Cats tend to hide their discomfort, so it's important for owners to know what signs to look out for. Our Rancho Cucamonga vets discuss some contagious illnesses that are common among cats as well as when humans have to be careful.
Your Cat's Health
As impassive animals, cats will often hide out of their family's sight if they feel unwell. This is what makes it hard to tell if your cat is sick. This makes it very important for pet parents to keep an eye on their cat's health and be prepared for when their beloved kitty does show signs of being unwell.
Common & Contagious Illnesses Among Cats
There are contagious sicknesses that are more common in felines than other species, and there are a few owners should know about if you have a kitty in your home.
Upper Respiratory Infections (Cat Colds)
Certain viruses and bacteria can lead to your cat developing a respiratory infection, which could affect their nose, throat, and sinuses.
Cats are at higher risk of these health conditions if they live in a home with other cats, if they're in a shelter, or if they spend a lot of time outdoors and encounter other cats.
Feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus are transmitted during regular activities such as grooming, sharing a food or water bowl, or coughing and sneezing. Infected cats can transmit the illness to other cats within the household or the neighbourhood. Common symptoms of upper respiratory illness in cats include:
- Nasal discharge
- Loss of appetite
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is most often seen in male outdoor cats with a tendency to fight with other cats, and in rare situations, can be passed from female cats to their kittens.
FIV can severely weaken your cat's immune system and make them further susceptible to other infections or diseases. With the appropriate treatment, and an indoor, low-stress environment, cats can live for years before FIV reaches its chronic stages.
FIV is a slow-acting virus; symptoms can take years to occur after infection. That said, if your kitty is displaying any of the following symptoms, contact your vet immediately to seek treatment and try to stop the infection from growing worse:
- Lack of appetite
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Unexplained weight loss
- Poor grooming
- Disheveled coat
- Abnormal appearance
- Inflammation of the eye
- Behavior change
- Inflammation of the gums and mouth
- Discharge from eyes
- Runny nose
- Frequent urination
- Straining to urinate
- Urinating outside of the litter box
- Skin redness or hair loss
- Wounds that don’t heal
Can I Catch an Illness From My Cat?
In short, yes. There are a few feline illnesses that can transmit to humans, though the symptoms may present themselves differently in people than in cats. These are called Zootonic Illnesses. While it is very uncommon to contract a sickness from your pet, it becomes more likely if you have a weakened immune system.
Don't worry, you don't have to give up your cat! You just need to take the proper measures recommended by your vet to recover yourself and your pet.
Below we have provided a list of some of the most common Zootonic cat illnesses:
- Cat-Scratch disease