The 10 worst cat diseases YOU can prevent
For every cat owner, it’s a nightmare for their beloved furry friends to become seriously ill. But there’s good news you can actively prevent some diseases in your cat and significantly reduce the risk of their development. You’ll find out what these diseases are and what you can do about them now.
A serious disease that you can easily prevent is type 2 diabetes. This is a life-threatening illness where the body’s insulin production is disrupted. Unlike type 1 which is congenital, type 2 diabetes is acquired through an unhealthy lifestyle. In the first place being overweight is to blame for this disease. Cats become overweight when they don’t exercise enough and get too much or the wrong kind of food. The risk of being overweight increases, particularly with age as cats move around less. But even in younger years, your cat can become overweight if the amount of calories consumed is higher than the amount burned. This is particularly common in indoor cats. Additionally, feeding cats food that is high in carbohydrates can lead to being overweight. To prevent overweight and therefore the risk of diabetes there are simple methods. Don’t give your cat food that contains carbohydrates like grains, rice or potatoes. Don’t overfeed them with treats and adjust the amount and type of food you give to older and neutered cats according to their lower calorie requirements. You can do this for example in consultation with an animal nutritionist and also encourage your furry friend to exercise sufficiently every day and regularly check their weight.
- Urinary tract diseases
Various illnesses can occur in the urinary tract of cats. For example, there are urinary stones, which are also known as kidney or bladder stones depending on their location. You can prevent the formation of urinary stones by ensuring that the pH value of your indoor feline urine is within the normal range. Your veterinarian can easily check this and tell you how to adjust their diet if necessary. The pH value can be influenced by nutrition. In particular, the urine must not be too acidic also make sure that your cat doesn’t consume more and especially not too many synthetic minerals than they need. The unutilized minerals will otherwise accumulate as urinary stones in the kidneys or bladder. Other urinary tract diseases include bladder inflammation, chronic kidney insufficiency and inflammation of the lower urinary tract. Urinary stones are only one of several possible causes. By preventing urinary stones you create good conditions for your cat’s urinary tract to stay healthy overall. To reduce the risk of urinary tract diseases overall, there is another simple tip, make sure your cat always drinks enough fluids. Their water bowl must always be filled and a drinking fountain can also be helpful for motivation. Also, provide them with wet food to eat.
- Dental problems
When the naturally occurring bacteria in a cat’s mouth multiply rapidly, tartar forms which in turn causes the bacteria to stick to their teeth. There they produce acid and bore into the enamel causing holes in the teeth. Poor oral hygiene can also cause inflammation of the gums, tooth pockets, dissolution of dental substances and inflammation of the entire oral cavity. The best way to prevent all of this is regular tooth brushing with coconut oil. However, this usually only works if you have already accustomed your cat to dental hygiene as a kitten. It is also important that your cat gets enough tooth-strengthening minerals through their diet. These include calcium, zinc and fluoride. Additionally, dental care toys are a useful addition as cats can chew on them and remove dental plaque.
Arthritis is a serious condition that can be prevented relatively easily. It is caused by the wear and tear of a cat’s joints due to activities like running, jumping and climbing. Over time the pain caused by joint stiffness and inflammation can lead to a decrease in mobility creating a vicious cycle. While exercise is important to combat arthritis it should consist of low-impact activities and avoid jumping and climbing. To prevent arthritis make sure your cat walks on soft surfaces and does not become overweight as extra weight can put more pressure on their joints. Feeding your cat a high-quality balanced diet can also reduce the risk of developing arthritis.
Cancer is a sad reality for many cats with up to 50 per cent of older cats developing tumours. Tumours can affect various organs including the skin, mammary glands, gastrointestinal tract or the blood system. The causes of tumours are usually beyond your control as cancer is primarily caused by harmful environmental influences. However, you can still reduce the risk of cancer by minimising your cat’s exposure to chemicals, avoiding feeding them food containing grains and sugars, providing natural bedding using natural cat litter and keeping them away from cleaning products, paints and toxins. Furnishing your home with natural materials can also help reduce your cat’s exposure to harmful chemicals.
Hyperthyroidism is a hormonal disease that can cause hyperactivity, nervousness, aggression and increased appetite with weight loss. The causes can be due to tumours or overgrowth of thyroid tissue. While your control over hyperthyroidism is limited; you can still reduce the risk by eliminating factors that contribute to it. Suspected causes of hyperthyroidism include toxins such as artificial spot-on treatments and other chemicals, unnatural cat litter and food with high levels of iodine as well as stress. Therefore it is essential to keep your cat away from all of these things
- Breed-specific genetic diseases
There is a long list of genetic diseases that can affect purebred cats often compromising their quality of life or even being life-threatening. If you already have a purebred cat you can only diagnose the disease through regular veterinary checkups and treat your cat accordingly. To prevent breed-specific genetic diseases it is essential to choose a reputable breeder who excludes cats with genetic diseases from their breeding line and has their kittens tested accordingly.
8 Infectious diseases
Infections can be transmitted by other cats and parasites with certain diseases being transmitted by other animals or even humans. Good hygiene practices, regular grooming and monitoring of your cat’s skin and coat can help prevent parasite-borne diseases. If your cat goes outside it can be challenging to prevent the transmission of disease from other cats but you can hope that other cat owners keep their sick cats indoors and away from other cats. This also applies to dogs and humans. Certain diseases can be prevented with vaccines such as leukaemia feline distemper and feline respiratory disease. Basic immunisation is essential to protect your cat from these diseases.
- Complications from infections
While many infections are unavoidable, you can reduce the risk of permanent damage caused by treatable diseases on internal organs. Early recognition of disease symptoms is crucial and it is best to seek veterinary help immediately if your cat displays any symptoms. It is also helpful to strengthen your cat’s immune system through a well-balanced vitamin-rich diet, fresh air exercise and plenty of sleep.
10 Mental health disorders
Cats can suffer from not only physical but also mental health disorders. These can include depression and anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders and psychosomatic illnesses. Fortunately, as your cat’s primary caregiver, you have a significant influence on their mental well-being. Give your cats a sense of security and comfort, spend a lot of time with them and show them that you love and care for them. Avoid overwhelming them and make sure they are not exposed to too much noise and commotion. Additionally, ensure they stay engaged and stimulated by providing them with interesting toys and activities. It’s also important that your furry friend gets enough sleep and rest. Be aware of any increased withdrawal as this could be a sign of a mental or physical health problem.