HomeCat HealthTop Ten Worst Cat Illnesses (diseases)


Top Ten Worst Cat Illnesses (diseases) — 35 Comments

  1. There was a time many years ago, that I was a dog person. (Believe it or not :))
    Until….I met Sandy, a Mama Cat who was FELV Positive, she had 5 kittens who were also positive.
    My mom and I decided to take Sandy in despite her illness and when the kittens were born we kept them all to live out their short lives. Trying to find homes for cats who are FELV Positive is a challenge even when they are kittens. Shelters automatically put them down. This was back before all the amazing rescue groups we have now, or at least before we had access via the internet to find these groups.
    So we kept them all. Looking at them as babies you would never know that they had a disease, they looked and acted normal which is why its a scary disease because though asymptomatic it can be spread to other cats.
    There was no way that we could give them up, it didn’t feel fair to euthanize a cat that wasn’t having any symptoms. So we opened our homes and our hearts knowing full well how it would end. Most of the time in rescue this is just the way that it is because it’s about them, not us.
    All of the kittens survived their first birthday but we lost each of before 15 months. Mama cat ended up being adopted by a neighbor who fell in love with her, Mama was a carrier and lived for many years after being adopted.
    To this day, I still have the kittens collars and their tags. Before we lost them we decided to make a mold of their paws and I still have those as well.
    Looking back, even though it broke my heart to lose each of them, I would do it again in a minute. I learned so much about life from those cats and how important it is to live while we are still alive. They were different than cats who do not have the disease. They seem more loving, more adventurous and they don’t sleep as much. It’s not been scientifically proven but after those kittens I went on to do FELV positive rescues only for many years and noticed the same thing every time with the rescues I brought in, there was a definite difference in how they lived.
    To say the least, they were an inspiration to me and the reason that I continue to be a advocate for all cats today.

  2. Excellent article, Michael!

    I would like to add two to the list. 1. Feline Pancreatitis- Nasty illness- when caught early it can be treated but once cats get this condition they are at risk of getting it again.

    2. While this is fairly rare- some saying that it occurs 1 in 50,000 cases, some think it is more like 5 in 50,000 cases, but the three year adjuvented rabies vaccination can lead to feline fibrosarcoma which is almost impossible to treat. Some vets are now injecting cats in the tail since it is far less disabling and disfiguring than amputating the left leg.

    The one-year Purevax is not adjuvented (a substance used to enhance the effectiveness of the vaccine) therefore is a lot safer than the 3 year vaccines. So far there is no three year rabies vaccine that is not adjuvented.

    I lost a cat to fibrosarcoma. It took two years after the vaccination for the tumors to appear. Back then (before the new vaccine protocol came out) they were vaccinating EVERYTHING in the scruff of the neck. Awful!

  3. Hi Michael

    Great informative article 🙂

    I think you should have included the Calichi virus because in most cases the only thing that will make the cat more comfortable will be to take out all the cheek teeth. Undiagnosed and/or untreated it is painful and mouths become infected and ulcerated. Cats stop eating and become very unwell of course if they aren’t treated they may stop eating altogether and of course this would be fatal.

      • Michael that’s what almost killed Jubi. Very high fever, too weak to even sit up to eat for 3 days. Laura syringe fed her the A/D food and KMR milk and she survived. Its bad at the shelter we rescued from. Another foster told us how she’d get worse before she got better.

        • I have a network of friends who help. Plus Laura catches things fast. Jubi quit eating that Sunday and Laura forced the KMR using a syringe. Monday morning she woke me to take Jubi to the vet because she was too weak to walk. Vet gave her fluids and lots of meds. Tuesday she couldn’t stand so Laura kept up syringe feedings and holding her up in the litter box. That Wednesday night she started doing better.

            • I can thank Ash Truesdale for telling me if would get worse before getting better. She’s the shelter kitten expert. Jubi came within 2 hours of us having to give her sub-q fluids but she finally started eating enough. We always have a bag of them and the feeding foods. Laura will stay us all night and make a sick cat eat or drink a bit every few hours. Jubi had a 106.6 temp and had to have a lot of liquids syringed into her.

  4. When you look at this list of illnesses and think of all the hazards there are in life for cats, you wonder how so many survive to grow old.
    To me it shows how very resilient cats are.

    • Yes, cats are resilient but we have to remember the feral cats who we are told often live short lives and many of them will die of the diseases mentioned on this page and they will even die of a disease that can be treated quite easily. That said I do not believe that the lifespan of a feral cat is quite as short as people make it out to be.

      • Renny was a feral and the lady who caught him had him vaccinated then waited a week to turn him into the shelter. That likely saved him because we pulled him the same day as the whineybutts and the Pie kitties and Midnight was the only one to survive panleuk.

        • ThisA nice little snippet of information about the lady who caught this feral cat and then waited a week before turning him into a shelter after vaccinating him. There are some bloody nasty diseases out there awaiting the cat.

          • Remember the vaccinate on intake article I did? It suggested a program where people wanting to surrender their pet to bring it to the shelter for core vaccines then take the animal home for 2 weeks then bring it back. It could save thousands of shelter pets.

            Renny ended up at a rescue after he was caught and was so wild the rescue owner decided to turn him over. I spotted him and had to get permission from the director since he wasn’t adoption material. He lives in my bedroom. Only Lucky, Jubi and Oozy can play with him. He beats up anyone else. Jubi is in love with him and spends around 4 hours a day in my room. She’ll meow til we let her in then meow when ready to come out.

  5. Awe look at Pinky. That was made the day after we rescued him from the shelter. He was adopted after his eyes cleared up. Had to use oral antibiotics and antibiotic eyedrops. This wasn’t an infection to treat without a vet.

    • thats horrible the poor wee baby. Thats why its great to vaccinate im going to do that soon with Jasmin. Althou she looks in good health dont want to risk it.

    • I remember this one well, which is why I chose the picture. It is a shocking picture but I am sure it is very very common amongst unwanted cats.

        • Sigh… I do not know why but I feel a bit sad when I look at this gentle picture. Perhaps it is because of all the work you did to bring Pinky back to good health only then to say goodbye. It is just a reminder to me how time goes by.

      • yea really sad pooor baby. Ive seeen a bad case of a friend who no longer a friend her cats had a terrible case of cat flue it was horrible to witness. The cats got the attention they needed. It just makes u so aware esp in kittens to do the right thing.

  6. I used to always tell people that, if I thought ahead about what could inflict a child, I would have never had any.
    But, I don’t feel the same way today about kids or cats.
    It’s just the luck of the draw.
    I’ve had some cats inflicted with these conditions, ie. FIV, FIP, FeLV.
    The worse, by far, is FeLV. A litter of kits dropped here suffered from this. When I held them, they oozed blood from their skin, all over. It was a nightmare to take the whole litter of 5 in to be checked and euthanized.
    Just another one of those things that stay burned in my memory.

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