12 Health Problems Cats Can Have That You Never Realized
Cats pretty much do what they want. And, maybe you don't know that your feline friends are also super stoic, which is why there are health problems you might not realize your cat can have. Cats tend to hide aches, pains, and other health issues, and by the time kitty lets you know something is amiss the issue could have been going on for longer than you think. As it turns out, this is a survival instinct: "Cats are known for hiding illness, weakness or pain — especially chronic conditions like dental, kidney and even heart disease," Banfield Pet Hospital explained on its blog. "This goes back to their existence in the wild when trying to avoid attracting the attention of would-be predators. That means pet owners may not immediately see physical signs that something is wrong."
One of the first signs that something is wrong with your cat is changes in behavior, like a sudden aversion to the litter box, or sitting in the litter box when not going to the bathroom. Another telltale sign is your cat hiding more than usual. "Cats are also great at hiding in quiet, dark places such as under a bed or in a closet," Banfield Pet Hospital noted. "It can be normal not to see them for long periods of time, however when they are not feeling well, cats may hide to conserve energy or avoid pain." If your cat has never been sick, and you notice a change is its behavior, these are some health problems you might not know your cat can have that you'll want to watch out for.
1. Cats Can Develop Diabetes
In a lot of ways, cats are just like us — and that includes the risk of developing diabetes. According to PetMD, signs of diabetes in your cat include excessive thirst, ravenous appetite, and increased urination.
2. They Can Have An Overactive Thyroid
If your cat is losing weight despite eating and drinking everything in sight and is also super hyperactive, it's possible that he or she might have hyperthyroidism, the most common glandular disorder in cats, according to PetMD. Don't worry, medication can usually stop your cat from going bananas so you can restore order to your home.
3. They Can Develop Kidney Disease
A lot of older cats develop kidney disease, however any cat can have acute renal failure from accidentally ingesting things they should not, PetMD noted. If your cat is unusually lethargic, has increased thirst, and changes in litterbox behavior, it's a good idea to get them checked out by your vet.
4. Cats Can Have UTIs
If your cat suddenly starts peeing outside of the litterbox and/or makes noises when urinating, kitty might have a urinary tract infection. This is fairly easy for your vet to diagnose, and it can be quickly cleared up with antibiotics.
5. Your Feline Friend Could Develop Dementia
Dementia in older cats is called cognitive dysfunction syndrome, and some of the most common signs are similar to the signs for dementia in humans. Perhaps kitty doesn't remember where the food dish is, or is staring at the wall. In addition to other potential treatment options you can discuss with your vet, Vet Help Direct suggested making sure you follow a strict routine for your senile cat to alleviate some of their stress.
6. Cats Can Get Cavities
While they're not the same ones humans get, cats can develop cavities, according to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. "Most commonly seen at or below the gumline, these 'cat cavities' or 'neck lesions' are now termed FORLs or feline odontoclastic resorption lesions. FORLs often lead to shearing off of the teeth at the gumline and are very painful. Difficulty eating, salivation, tooth loss, are some signs of 'cat cavities,' but sometimes these lesions go undetected." This is why it's a good idea to inspect your cat's teeth on the regular, and even have their teeth cleaned every few years.
7. Cats Can Get Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
Similar to HIV in humans, cat can acquire feline Immunodeficiency Virus, or FIV, which is usually transmitted when a cat is bitten by an infected feline friend. If your cat does have FIV, kitty can still live a long healthy life. See the WebMD link above for signs, symptoms, and treatment options for a cat with FIV.
8. Your Feline Could Have A False Pregnancy
If your female cat is not spayed, but you know she hasn't been getting busy with any tom cats, your cat won't get pregnant. However, according to PetMD, some females cats can show signs of false pregnancy, complete with lactation. This is likely due to a hormone imbalance, so you'll want to get Whiskers checked out ASAP.
9. Acne Is Not Just For Humans
Who knew cats could have acne? Your feline friend might develop pimples near its chin and lower lip, according to PetMd. "Some cats may only have a single episode of acne while others have a life-long, recurring problem. The frequency and seriousness of each acne flare-up, however, can vary with each animal. A secondary bacterial infection is usually present with acne in cats as well." If kitty suddenly develops acne, it's best to have your vet check to make sure there's not a secondary infection.
10. Compulsive Kitties Could Have Anxiety
If you think you might have an overly anxious kitty, PetMD noted that some of the most common signs are your cat engaging in "repetitive, exaggerated behaviors that are seemingly without purpose. For example, grooming to the extent that fur is rubbed off; compulsive pacing; repetitive vocalizations; and eating, sucking, or chewing on fabric."
11. Eyelash Disorders Can Affect Your Cat
While it's rare, PetMD reported that cats can get ingrown eyelashes, or have eyelashes that grow in unusual spots, which can damage kitty's eyes. "Trichiasis is in-growth of the eyelashes; distichiasis is an eyelash that grows from an abnormal spot on the eyelid; and ectopic cilia are single or multiple hairs that grow through the inside of the eyelid. In all of these conditions, the eyelash hair can come into contact with and damage the cornea or conjunctiva of the eye." If you notice kitty having eye problems, but there hasn't been a trauma to the eye, take your fur baby to the vet to see if its eyelashes are the culprit.
12. Felines Can Faint
The likelihood of your cat fainting is low, but it can happen, and it's most common in older cats, according to PetMD. However, kitty doesn't faint from fright, but rather from something called syncope, which is a temporary interruption of the blood supply to the brain. If you cat faints, it's not something to ignore. Take kitty to the vet to discuss treatment options.