A young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kittenA young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kittenA young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kitten
Barks & Mewsings

The Trupanion blog

Five Common Cat Health Problems for Adopted Cats

By: Kelli Rascoe

December is National Cat Lovers Month—a time for cat lovers, owners, parents, and companions to celebrate their feline friends. From the moment you bring your cat or kitten into your family, your world is changed. Certainly, a lifestyle with a feline brings new experiences and encounters—some of which might include health issues for your furry friend. From recognizing cat stress to understanding behavior and managing dental health, cat health problems can be common, despite age, size or breed.

By knowing and understanding cat behaviors and cat health, cat lovers can become great cat owners, we sat down with Trupanion veterinarian, Dr. Caroline Wilde, to create this guide to recognizing and managing cat health problems.

Grey cat sits in female owners lap near a window

Five common cat health problems for cat owners that every pet owner should know

If you’ve recently become a new pet owner, or even if you are a tenured cat owner, take into consideration these common cat health problems.

1. Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a common cat health problem of cats of all ages. “If a newly adopted feline has soft stool, it’s important to always take the pet to the veterinarian where they can check a stool sample, and make sure it’s not parasite-related,” states Wilde. Certainly there can be a wide variety of reasons why your feline friend is experiencing gastro-intestinal issues.

Contributing factors of diarrhea include:

  • Stress
  • Food intolerance
  • Diet change
  • Internal pesticides

If you feel your furry friend is experiencing signs of discomfort and gastrointestinal upset, please seek veterinary care. Consider notating when your cat has stomach pain and signs of diarrhea, for instance during feeding time, to help your vet find the cause of the pain. For more on cats and anxiety, read here.

2. Ringworm

Ringworm, an infectious skin disease, is a common cat health problem seen within animal shelters and rescue organizations. Although ringworm is a treatable disease, it is incredibly infectious, and should be taken seriously in any household. In addition, “It’s important to take them to the vet as soon as possible, especially since ringworm is Zoonotic, meaning it can be transmitted to people and other pets in the home,” points out Wilde. Naturally, if skin issues like scabs, bald spots, or scaling appear on your new cat, seek treatment with your veterinarian.

3. Respiratory infections/ eye issues

If a cat is showing signs of a respiratory infection, chances are they may have eye issues. Essentially, a number of issues could cause these infections. For example, respiratory infections can be transmitted through bacteria, viral, or trauma. Although this is a common cat health problem, the severity of the infection can be extreme in younger cats and kittens. Further, “If they progress, they can become very sick, very fast. It’s important to take any eye issues very seriously. In addition, the veterinarian will want to check the eyes for trauma by staining them,” says Wilde. For example, consider an e-collar or an alternative to avoid any additional to your cat’s eyes.

4. Inappetence

Keeping your cat happy and healthy is a top priority for pet owners. Naturally, a factor of that is keeping your pet well fed. Granted, not all cats have a large appetite, and the key is understanding why they don’t want to eat. Is your cat eating enough? To find more on the topic, click here.

Why your cat may not be eating

Certainly, understanding your cat’s behavior or the reason for your cat’s stress can help in the role as a new pet owner. For instance, being in a new home might be stressful for your cat and they don’t have an appetite. In addition, they could be experiencing a food intolerance. Further, “Any issues regarding how much a cat is eating (too much or not enough), can be a cause for concern, and should be discussed with a veterinarian,” states Wild.

Naturally, humans and cats alike are affected by stress. Certainly, a transition to new home can take some getting used too, for all parties. Consider keeping a journal at mealtime, and checking in with your veterinarian with any concerns.

5. Litter box issues/habits

Certainly, it’s no surprise that cats are finicky, about their pet space. Also, keeping your cat’s habits in check and maintaining a clean litter area is good not only for the cat, but for your home. Dr. Wilde weights in on the importance of proper litter box etiquette starting with your cat’s first day-

“It’s important when bringing a new cat into the home, to help facilitate their litter box right from the start, as improper elimination or urinating outside the litter box is sadly a very common reason for cats to be relinquished.” Wilde continues, also “the rule of thumb is that the number of litter boxes in the house should be the number of cats plus one. For example, three litter boxes in a two cat home.”

Naturally, by offering a variety of shapes in sizes throughout the home, it gives your feline friend plenty of opportunity to relieve themselves at their discretion. Consider giving your cat options, so they feel they have the chance to use the litter box, when they need too. If you feel your pet is experiencing a bad habit or a litter box issue, reach out to your veterinarian. As such, a medical cause could be at the root of the behavioral issue. For more on litter box styles and shapes, read here.

Calico cat stands in the kitchen between her owners feet

Common cat health problems can affect any age

Common cat health problems can affect any adoption cat or kitten. To bring to light, whether you have a ten year old domestic short hair cat or a ten month old Persian kitten, rather these issues are seen despite age, breed, or gender. If you feel your furry friend is experiencing signs of any pain, discomfort, seek veterinary care.

The importance of the first vet visit for your cat

The first vet visit for your cat is incredibly important for the health of your pet. Likewise, they are able to test for all diseases, give round of vaccinations or boosters, provide wellness care and tips, and relay a treatment plan if any medical concerns are encountered. Also, this gives you an opportunity to establish a routine of responsible pet ownership skills and ask any questions you might have about your new furry friend. Naturally, the first vet visit is one of the most important vet visits to establish proper pet care for your pet.

Awareness for the health of your feline friend

Common cat health problems are seen throughout animal welfare organizations. Naturally, the important factor is to seek care if your feel your cat is showing any signs of sickness and to get on a treatment plan for your furry friend. By keeping your pet’s wellness in check and establishing good routines, your cat will be on the road to recovery in no time.

For more one cats, read When Do Cats Stop Growing? Cat Owner Questions Answered.

A dog and cat snuggle

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Welcome to the Trupanion blog. A place to celebrate pets, pet health and medical insurance for cats and dogs.

This blog is designed to be a community where pet owners can learn and share. The views expressed in each post are the opinion of the author and not necessarily endorsed by Trupanion. Always consult your veterinarian for professional advice.

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