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Cat Health: Everything You Need to Know (GUIDE 202) - askmeprice

Cat Health: Everything You Need to Know (GUIDE 202) - Taking care of your cat also means ensuring your health, in good times and bad. To do this, each owner must know the right gestures, but also the different diseases that can affect a feline. What are the signs and symptoms of a sick cat? How to properly care for your cat throughout your life? Explanations.

How to have a healthy cat: everything you need to know

It is your duty as a master to take care of your cat, whether he is a small kitten who has everything to discover or a senior cat in the twilight of his life. Do not neglect anything: food, living conditions, maintenance... All these elements weigh in the balance to keep his cat healthy.


How to properly feed your cat

Feeding your cat well is essential. Indeed, food has a direct role in health. The higher the quality of your feline's diet, the better it will be. It is therefore very important to choose a food perfectly adapted to the nutritional needs of your cat, whether it is cat food, pasta, or homemade food such as BARF or household ration. One of the keys to feline nutrition is to evolve the content of the bowl at the same pace as the cat. Kitten kibble is very different from senior cat kibble.  At each age his diet! Poor quality feeding is sometimes the cause of gastritis.

The maintenance of a cat: hair, teeth, ears, eyes

Take care of your cat daily. Brushing is important, whether your chait has long hair or not. It makes it possible to rid the animal of its dead hair, but also to be able to inspect its skin more closely and spot parasites more easily. As such, regularly administer antiparasitics to your four-legged companion to fight against ticks and fleas, real scourges that are sometimes difficult to get rid of. Supplement this treatment with a dewormer against intestinal worms (such as tapeworm, for example).  Regularly clean your cat's ears, as well as her eyes, without forgetting to brush her teeth to maintain good dental hygiene and fight against tartar.

Sterilization of the cat

Unless you are a breeder, having your pet make a litter is of little interest. It is, therefore, preferable to have your cat sterilized or castrated to better protect it against diseases of the reproductive system, to avoid unwanted litter, and to protect yourself against behaviors related to sexual maturity in cats, especially heat in cats. . Sterilization is almost safe for animals (except for the risks associated with the operation, as well as the minimal risk of urinary stones in cats) and offers only benefits.

Offer good living conditions to your cat

Also, do not neglect the mental well-being of your pet. Stress and anxiety have disastrous consequences for physical health, especially since cats are very sensitive to them.  A drooling cat, for example, is a potentially stressed and anxious cat. Make sure you offer optimal living conditions to your feline. If you adopt a fairly sporty breed, such as the Savannah or Maine Coon, place many cat trees in your home and buy toys to keep it occupied. Spend time with your cat to prevent him from getting bored. If your cat is stressed, you can also try natural remedies, such as valerian or catnip toys, or pheromone diffusers.

How do I know if my cat is healthy?

There are some signs that your cat is healthy and happy.

  • He eats well and his weight is stable.
  • He does his business normally and has no problem having a bowel movement.
  • Its coat is beautiful and silky.
  • He has habitual behavior. Any sudden change in attitude should worry you. 
  • His eyes and ears are clean.
  • He does his toilet properly and normally.

Finally, be aware that the life expectancy of cats is variable and depends on several criteria (indoor cat or not, breed cat or not, weight, size, etc.). Gutter cats, without pedigree, are known to live longer than purebred cats.

Most common diseases in cats

What are the most common diseases in cats?  Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of the most serious pathologies to act as quickly as possible. Also think about the possibility of taking out insurance or a mutual for cats to better protect your four-legged companion, both against diseases and also against accidents.

  • Coryza

 Coryza is a disease that is originally complex, involving several viruses and bacteria. It causes respiratory disorders associated with a loss of appetite. It can also cause uveitis in animals. It is a highly contagious disease that is transmitted through direct contact between infected cats or through indirect contact with a contaminated object. Treatment of coryza, especially when it becomes chronic, is tedious. The best protection against coryza is undoubtedly vaccination.

  • Typhus

Also called feline panleukopenia, cat typhus is a serious disease, caused by parvovirus. Some forms of typhus are particularly dangerous and can lead to the death of the animal within a few hours. Symptoms are diverse (nausea, vomiting, tremors, fever, fatigue, etc.). Treatment should be initiated as soon as possible. To protect your cat from typhus, get him vaccinated.

  • Enzootic

 Leukosis is a disease caused by a virus called feline leukemia virus, or FeLV. This pathology is quite close to AIDS in humans leading to immunodeficiency. The animal is then very sensitive to opportunistic infections that can weaken or even kill it. Leukosis is transmitted through contact with bodily fluids. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the disease. The most effective protection remains the vaccine.

  • Nose

Feline infectious peritonitis, more simply called FIP, is a disease caused by a coronavirus, which exists in two forms: dry and wet. It mainly affects young cats and older cats, and its warning signs are quite uncharacteristic (fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, etc.). Unfortunately, the prognosis is often very poor, and in the majority of cases, the cat does not survive. There is no treatment and no vaccine.

  • IVF

Just like leukosis, IVF, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome of cats, leads to immunodeficiency in animals. It is a serious pathology, which exists in several phases. Some cats remain carriers of the disease for a very long time without declaring it. There is no vaccine for IVF or treatment to eliminate it. Opportunistic diseases will need to be treated.

  • Calicivirosis

Calicivirosis is a viral disease caused by a virus called calicivirus. This virus is notably an agent of coryza. The symptoms and signs of caliciviruses are quite varied since they depend on the strain of the virus. Unfortunately, there is no effective antiviral treatment for the disease. This treatment also depends on the symptoms observed. In general, the veterinarian sets up antibiotic therapy. Vaccination is the best protection.

  • Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is a relatively common disease in France and in most cases not serious for the animal. However, it should not be neglected, especially in cats weakened by disease. Parasites are at the origin of the pathology. The symptoms are fever, fatigue, or diarrhea, but often the cat remains asymptomatic. There is no vaccine against the disease.

  • Lyme disease

Lyme disease, also called borreliosis, is a tick-borne disease.  It remains very rare in cats, but not impossible. It causes fatigue, high fever, and loss of appetite. There is the appearance of pain and stiffening of the limbs. Diagnosis of the disease is quite difficult, and thorough examinations are necessary. If your cat does have Lyme disease, the veterinarian will prescribe an antibiotic.

  • Feline chlamydia

Feline chlamydia is an infectious disease that causes eye and respiratory disorders. It is caused by bacteria. The symptoms resemble those of coryza, which makes diagnosis sometimes difficult. In case of infection, the cat is treated with antibiotics internally and applied locally to the eyes. It is a long and tedious treatment. The vaccine exists, and while it's not 100% effective, it's your best weapon.

  • Kidney problems

Some cat breeds are more likely than others to suffer from kidney problems, including kidney failure, but no animal is immune. Once the kidneys are damaged, they do not work as well as before, which leads to disorders in the animal. If the disease is irreversible, treatments exist to relieve the cat and allow it to lead a completely normal life.

  • Cystitis

 Cystitis is a relatively common disease in cats. All breeds can be concerned, as well as cats of all ages. The symptoms of cystitis are diverse, and it is important to know how to recognize them to prevent the disease from settling and degrading the quality of life of the animal.

  • Otitis

Otitis is an ear disease that can be especially painful for cats. The causes of otitis are diverse (parasites, infections, etc.), and only a veterinary visit can help to make the diagnosis. Treatment of otitis depends above all on its severity.

  • Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism in cats is characterized by an abnormal increase in the production of thyroid hormones. This increase can have various origins. It is important to understand why your cat suffers from hyperthyroidism to better treat it.


What are the signs and symptoms of a sick cat?

Behavioral disorders

Cats are animals of habit. It is therefore very worrying to see his pet change his attitude for no reason. He may be hiding a serious illness or facing great stress (loss of a companion, arrival of a new person in the family, separation from his masters). If you notice that your cat is not as before, that it isolates itself, is nervous or aggressive, quickly consult a veterinarian.

Appetite disorders

A disruption in appetite is never a good sign. Sometimes the problem is relatively benign, but in other cases, it hides a much more serious pathology that requires a quick response.

  • Your cat eats too much and/or too fast: you notice that your cat suddenly starts eating too much or too fast. If your cat eats more than reason, it may be that his food is not adapted to his needs. It is not rich enough or of poor quality. So he needs to eat a lot to feel full. It is also possible that his food is too palatable! In this case, your cat eats for pleasure. If your cat eats too fast, it may be prone to stress. He may also be competing with another cat or dog, and he feels compelled to eat fast for fear of not having his ration.
  • Your cat does not eat enough: if your cat eats less, or worse, stops eating, do not hang out and quickly make an appointment with the veterinarian. Loss of appetite is sometimes the harbinger of a serious illness. It is also possible that his food does not please him. Some cats are picky.

Physical signs

Some signs detectable with the naked eye will help you notice problems better. Be very attentive and get to know your cat to act as quickly as possible if necessary. Is your cat coughing more than usual? Your cat sneezes very often for a reason you don't understand? These behaviors should put a chip in your ear. Constipation is another problem not to be taken lightly: a constipated cat could, for example, hide an intestinal obstruction. 

Here are also some signs that should catch your attention:

  • Hair loss,
  • Depilation
  • Discharge from the eyes and nose,
  • Loss of appetite,
  • The appearance of an unknown mass on the body, which may suggest the appearance of fibrosarcoma,
  • Skin diseases, such as ringworm, cat acne, alone or ear scabies,
  • Tremors
  • Presence of a cyst,
  • Vomiting,
  • Isolation
  • Ataxia, or loss of balance,
  • Dandruff,
  • Itching
  • Eczema,
  • Agitation
  • Fatigue
  • Skinny cat,
  • Abscess,
  • Bad breath,
  • The appearance of a mass or tumor,
  • Eye ulcer,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Aggressiveness.

In any case, make a quick appointment with a veterinarian. Only he can help you find the causes of the problem.


Medical care for cats

Cats, like humans, sometimes need to receive treatment or be examined by a veterinarian. Here's what you need to know.

Medical examinations

Pets have access to the same tests as humans: X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, biopsies, blood tests, etc. These examinations are prescribed only by the order of a veterinarian and can be involved in the diagnosis of a disease or as part of a treatment. It is essential to always follow the specialist's instructions before an operation, even the most benign: you could put the health of your cat at stake.

Medications

Veterinary medicine has made tremendous strides in recent decades, and there are now many drugs to cure once-incurable diseases. It is also possible to treat small everyday problems thanks to commonly used supplements (vitamins for cats, probiotics, etc.). One of the essential rules to remember is to never practice self-medication on your cat. Also, don't give him any medication you found in your medicine cabinet. Be careful with natural remedies, such as essential oils, or recipes that you can find on the Internet, and always seek advice from a veterinarian.

Vaccines

In France, there is no mandatory vaccine for cats. Veterinarians, however, strongly recommend getting your pet vaccinated. Here are the vaccines recommended by specialists:

  • Typhus,
  • The coryza,
  • Leucosis,
  • Chlamydia,
  • Rage if you plan to travel out of France. Some establishments in France (hotels, campsites, etc.) also require a rabies vaccine to let you stay with your cat.

The vaccination booster allows you not only to protect your hairball but also to have it examined by a veterinarian.

Finally, be aware that some cat diseases are zoonoses: this means that they are transmissible to humans. This is for example the case of a cat's scratch disease, toxoplasmosis, or scabies.

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