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Is My Cat Sick? Common Signs & Symptoms

Is My Cat Sick? Common Signs & Symptoms

There are a concerning number of illnesses that can affect cats or even be fatal if left untreated. Our Alpharetta vets want to share some insight into common cat illnesses and the symptoms to be aware of.

What are some common cat illnesses?

As a cat owner, here are some common cat illnesses you need to know about. Be prepared to visit your veterinarian if necessary, especially since cats tend to instinctively isolate when sick. Here are 3 common cat illnesses and their symptoms.  

Upper Respiratory Infections

Your cat's throat, nose, and sinuses make up their upper respiratory tract and can become infected with viruses and bacteria. Often passed around in multi-cat households and shelters, cats may contract feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus through something as basic as sharing a food or water bowl. 

They can transmit this virus to other cats the same way, or by sneezing or coughing. It can also be passed during grooming. 

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Gagging, drooling
  • Runny nose or clear/colored nasal discharge
  • Congestion
  • Decreased or lost appetite


If your cat can't produce an adequate amount of insulin to balance it's blood sugar, they will develop diabetes mellitus. When left untreated, it may lead to several serious symptoms, such as:

  • Thirst
  • Dehydration
  • Increased urination
  • Vomiting
  • Increased appetite (as the body cannot use the energy in food) or loss of appetite
  • Motor function problems
  • Coma
  • Death

Poorly managed diabetes decreases the lifespan of your cat, and also leads to a great deal of other health problems such as nerve disorders. It may also result in severe emergency situations. Treatment can include insulin injections and will be focused on managing this condition. 


Uncontrolled growth of cells can cause cancer, which can affect a wide range of organs and cells in a cat's body. The disease first starts to develop within a cell, before it attaches to tissue below the skin and potentially spreading to other areas. 

A common contributor to cancer is Feline Leukemia Virus, which cats can be diagnosed against. Other causes include environmental toxins. If caught early during a physical exam, your vet may be able to treat cancer. 

Symptoms include:

  • Lumps or bumps that change in size or shape
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Chronic weight loss
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating
  • Marked increase or decrease in appetite
  • Odor from the mouth
  • Unexplained bleeding or discharge

Depending on whether the tumor is caught and diagnosed early enough, the type of cancer and its extent, specific location within the body, etc., whether an effective treatment plan can be developed, and other factors, a number of treatments such as radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy may be attempted. 

What should I do if my cat is ill?

If your cat is sick and exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, it's critical to bring them to the vet as soon as possible. At Loving Hands Animal Clinic & Pet Resort, we have an in-house laboratory, onsite pharmacy, and emergency services to provide your pet the care they need.

If your kitty isn't feeling well, contact our Alpharetta vets today. We will help get them back to playing and enjoying life as quickly as possible.

Welcoming New Patients

Loving Hands Animal Clinic & Pet Resort is always accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Alpharetta companion animals. Get in touch today to book an appointment.

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