The Cat Health Guide

The Cat Health Guide is committed to providing well researched information on the cat health problems that owners face every day. It is written by editors who understand that medical terminology can be confusing

This guide is not a substitute for Veterinary care. Every cat owner needs to be an advocate for their cat's health so that you can ask the right questions when consulting a veterinary health professional. Just like when visiting your own Doctor, it's important to understand what to expect and what your treatment options are.

Our philosophy is to provide suggestions that focus on traditional medicine backed by research. We only suggest alternative treatments if they are research based. 

Each page in the cat health guide is organized into sections where you can find a description of the cat health problem, a list of symptoms, a sense of what to expect when visiting the veterinarian for a diagnosis and treatment options.

Cat owners need to pay particular attention to medical treatment that relates to infectious diseases, dental disease, kidney disease, and a urinary tract problem.

We also provide suggestions on topics such as litter boxes, issues unique to female cats or male cats, or care for indoor cats vs. outdoor cats.

Care suggestions include how to trim a cat's nails, and the differences between offering canned food vs. dry food.What are the Symptoms of a Sick Cat?

When to Consult a Veterinarian

While not a complete list, be sure to consult a veterinarian if you see any of the following:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Sudden mood changes
  • No interest in games or playing
  • Lethargic or tired behavior
  • Quite a bit less voice and a lot less spoken in general, or being more vocal than usual
  • Sudden changes to appetite and food consumption, no interest in cat food
  • Significant weight reduction
  • Breathing fast / short breaths:
  • Short breathing

Most Common Kitten Health Problems

  1. Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

    Main Symptom: Sneezing
    Other Symptoms: Nasal discharge or runny nose, trouble breathing, not eating. If experience breathing or eating issues, see a veterinarian on an emergency basis
    Treatment:  Varies based on viral or bacterial cause. Can get worst if left untreated.

  2. Feline Distemper (Panleukopenia) - Rare disease

    Symptoms: vomiting, poor appetite, diarrheaBring kitten to veterinarian for emergency treatment
    Treatment:  requires antibiotics and fluid.
    Vaccination: Patients are hospitalized.Kittens should receive a feline distemper vaccine when they are 8 to 9 weeks, followed by another dose at 3 to 4 weeks and 14 to 15 weeks. Boosters are given 6 to 12 months later, and then again every 1 to 3 years.

  3. Intestinal Worms (Whipworms, hookworms, whipworms)

    Symptoms and Health Issues: Weight loss and diarrhea
    Treatment: Cat deworming products

  4. Coccidia (intestinal parasite)

    Symptoms: appetite loss, dehydration
    Diagnosis via a stool sample
    Treatment involves the use of prescription medications

  5. Fleas

    Symptoms: hair loss or loose hair, usually in the rump area, itch
    Treatment: Over-the-counter or prescription medications. (do not use products formulated for dogs.)

  6. Ear Mites
    Symptoms: ear scratching
    Treatment: pet owners apply ear drops

Pet parents should pay particular attention to problems such as kitten diarrhea and signs of feline immunodeficiency virus. Even issues such as bad breath could indicate a dental problem.

Please write to us with your suggestions and ideas for how to keep your cat healthy or if you didn't find the information on your feline friend you were looking for.