Most common cat illnesses

Posted by Maggie the Moggie. May 31st 2017.

We don’t like to think about it, but our furry feline friends can sometimes fall ill and require medical treatment, just like we do. Whether a hereditary condition or an unexpected illness, some ailments can strike at any time. Here are some of the most common cat illnesses and how to spot the symptoms:

Kidney Disease

It is not uncommon for cats to suffer abnormal or even lose kidney function, particularly following infections, tumours or blockages. Older cats may suffer from Chronic Renal Failure where the kidneys deteriorate over time. However, if given the correct treatment through medication, diet and an appropriate care plan, many cats with this condition can lead relatively normal and happy lives. Some of the signs you can look out for include loss of appetite, increased thirst, frequent or lack of urination and poor coat appearance. In more serious cases, cats need intensive hospital treatment; so if you see any of the above signs, do not hesitate to contact your vet.


Just like in humans, cats too can have issues regulating blood sugar levels. Diabetes is, however, a relatively manageable condition. With the correct diet and medication, your cat will be able to live a reasonably normal life. There are ways in which you can minimise the risk of your cat developing diabetes. Make sure your cat gets regular exercise and a proper diet, which will prevent obesity, a common cause of diabetes. Common signs your cat has diabetes include dramatic changes in appetite, weight loss, lethargy and excessive thirst.

With these symptoms being similar to those of kidney disease, be sure to always consult your vet for an accurate diagnosis.

Dental Disease

Feline dental disease affects many cats, but you can minimise the issue if you keep an eye on their teeth. Allowing plaque to build up can cause issues like bad breath, gum disease, inflammation, redness and gingivitis, all of which can cause pain and damage teeth and gums. Preventative measures like brushing your cat’s teeth and giving them dry cat food (the scratchy texture can help keep plaque at bay) are very effective. While this condition is fairly common, the warning signs are almost undetectable, so it is best to keep on top of your cat’s dental care from day one.

Eye Problems

A cat’s eye health can deteriorate very easily. This can be caused by conditions such as conjunctivitis, cataracts, viruses and inflammation. These can be caused by traumas, infections, or be linked to problems elsewhere in the body. If you notice redness of the eyes or surrounding area, discharge, constant tearing, swelling, squinting or discharge in or around the eyes, you should contact your vet straight away. Treatment can include medication such as eye drops and eye baths. You can also wipe away gunk from your cat’s eyes. Gently use a damp cotton wool ball to prevent them becoming sticky, but always consult your vet first.

Most cats will lead perfectly healthy and happy lifestyles, but you should always ensure you have appropriate cat insurance to protect them if they should fall ill. Visit the Argos Pet Insurance main website for details of our cat insurance policies:

Back to blog