December 3, 2015 | Erin | 7 Comments While cats tend to be independent, they rely on us to keep them in the best of health. Besides regular vet check-ups and keeping up-to-date on vaccines, it is important to be aware of common aliments that can effect our cats . A little knowledge can go a long way in alerting you to conditions that may need treatment. Safe for your pet includes keeping your cat in the best of health since unfortunately, they really do not have nine lives. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease – Or FLUTD, covers different conditions that can affect a cat’s urethra and bladder. Symptoms include straining without urinating, going outside of the litter box, blood in the urine or excessive licking in the genital area. Any of these symptoms warrant that your cat be seen by their veterinarian right away. The issue may be infection, bladder stones, a blockage or cancer. Infections – Most common is a respiratory infection and some can be prevented with vaccinations. Symptoms include runny nose, cough, fever or teary eyes. Many infections are viral so there are no medications, but it is important that the vet determines this. Feline panleukopenia is a highly contagious viral infection whose symptoms include fever, bloody diarrhea, lethargy and dehydration. Vaccination is critical in prevention of this infection. Cancer – Lymphosarcoma, cancer of the lymph system, is the most common cancer found in cats followed by squamous cell carcinoma which is found most often in white cats. Symptoms include lumps, swelling, weight loss, skin lesions, vomiting and difficulty breathing. Treatments options include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy and will depend on the type and stage of cancer. Heartworm – Some cats may show no symptoms while other cats may vomit and have respiratory issues. There is no effective and safe treatment and it can be fatal. Many cats though are able to fight it on their own. Preventative heartworm medication is key. Dental Disease – Symptoms include bad breath, loose teeth, drooling, red or swollen gums. Similar to dogs, a cat’s teeth should be brushed and she should be offered a chew toy to remove tartar and exercise her gums. Fractures – Signs that your cat may have a fracture would be limping or not moving. Prompt treatment is important to survival. Vomiting and Diarrhea – typically this is associated with something a cat has eaten, but it can also be a sign of illness. Persistent vomiting or diarrhea lasting longer that 24 hours requires immediate medical care, especially if the stools are black or bloody. Treatment generally includes fluids followed by a bland diet. Obesity – This common problem can cause diabetes and liver problems. Your cat requires less calories after spaying or neutering and more exercise. A decrease in treats can go a long way in controlling obesity. Kidney Disease – Toxins can build up in a cat’s bloodstream when the kidneys reduce their ability to remove waste in the urine. Caused by infection, kidney stones, cancer or high blood pressure or older age. Symptoms include decreased appetite, vomiting and diarrhea, or no symptoms at all. Determining the cause is key to treatment Fleas – a flea is a parasite that feeds on blood and symptoms include excessive scratching and licking and hair loss. Treatment involves killing the fleas and stopping eggs from developing.