Top Five Cat Diseases


Authored by Viktoria Carella in Cats
Published on 08-31-2009

Cat diseases can be devastating alone, but knowing you could have prevented them is even worse. Simple vaccinations as well as diet, exercise and vet visits can keep your feline friend happier and healthier. This article will give you information on the top 5 cat diseases, their prevention and treatments.

Feline Leukemia

This number one cat disease is preventable by vaccine, and is an attack of the immune system. Leukemia in cats decreases their ability to fight off infection, and is the number one cat disease. Wearing down the immune system is only one of the problems, as this can also lead to cancer in cats as well. Treatments include the drugs Acemannan, ImmunoRegulin, Interferon Alpha, Lymphocyte T-Cell Immune Modulator and Staph Protein A. There are no cures, but these medications tend to help comfort the cat and slow down the replication of this devastating cat disease.


Rabies is the second highest killer of cats among all cat diseases. This cat disease affects the nervous system and is fatal if contracted in most cases. According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, cats can take the vaccine against rabies every year to help prevent it. Any cat that spends time outside should be vaccinated, due to the higher rate of outside cats contracting it. Symptoms include nervousness, anxiety and solitude as well as fever, madness and then paralysis of head and throat that causes extreme salivation or foaming. There is no treatment at this time, and death is almost certain in all cases.


Calcivirus is the third top cat disease, and it affects the respiratory system. Symptoms include sneezing and fever as well as eye discharge. This is preventable by vaccine, and mostly kittens contract the disease and it becomes fatal due to their weakened immune systems. Loss of appetite, ulcers in the mouth, nose or tongue as well as sneezing, runny nose and malaise are symptoms of infection. There is no medication to rid the system of this virus, only supportive care such as keeping the cat comfortable is available for this cat disease.

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal Parasites such as roundworms and flatworms cause diarrhea and excretion of the worms in the fecal material. This can be prevented with monthly or annual treatment with dewormers. There are liquids and pills over the counter and available through prescription from a veterinarian to cure this cat disease.


Panleukopenia or feline distemper rounds out the top five cat diseases, being another preventable disease that actually affects the nervous system. It can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and is fatal in many cases. This is preventable with vaccinations. Symptoms include loss of appetite, fever, dehydration as well as vomiting and diarrhea. Death normally will occur inside the first 5 days of infection due to the fast replication of the infected cells. Infection occurs from contact with food bowls, cages, bedding or equipment that has been in contact with the infection. Direct contact with infected urine or fecal material as well as saliva or vomit will also cause infection. There is no cure or medication to kill the infection.


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