Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Cat Illnesses & Symptoms

Detecting and treating cat illnesses in their very earliest stages can often lead to better treatment outcomes than if they're identified later. But how can you tell if your cat is sick? Our Turlock vets share a list of cat illnesses and their symptoms in this post. 

What are some common cat illnesses?

In this post, we'll cover some common indoor cat illnesses that all pet parents should be aware of. It's important to keep in mind that since cats have a natural instinct to hide when they're feeling unwell, it can often take some time before pet parents notice their cat's symptoms, which can lead to treatment delays. If your cat exhibits any of the symptoms related to these conditions, contact your vet. 

Upper Respiratory Infections

Your cat's upper respiratory tract includes their throat, nose and sinuses. These can all become infected with highly contagious viruses and bacteria that are easily transmitted in shelters and multi-cat households. Cats that come into contact with other kitties are particularly vulnerable to feline calicivirus and feline herpesvirus. These conditions are so contagious that they can be passed from one cat to another just through sharing a water or food bowl, or while grooming. 

Similar to the human cold, feline upper respiratory infections can also be transmitted to other cats via coughing or sneezing. 

Symptoms of upper respiratory infections in cats include: 

  • Decreased or lost appetite
  • Congestion
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Drooling or gagging
  • Fever
  • Runny nose or clear/colored nasal discharge


Diabetes mellitus occurs when cats aren't able to produce a sufficient amount of insulin to balance blood sugar or glucose levels. Left untreated, this condition can lead to many serious symptoms, such as:

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

Poorly controlled diabetes can shorten a cat's lifespan and lead to numerous health issues such as nerve disorders. It may also result in severe emergency situations. Treatment can include insulin injections and will be focused on managing this condition. 


Uncontrolled growth of cells can cause cancer, which can affect a wide range of organs and cells in a cat's body. The disease first starts to develop within a cell, before it attaches to tissue below the skin and 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 caught early during a physical exam, your vet may be able to treat cancer. 

Symptoms include:

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

Whether your cat's cancer can be effectively treated will depend upon a number of factors including the type of cancer, how advanced it is, specific location within the body, as well as your cat's general health and age. If your cat is diagnosed with cancer your vet may recommend treatments such as radiation, surgery or chemotherapy

What should I do if my cat is ill?

When it comes to cat illnesses and determining when symptoms are serious enough to require diagnosis and a vet's care, we recommend pet owners always err on the side of caution. If your cat is displaying any symptoms or behaviors that cause you concern, it's critical to bring them to your vet as soon as possible for a physical exam. At Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital, we have an in-house laboratory and onsite pharmacy to provide your pet the care they need.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms. 

Are you planning on going away but need somewhere safe for your pooch while you are gone?  Contact our Turlock veterinarians about boarding options today.

New Patients Welcome

Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Turlock companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

(209) 634-0023

Book Online (209) 634-0023