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Common Cat Illnesses & Symptoms Every Owner Should Know About

Common Cat Illnesses & Symptoms Every Owner Should Know About

Numerous cat illnesses and their symptoms can be serious, and even turn life-threatening if not treated early. Here, our Murfreesboro vets list signs to beware of.

What are common cat illnesses?

Especially since cats tend to instinctively isolate when ill, cat parents should be on alert for symptoms and prepared to visit their veterinarian if needed. We often see these 3 common cat illnesses and their symptoms:


If a cat's body does not produce sufficient insulin to balance glucose levels or blood sugar, diabetes mellitus can develop. Left untreated, it can cause several serious symptoms, including: 

  • Motor function issues
  • Dehydration 
  • Thirst
  • Increased appetite (as the body is unable to use the energy in food) or loss of appetite 
  • Increased urination 
  • Vomiting
  • Coma
  • Death

When diabetes is poorly controlled, it can shorten a cat's lifespan and lead to many health problems, nerve disorders and severe veterinary emergency situations. Treatment typically focuses on managing and may include injections of insulin. 

Upper Respiratory Infections

These infections can be caused by bacteria and viruses in your cat's upper respiratory tract - their nose, throat and sinuses. Common in shelters and multi-cat households, cats can contract feline calicivirus and feline herpesvirus through something as innocent as sharing a water or food bowl. 

The virus can then be transmitted to other cats in the same way, or by sneezing or coughing. This can also happen during grooming. 

Symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Congestion 
  • Drooling or gagging
  • Fever
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose or clear/colored nasal discharge 


Caused by uncontrolled growth of cells, cancer can affect a wide range of cells and organs in a cat’s body. The disease first starts to grow within a cell, before attaching to tissue underneath the skin and potentially spreading to other areas.

Feline Leukemia Virus (which cats can be vaccinated against) is a common contributor. Other causes include toxins in the environment. If detected early during a physical exam, cancer may be able to be treated.

Symptoms include:

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

Depending on whether the tumor is detected and diagnosed early enough, the type of cancer and its extent, specific location, etc., whether an effective treatment plan is developed, and other factors, a number of treatments such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy may be used.

What should I do if my cat is ill?

If your cat is ill and exhibiting any of the symptoms above, it’s imperative to bring them to a vet as soon as possible. At Brogli Lane Weaver & Alexander Animal Hospital, we have an in-house laboratory, onsite pharmacy, and emergency clinic to provide your pet the care they need (help for after-hours emergencies is also available).

Looking for a vet in Murfreesboro?

We're always accepting new patients, so contact our veterinary hospital today to book your pet's first appointment.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms. 

Is your cat showing signs of illness you are concerned about? Our vets are committed to helping older dogs get the nutrients they need. Contact us to book an appointment. 

Caring for Pets in Murfreesboro

Brogli Lane Weaver & Alexander Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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Book Online (615) 893-1728