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Diseases in Cats - Tailwaggingjoy’s insights for preventing Cat diseases and better cat care

Updated: Apr 27

When exploring the joys of cat ownership, one common concern that arises is the possibility of cats transmitting disease to humans and other household members. This is a topic frequently researched and discussed as cat owners strive to balance the love and companionship of their feline friends with the responsibility of ensuring everyone's health and well-being, while preventing their cat from diseases.


Cute healthy kittens
No feeding disruption is a sign of health

Building awareness of most often transmitted diseases should equip you and your family members to ensure cat care and preventing them to carry diseases. The most common diseases that cats can potentially transmit to humans and other household members include:

1.        Toxoplasmosis: Caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, toxoplasmosis can be transmitted through contact with cat faeces, contaminated soil, or undercooked meat. Pregnant women and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk. There is no commercially available vaccine.

Preventing toxoplasmosis in cats primarily involves minimising their exposure to the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. This includes feeding cats commercially prepared diets, preventing them from hunting or consuming raw meat, and keeping them indoors to reduce contact with potentially contaminated environments.


2.        Cat Scratch Disease (CSD): CSD is caused by the bacterium Bartonella henselae and is transmitted through scratches or bites from infected cats. Symptoms may include fever, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue. There is no commercially available vaccine.


Preventive measures to reduce the risk of CSD include:

a)        Regular veterinary care: Ensure that your cat receives routine veterinary check-ups and appropriate parasite control to minimise the risk of infection with Bartonella henselae.

b)        Flea control: Since fleas are a common vector for Bartonella henselae, implementing effective flea control measures for your cat can help reduce the risk of infection.

c)        Preventing scratches and bites: Avoid rough play with cats and discourage behaviors that may lead to scratches or bites. Additionally, trim your cat's nails regularly to minimize the risk of injury.

d)        Good hygiene practices: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling cats, especially if you have been scratched or bitten. Promptly clean any wounds with soap and water to reduce the risk of infection.

e)        Education and awareness: Educate yourself and your family members about the risks of CSD and the importance of preventive measures, particularly for individuals with weakened immune systems or other health concerns.


Cute kitten
Kittens might be most vulnerable to diseases

3.        Ringworm: Despite its name, ringworm is a fungal infection rather than a worm. It can be transmitted from infected cats to humans through direct contact with the skin, fur, or bedding of an infected animal.


Currently, there is no commercially available vaccine specifically designed to prevent ringworm in cats. Ringworm, despite its name, is not caused by a worm but rather by fungal organisms known as dermatophytes. The most common dermatophyte that affects cats is Microsporum canis. Preventing ringworm in cats primarily involves minimising their exposure to fungal spores and practicing good hygiene. Some preventive measures include:

a)        Regular grooming: Regular grooming helps keep your cat's fur clean and reduces the likelihood of fungal spores becoming trapped in their coat.

b)        Environmental cleanliness: Keep your cat's living environment clean and well-maintained, including regularly cleaning bedding, litter boxes, and other areas where fungal spores may accumulate.

c)        Isolation of infected cats: If one of your cats is diagnosed with ringworm, consider isolating them from other pets to prevent the spread of infection.

d)        Consultation with a veterinarian: If you suspect your cat has ringworm or if they have been in contact with an infected animal, consult with your veterinarian for guidance on diagnosis, treatment, and preventive measures.

 

4.        Salmonellosis: Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection caused by Salmonella species. Cats can carry and shed Salmonella bacteria in their feces, potentially contaminating the household environment and causing illness in humans through ingestion or contact.


There is currently no commercially available vaccine specifically designed to prevent Salmonellosis in cats. Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection caused by various strains of Salmonella bacteria, which can affect both humans and animals. Preventing Salmonellosis in cats primarily involves minimizing their exposure to Salmonella bacteria and practicing good hygiene. Some preventive measures include:

a)        Safe handling of raw meat: Avoid feeding your cat raw or undercooked meat, as it may contain Salmonella bacteria. Opt for commercially prepared cat food to reduce the risk of contamination.

b)       Proper food handling: Follow food safety guidelines when handling and preparing your cat's food to prevent cross-contamination with Salmonella bacteria.

c)        Good hygiene practices: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling your cat's food, cleaning their litter box, or interacting with them. This helps reduce the risk of transmitting Salmonella bacteria to humans.

d)       Regular veterinary care: Ensure your cat receives routine veterinary check-ups and appropriate parasite control to maintain their overall health and minimise the risk of Salmonella infection.

 

5.        Campylobacteriosis: Campylobacteriosis is a bacterial infection commonly associated with foodborne illness. Cats can carry and shed Campylobacter bacteria in their faeces, leading to potential transmission to humans through contact or ingestion.


Despite the need, here is no commercially available vaccine specifically designed to prevent Campylobacteriosis in cats. Campylobacteriosis is a bacterial infection caused by Campylobacter species, most commonly Campylobacter jejuni. While Campylobacteriosis is more frequently associated with foodborne illness in humans, cats can carry and shed Campylobacter bacteria, potentially posing a risk of transmission to humans through contact or ingestion. Preventing Campylobacteriosis in cats primarily involves minimising their exposure to Campylobacter bacteria and practicing good hygiene. Some preventive measures include:

a)        Safe handling of raw meat: Avoid feeding your cat raw or undercooked meat, as it may contain Campylobacter bacteria. Opt for commercially prepared cat food to reduce the risk of contamination.

b)       Proper food handling: Follow food safety guidelines when handling and preparing your cat's food to prevent cross-contamination with Campylobacter bacteria.

c)        Good hygiene practices: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling your cat's food, cleaning their litter box, or interacting with them. This helps reduce the risk of transmitting Campylobacter bacteria to humans.

d)       Regular veterinary care: Ensure your cat receives routine veterinary check-ups and appropriate parasite control to maintain their overall health and minimize the risk of Campylobacter infection.

 

A cat's illness often manifests through changes in its overall appearance, energy levels, sociability, coat condition and shedding, appetite, litter-box habits, breathing, any symptom of weight loss, lethargy, or changes in eating or drinking patterns or the presence of discharge from the eyes or nose. Look out for signs of obvious distress, repeated vomiting, overwhelming fatigue, dragging back legs, a lump or unusual growth, coughing or breathing change signs, major trauma or fight with another cat/dog.

Any abrupt alteration in these aspects should prompt you to seek veterinary care for your cat without delay.


Self-cleaning cat
Self- cleaning a ritual

 It's not uncommon for people to turn to the internet, including search engines like Google, when they have concerns about their pets' health. When it comes to cats’ diagnosis, some of the most searched diseases or health issues may include the below list, which could indicate frequencies of prevalence, it might be good for you to be aware of those diseases:


A) Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD): This umbrella term covers a variety of urinary tract conditions in cats, including urinary blockages, bladder inflammation, and urinary tract infections.

B) Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV): FeLV is a contagious viral infection that can weaken a cat's immune system, leading to various health problems such as anaemia, cancer, and infections.

C) Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV): FIV is a virus that weakens a cat's immune system, like HIV in humans. Cats with FIV are more susceptible to infections and other illnesses.

D) Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP): FIP is a viral disease caused by certain strains of the coronavirus. It can lead to severe inflammation and damage to organs such as the liver, kidneys, and brain.

E) Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism is a common endocrine disorder in older cats, characterised by an overactive thyroid gland. Symptoms may include weight loss, increased appetite, and hyperactivity.

F) Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): CKD is a progressive condition in which a cat's kidneys gradually lose their ability to function properly. It is commonly seen in older cats and can lead to symptoms such as increased thirst, weight loss, and lethargy.

G) Diabetes Mellitus: Diabetes in cats is like diabetes in humans and is characterised by high blood sugar levels. Symptoms may include increased thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, and lethargy.


Disclaimer: At Tailwaggingjoy we take seriously the well-being of your pet. The information presented above is based on extensive research of Tailwaggingjoy; however, it is not intended to replace the diagnosis or guidance of a qualified veterinarian or specialist. Every cat is unique, and individual circumstances may vary. Therefore, it is essential to seek the expert advice of a veterinarian, preferably one who is familiar with your cat's medical history and specific needs, for accurate diagnosis and personalised care.

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