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Common Cat Illnesses & Emergencies

  • View Larger Image cat licking paws

When it comes to cats, it’s not always easy to figure out what’s wrong. Sometimes symptoms are obvious, like vomiting or a bleeding wound. Other times, simple changes in behavior, like hiding or seeking more attention, may be the only indication that your pet is in pain. Let’s learn more about what might be troubling your cat.

Vomiting & Diarrhea

One of the most common ailments in cats is vomiting and diarrhea, which can occur sporadically, with no apparent cause, and clear up quickly on its own. Your veterinarian may recommend withholding food – but offer plenty of water – for 24 hours to allow their system to recover. If the vomiting and/or diarrhea are excessive or last more than a day or two, seek veterinary care to rule out any serious underlying issues.

Common Cat Emergencies

Additionally, some of the most common veterinary emergencies cats develop are:

  • Congestive Heart Failure (CHF): Often a result of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats, a condition where the heart muscle thickens. Symptoms include rapid breathing, lethargy, and coughing.
  • Hypertension: High blood pressure, often a result of thyroid, heart, or kidney disease. Symptoms often don’t show until the condition is serious, and may include sudden blindness, increased drinking and urination, or blood in urine or nose.
  • Pleural Effusion: A condition in which fluid accumulates in a cat’s chest cavity, causing difficulty breathing. Affected cats may pant or be reluctant to eat.
  • Pyrethrin Toxicity: Pyrethrin, a chemical most often found in topical dog flea and tick preventives, is extremely toxic to cats. Symptoms include seizures, drunken behavior, vomiting, and excessive drooling.
  • Saddle Thrombus: A dangerous blood clot that can lead to sudden hind-limb paralysis.
  • Urethral Obstruction: Particularly in male cats, blockages can occur in the narrow urethra. Affected cats may cry while in the litter box, strain to urinate, or lick their genitals excessively.

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms often seem vague or generalized, meaning they could indicate any number of things are wrong with your pet. If you notice any of these additional signs, call your veterinarian:

  • Accidents outside the litter box
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Excessive vomiting – more than 2-3 times a day – or diarrhea
  • Frequent urination, often combined with frequent drinking
  • Lack of grooming, indicating your pet is in too much pain to clean himself
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale, gray, blue, or bright red gums
  • Seizures or tremors
  • Straining or inability to urinate
  • Swelling of the face or muzzle
  • Trouble breathing
  • Weakness, stumbling, or inability to stand

If your cat seems unwell, please contact our team immediately. Our Union location is open seven days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 am – 11 pm, to provide emergency veterinary care for pets in need.

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