Constipation – This is the most common problems and very annoying for pet parents, because cat cries whole night trying to defecate. The reasons for constipation are lack of roughage in diet, worms and also excessive and tangled hairs in anal region. This problem can be solved at home easily by giving 8 to 10 drops of refined vegetable oil and cutting hairs in anal region. You may prevent constipation by adding some roughage in the cat’s diet. Boiled pumpkins in a cat’s diet also relieves constipation. Also ensure cat drinks enough water every day if she has been kept on dry commercial food.
2. Worms – Common forms of worms or intestinal parasite that are found in cats are roundworm, tapeworm and hookworm. Cats with worm infestation show lethargy, reduced appetite, diarrhoea and vomiting. Easiest way to know whether your cat has worms or not is to examine the anal region; tapeworm can be seen hanging or tangling in hairs or in the stool. Hookworms are not visible to naked eye and can be passed from mother to kitten. Human can contract hookworm from their cats. For treatment and prevention, cats should be de-wormed every 15 days till three months of age and thereafter every month.
3. Stress – This is not really a health problem in itself but a cause for a number of health problems. Cats get stressed easily. A number of things can cause stress in cats. When stressed, there is excessive meowing, scratching on the floor and door, urinating frequently, sleeping less. To reduce stress you have to eliminate both physical as well as psychological cause of stress. Ensure that her nails are trimmed regularly, there are no flea infestations or other skin diseases and also ensure that your cat has access to food and water. Engage your cat into some activity; give her toys. Keep your cat away from loud noise, crackers, etc.
4. Hairballs – You must have noticed cats licking their paws. This is a part of their self grooming. The pet patents fall for this kind of behaviour by their cats but self grooming behaviour by cats have problems too. The loose hairs that are licked by cat go to digestive tract and become a ball and as a result the cat becomes constipated. This condition is generally self-corrective but if the hairball passes to intestine, it causes blockage and the cat is unable to defecate.
5. Remedy: This condition is life threatening and the cat should be taken to a vet immediately.
6. Urinary tract infection – UTI is more common in male cats than the female. You should take your cat to a vet once his urine starts smelling strong.
7. Abscesses – Nearly every cat develops abscesses at one time or another of their life. Abscesses are pocket full of pus beneath the skin. The most
common abscess is puncture wounds that occur due to fight with another cat or
8. Feline asthma – This is a condition that is increasingly becoming common in cats of India. Cat sits with mouth extended and breathes in and out rapidly. Viral infections especially Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is the most common cause.
9. Remedy: Keep your cat calm and stress free and rush to a nearby vet for help.
10. Upper respiratory tract infection – Most cats catch cold, most often caused by viruses. They become lethargic, and have runny eyes. Good news is that this is not a serious problem as long as your cat eats and drinks. You should wipe your cat’s mouth nostril with warm wipe.
11. Kidney diseases – Renal problem occurs at an older age but can happen at any age. If you see your cat drinking and urinating excessively, you can suspect kidney disease. Other signs include vomiting, lack of appetite, loss of weight but these happen at more advanced stage. It is a good practice to get your elderly pet’s blood tests done on yearly basis.
12. Feline leukemia virus – Popularly known as FeLV, it is a killer disease of cats. It weakens cat’s immune system and contributes to development of cancer in infected cats. This is why cats should be vaccinated against this and other dreadful diseases such as feline rhinotracheitis virus and feline calci virus at an early age.
(Dr Suranjan Sarkar runs Complete Dog Care at Ranchi, which is truly a complete pet corner where available medical facilities, grooming, pet food, accessories and others).