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What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

Many cat illnesses and symptoms can be distressing to witness. Left untreated too long, they can even prove fatal. Our Everett vets share advice about which symptoms to watch for. 

What are common cat illnesses?

Every cat parent should be aware of several common cat illnesses. If necessary, prepare to visit your veterinarian, especially since cats instinctively tend to isolate when ill. Here are 3 common cat illnesses and symptoms to keep in mind: 


If a cat's body does not produce enough insulin to balance blood sugar and glucose levels, they develop diabetes mellitus. If not treated and managed appropriately, this condition can cause several serious symptoms, including: 

  • Thirst 
  • Increased appetite (as the body cannot use the energy in food) or loss of appetite
  • Increased urination
  • Motor function problems 
  • Dehydration 
  • Vomiting 
  • Coma
  • Death

A cat's lifespan can be shortened and many health complications such as nerve disorders may result from poorly managed diabetes. The disease may also lead to severe emergencies and subsequent visits to the vet. Treatment will be required and may include insulin injections. To help your cat live a long, healthy life with diabetes, you and your vet will need to work together to control the condition. 

Upper Respiratory Infections

Your cat's upper respiratory tract includes their nose, sinuses and throat. This area can become infected with bacteria and viruses that are often transmitted in multi-cat households. Feline calcivirus and feline herpesvirus can be transmitted through sharing food or water bowls. 

These viruses can then be passed on to other cats in the same way, or as cats groom themselves. They can also be passed through coughing or sneezing. 

Symptoms include: 

  • Cough
  • Runny nose or clear/colored nasal discharge
  • Congestion 
  • Decreased or lost appetite 
  • Fever 
  • Gagging, drooling 
  • Sneezing 


An uncontrolled growth of cells in a cat's body may impact any number of organs and cause cancer. This disease first starts to develop within a cell before attaching to tissue below the skin and potentially spreading to other areas of the body. 

Feline Leukemia Virus is a common contributor to cancer in cats. Other causes may include environmental toxins. If caught early enough during a physical exam, your vet may be able to treat the cancer. 

Symptoms include:

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

Prognosis for cancer in cats can vary depending on whether your vet detects and diagnoses a tumor early enough. The type of cancer, its extent and specific location along with other elements may also be factors. An effective tailored treatment plan may include radiation, chemotherapy and/or surgery. 

At Broadway Animal Hospital, our vets perform many soft tissue surgeries, including those for oncological disorders. We can help you fully understand your pet's diagnosis and offer a recommendation for surgery. We can also address any questions or concerns you may have, and ensure you are comfortable moving ahead.  

What should I do if my cat is sick?

If your cat is sick and displaying any symptoms listed above, it's important to bring them to the vet as soon as possible. At Broadway Animal Hospital, we have an onsite pharmacy, in-house laboratory and emergency care to provide your pet the care they need.

Do you suspect your cat is sick? Our vets have experience in diagnosing and treating many common illnesses and conditions. Book an appointment at Broadway Animal Hospital today.

New Patients Always Welcome!

Looking for a vet in Everett? Whether your pet needs routine wellness exams, surgery, geriatric care or emergency care, we look forward to welcoming you to our family at Broadway Animal Hospital located in Everett. 

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