Understanding Ailments in Cats

Understanding Ailments in Cats

Cats are often covert in nature and exude an air of sophistication. Parenting them is congenial if you equip yourself with the right knowledge and understanding of their inherent behavior. Effectively dealing with their common ailments could be the first step towards deepening the bond with your creature companion. It instills trust within them and eventually, you gain their love and affection. Some of the common health issues amongst your feline companions are listed below.

According to research published in PubMed Central (PMC), A commonly raised issue with regard to cat foods is the suitability of carbohydrates in dry foods for cats. Cats are recognized to have evolved as obligate carnivores, consuming foods (small mammals, insects, birds) mainly containing water, protein, and relatively little carbohydrate or fat. Studies have shown that cats are less efficient than some other mammals at metabolizing dietary carbohydrates under certain circumstances. This observation appears to have led to speculation that long-term feeding of carbohydrates may have detrimental effects on the health of cats. Concerns have been raised that some association between the carbohydrate content of dry cat foods and the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) may exist, although the relationship if any, is far from clear.

Diabetes

Cats are prone to diabetes due to insulin deficiency or limited response to insulin. After a cat eats, her digestive system breaks food into various components, including glucose—which is carried into her cells by insulin. Her blood sugar levels elevate when a cat does not produce insulin or cannot utilize it normally. The result is hyperglycemia, which, if left untreated, can cause many complicated health problems for a cat.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

Cats infected with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) may not show symptoms until years after the initial infection occurred. Although the virus is slow-acting, a cat’s immune system is severely weakened once the disease takes hold. This makes the cat susceptible to various secondary infections. Infected cats receiving supportive medical care and kept in a stress-free, indoor environment can live relatively comfortable lives for months to years before the disease reaches its chronic stages.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FelV)

First discovered in the 1960s, the feline leukemia virus is a transmittable RNA retrovirus that can severely inhibit a cat’s immune system. It is one of the most commonly diagnosed causes of disease and death in domestic cats. Because the virus doesn’t always manifest symptoms right away, any new cat entering a household—and any sick cat—should be tested for FeLV.

Heartworm

Spread by infected mosquitoes, heartworm is increasingly being recognized as an underlying cause of health problems in domestic cats. Cats are an atypical host for heartworms. Despite its name, heartworm primarily causes lung disease in cats. It is an important concern for any cat owner living in areas densely populated by mosquitoes, and prevention should be discussed with a veterinarian.

High-Rise Syndrome

Many pet parents eagerly open their windows to enjoy the weather during the summer months. Unfortunately, unscreened windows pose a real danger to cats, who fall out of them so often that the veterinary profession has a name for the complaint—High-Rise Syndrome. Falls can result in shattered jaws, punctured lungs, broken limbs and pelvises—and even death.

Rabies

Rabies is a viral disease that affects the brain and spinal cord of all mammals, including cats, dogs, and humans. This preventable disease has been reported in every state except Hawaii. There’s a good reason that the very word “rabies” evokes fear in people—once symptoms appear, rabies is nearly 100% fatal.

Worms

Cats can acquire a variety of intestinal parasites, including some that are commonly referred to as “worms.” Infestations of intestinal worms can cause a variety of symptoms. Sometimes cats demonstrate few to no outward signs of infection, and the infestation can go undetected despite being a potentially serious health problem. Some feline parasitic worms are hazards to human health as well.

Cancer

Cancer is a class of diseases in which cells grow uncontrollably, invade surrounding tissue, and may spread to other areas of the body. As with people, cats can get various kinds of cancer. The disease can be localized (confined to one area, like a tumor) or generalized (spread throughout the body).

Ringworm

Although the name suggests otherwise, ringworm isn’t caused by a worm at all—but a fungus that can infect the skin, hair, and nails. Not uncommon in cats, this highly contagious disease can lead to patchy, circular areas of hair loss with central red rings. Also known as dermatophytosis, ringworm often spreads to other pets in the household—and to humans, too.

Upper Respiratory Infections

A cat’s upper respiratory tract—the nose, throat, and sinus area—is susceptible to infections caused by a variety of viruses and bacteria.

Nutrition plays a significant role in preventing illnesses in cats. Cat food carries the right balance of nutrients which ensure optimum nutrition and good health for your pet. You may give a variety of flavors to avoid monotony in your diet. Warm food attracts cats immediately. You may heat up the food a little before serving. For the stubborn cats, you may add a pinch of tuna, egg, chicken, and broth. Avoid giving your cats Chocolates, toffees, grapes, raisins, onions, and garlic. Overfeeding may cause weight gain issues so always maintain a tab on the diet to prevent diseases associated with obesity.

Make sure to spend time with your cat but do not insist or force them for company. Give them adequate space but be around them most of the time. Cats are secretive by nature and have a tendency to hide their illnesses and pain. Hence, it is essential to observe changes in their behavior to gauge their health status.

Ensure a hygienic environment at home to safeguard your pets from contracting any diseases. There are specific cleaners available that are pet friendly. Source: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/common-cat-diseases

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