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Sick cat

These are arguably the most common diseases, symptoms and injuries that a cat might encounter. Commit them to memory and you won’t look back.

Acute renal failure (ARF): Can occur as a result of an infection, toxin or blockage within the urinary tract.

Allergic flea dermatitis: Itchy, scaly skin or fur loss caused by an allergy to flea saliva when bitten.

Arthritis (osteoarthritis):  Inflammation of the joints causing pain and often resulting in restricted mobility. Joints affected are usually the hip, elbow and spine.

Blocked anal glands: The anal glands are situated at ’20 minutes to 4’ (believe it or not there is a clock face on the cat’s bottom). They contain fluid that occasionally builds up and causes discomfort, ‘scooting’ on the floor, and excessive and obsessive grooming around the anus. Ah, the joys of cat ownership.

Cat bite abscess: Caused by another cat’s bacteria-ridden canine teeth puncturing the skin during fights.

Cat flu/herpes/calicivirus: This can be vaccinated against but will cause a snotty nose, runny eyes and ulcers on the tongue. Welcome to the wonderful world of cats.

Chronic renal failure (CRF): A condition usually seen in older cats, resulting in decreased appetite, weight loss and dehydration.

Conjunctivitis: Inflammation of the pink bit around the eye causing pain, squinting, rubbing, discharge and reddening.

Detached retina: Can be caused by high blood pressure, or a heavy bang on the head, often rendering the cat blind.

Diabetes: Same as humans: drink a lot, pee a lot, eat a lot and lose a lot of weight (often due to amputation of a limb).

Diaphragmatic hernia: More often than not caused by impact with a car which results in vital organs being radically relocated.

Ear mites: Parasites that live in the ear canal and cause irritation, head shaking, dark brown wax and furious scratching.

Feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC): Stress-related inflammation of the bladder wall, causing pain, blood in the urine and even a complete inability to urinate.

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP): A fatal disease caused by a type of virus called coronavirus. Best avoided.

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV): Caused by a similar retrovirus to HIV although it is not transmissible to man.

Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV): A viral condition that affects the immune system. You need to know that there is a vaccination that can protect against it.

Feline odontoclastic resorptive lesion (FORL): A hole in the bottom of the tooth at the gum margin that exposes the nerve. Usually accompanied by much yowling.

Food hypersensitivity: This can manifest itself as an itchy skin condition, over-grooming, vomiting or diarrhoea. Welcome again to the world of cats.

Fractured mandibular symphysis: A broken lower jaw; common in road traffic accidents.

Hyperthyroidism: A tumour on the thyroid glands that causes an increase in the cat’s metabolism. Usually accompanied by severe weight loss.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM): Heart disease that causes thickening of the wall of the heart. Believe it or not, some cats have hearts.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): Causes diarrhoea, weight loss, vomiting and general loss of condition.

Lymphoma: Cancer of the lymph nodes. Cats get cancer too.

Obesity: You can’t have a list without including fat cats. A major cause of heart disease, diabetes and joint problems through overeating/feeding. Killing with kindness is a serious problem in the cat world.

Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas; as unpleasant as it is in the human pancreas.

Pelvic fractures: These are commonly seen resulting from traffic accidents and falls.

Periodontal disease: The build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth, resulting in erosion and inflammation of the gums and loosening of the teeth. A cat with no teeth is not a happy cat.

Ringworm: This is a skin infection caused by a fungus that is contagious to both cats and humans. Take advice from a real expert.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): A type of cancer causing crusting of the ear tips, eyelids and nose; seen most commonly in cats with white ears and noses.

Tail pull injury: This is commonly seen in cats that have been involved in traffic accidents or a cat that has attempted to withdraw a tail trapped in a door.

Urolithiasis: Production of crystals in the cat’s urine that merge to form stones in the bladder.

For more moggy medical help, pick up a copy of The Bluffer’s Guide to Cats.