Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

There is a range of illnesses and symptoms that cats can develop that could be worrying or potentially fatal if left untreated. In this blog, our vets in Poway discuss the signs and symptoms of cat illnesses you should be aware of.

What illnesses are common in cats?

If you are a cat owner there are a handful of illnesses and conditions you have to be aware of and keep an eye out for. We have listed some of these illnesses below and if you notice any of these symptoms you have to be ready to take your kitty to a veterinarian. Please remember that cats will isolate themselves by instinct if they are feeling unwell, so watch for the conditions and symptoms listed here:

Upper Respiratory Infections

The upper respiratory tract of your cat includes their throat, nose, and sinuses, which can become infected with bacteria and viruses. These infections are often spread among multi-cat households and shelters, kitties can contract feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus through something as basic as sharing a water or food dish. 

They can transmit this virus to other cats the same way, or by sneezing or coughing. It could also be passed around during grooming. 

Symptoms include:

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


If a cat doesn't produce sufficient insulin to balance blood sugar or glucose levels, they could develop diabetes mellitus. If this goes untreated, it might lead to several serious symptoms, including:

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

If diabetes is managed poorly, the disease could shorten the lifespan of a cat and lead to various health problems such as nerve disorders. It may also result in severe pet emergency situations. Treatment can include insulin injections and will be focused on managing this condition. 


Uncontrolled growth of cells can cause cancer, which could affect a wide variety of organs and cells in your cat's body. At first, the disease will start to develop within a cell, before attaching to tissues below the skin, potentially spreading to other areas. 

A common contributor to cancer is Feline Leukemia Virus, which cats can be vaccinated against. Other causes include environmental toxins. If detected early in a physical exam, your vet might be able to treat cancer. 

Symptoms include:

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

Depending on whether or not the tumor is found and diagnosed early enough, the type of cancer and its extent, specific location within the body, whether an effective treatment plan can be developed, and other varying factors will determine which treatments can be attempted such as radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy. 

What should I do if my cat is ill?

If your cat is sick and exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, it's critical to bring them to the vet as soon as possible. At Animal Emergency Clinic of San Diego, we have an in-house laboratory, onsite pharmacy, and emergency pet clinic to provide your kitty with the care they need.

If your cat is displaying any of the above symptoms or if you believe they may be sick contact our vets at Animal Emergency Clinic of San Diego today to schedule an appointment.

Experienced Emergency Vet Care in Poway

Animal Emergency Clinic of San Diego is a family-run after-hours and critical care hospital, providing veterinary emergency care since 1985. If your pet is experiencing an emergency, contact us to get the help your pet needs.

Contact Us

Contact (858) 748-7387