Cats are amazing pets who love to cuddle with you. They are highly playful who gel with children as well, which makes them excellent family pets. Taking good care of their health plays a huge role in their overall well being and development. In order to keep them healthy and fit, we shall look at some excellent preventive measures of a number of common cat diseases.
Upper Respiratory Infections (URIs)
Upper Respiratory Infections are common viral infections happening in cats where they experience symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, fever, reddening of eyes and a decreased appetite. It can be a bit more serious than a common cold, and it is, therefore, important to take them to the vet at the earliest. URIs are highly contagious and can be transmitted to cats through human handling, sharing food and water bowls with infected cats and also while living in overcrowded conditions.
How To Prevent Upper Respiratory Infections In Your Cat?
- Keep your pet cat indoors to reduce the risk of exposure to infected animals.
- Minimize stress in your cat.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after handling other cats.
- Keep your pet cat up to date on vaccines as recommended by the vets.
Rabies is a lethal viral disease that causes inflammation in the brain in mammals including humans. Rabies in cats is caused by the transmission of saliva of an infected animal through a bite. The risk of contraction of the Rabies goes high when your cat is exposed to wild animals. The general symptoms of Rabies in cats are aggression, restlessness, loss of appetite, disorientation, seizures, and paralysis. In the case of Rabies, prevention is any day better than the cure.
How To Prevent Rabies In Cats?
- Keep your cat’s Rabies vaccination up to date. Kittens should get their first Rabies vaccination at around 12 weeks of age. They should be again vaccinated in one year, and then a three-year
- vaccine is administered during the rest of their lives.
- If your cat receives a suspected bite wound from an unknown animal, even if no wounds are evident, consult your veterinarian immediately.
- Feed your cat indoors or at a place away from the reach of outside animals. Feeding your cats outside attracts stray dogs, thus increasing the chances of bites.
Feline Panleukopenia, commonly known as Feline Distemper is a highly contagious and fatal disease occurring in cats, caused by a virus called feline parvovirus. The general symptoms of Feline Panleukopenia are vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, weight loss, rough hair coat, depression, complete loss of interest in food and hiding. It is spread from the infected cat’s saliva, urine, blood, nasal discharge or feces. Kittens are seriously affected by the disease. This virus does not infect people. However, you can spread the disease to your cat by handling infected cats or touching the food, water bowls and other materials used by them.
How To Prevent Feline Panleukopenia In Cats?
- Get your pet cat vaccinated.
- Prevent animals from visiting your yard.
- Keep good hygiene in cats.
- Bowls, blankets, toys, towels, and litterboxes of the cat must be cleaned with bleach regularly.
- Watch out for Vomiting and Diarrhea in cats; they are the common symptoms of this disease so that you can treat it immediately.
Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV)
Feline Leukaemia Virus is a lethal infectious virus that affects the immune system of the cats and can be a cause for several forms of cancer and other related diseases in them. There is no link between feline leukemia and human forms of leukemia. The symptoms of FeLV are quite varied and include loss of appetite, dull coat, infections of the skin, bladder and respiratory tract. Seizures, oral disease, fatigue, fever, weight loss, and jaundice. FeLV is transmitted from the infected cat’s saliva, blood and to some extent blood and feces. Kittens can be born with FeLV, having contracted it from their mother while in utero.
How To Prevent Feline Leukaemia Virus In Your Cat?
- Prevent your pet cat from being exposed to stray and wild cats.
- Kittens above 8 weeks old and new cats should be tested for FeLV before being introduced into a multi-cat household.
- Get your pet cat tested for FeLV annually.
- Do not allow cats to share food bowls, water bowls or litter boxes.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is a type of virus that attacks the immune system of the cats. Felines infected with FIV may appear normal for years until a gradual decline in immunity happens. Once the disease takes complete hold, even the smallest of infections prove dangerous. The symptoms of FIV include fever, persistent diarrhea, weight loss, poor appetite, inflammation of the mouth, discharge from eyes or nose and behavior change. The transmission of FIV is mainly through deep bite wounds, the kind that occurs outdoors during aggressive fights between the cats. Free-roaming male cats who indulge in fights are the most vulnerable to FIV. Cats who live indoors have the least chance of getting infected. FIV does not affect humans.
How to Prevent Feline Immunodeficiency Virus?
- The best way to protect your cats from Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is by preventing its exposure to outside cats.
- Make sure all the cats your pet plays with are tested negative for FIV.
- Keep your cat on the leash while having a walk outside.
Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)
Feline Infectious Peritonitis is a fatal viral disease that occurs worldwide in domestic and wild cats. It is caused by a type of virus called Coronavirus tends to attack the cells of the intestinal walls. The transmission of FIP occurs when a healthy cat comes in direct physical contact with an infected animal or with their feces and saliva. The manifestation of Feline Infectious Peritonitis happens in two forms, “wet” form and “dry” form. The signs of both these forms include fever, weight loss, and lethargy. The wet form of FIP is characterized by the accumulation of fluid within the abdomen or chest, which can cause breathing difficulty and a lack of appetite. In dry form, small accumulation of inflammatory cells forms in the affected organ. Dry FIP presents itself with fever, jaundice, weight loss, and diarrhea.
How To Prevent Feline Infectious Peritonitis In Cats?
- The best way to keep FIP at bay is by keeping your pet cat indoors.
- Wash the feeding and water bowls of the cat with soaps and disinfectants as they readily neutralize the FIP virus.
- Scoop the litter box of your pet cat daily.
- Limit the number of new cats being introduced into your household.
Now Let Us Look At Some General Tips To Maintain Superb Health In Your Cats.
1. Have A Regular Vet Check Up
Yearly check-up of your pet cat helps to get rid off unwanted diseases. As cats age much faster than us, missing their annual veterinary appointment could mean not having a checkup for 5 years! Also giving them proper vaccinations help in preventing common cat diseases like Rabies, Feline Panleukopenia, etc. Veterinarians also check for fleas, ticks, and worms on the cat’s coat for keeping good skin hygiene. Moreover, they will notice behavioral changes in your pet cats, if any, for averting a potential illness.
2. Feed Your Pet Cat Quality Foods
A healthy and nutritious diet for your pet cats supports their overall growth and development. Buy quality cat food for offering them balanced nutrition. A balanced diet having an adequate proportion of protein, fats, fibre, and anti-oxidants keeps the cat in good shape and immune to infections. Protein is necessary for cats as they build good muscle mass and strength. Foods having Omega fatty acids are also recommended for keeping their skin and coat healthy and radiant. Also giving a moderate amount of healthy fruits and veggies for cats as snacks act as an excellent supplement for meats and fishes.
3. Give Treats To The Cat Wisely
Occasional healthy treats are beneficial to pet cats. However, the treats should not make more than 10% of their daily diet. Excessive feeding of treats makes your cat consume more calories than they can actually burn which leads to obesity. Also cutting down on the treats altogether can deprive them of the essential vitamins and minerals they need. So it becomes important to feed treats to the cat judiciously.
4. Play Fun Games With Your Cat
A healthy amount of daily physical exercise in cats not only burns extra calories but also stimulates the brain, boosting their learning skills. Throw them some cat toys so that they remain thoroughly engaged helping them to eliminate undesired habits. The fun games can benefit kittens as it improves coordination and promotes physical growth.
5. Provide a Stress-Free Environment To Your Pet Cat
Just like us humans, stress in cats can manifest physically in their bodies resulting in various illnesses. It is therefore important to give them a relaxed and easy going environment. Offering them elevated perches helps in keeping them cozy and comfortable as they can perceive their surroundings freely for detecting suspicious things. Provide your cat with a scratching area, as they use scratching as a technique to mark their territory. The scratching outlet also gets rid of their stress.
Author Bio: An avid pet lover, Suresh is a proud dog parent to two truly beautiful puppies. He takes deep interest in matters pertaining to pet behavior and advocates dog welfare through his writings in his free time.