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5 common cat health issues and what they could cost you

Save your heart and your wallet some pain by preventing these 5 common cat health issues.

As a cat owner, the bond between you and your cat likely a special one. You learn to interpret their meows, know just where they like to be scratched (and maybe even where they don’t like to be scratched!)

Eventually, your cat becomes like a family member. And like your other family members, you want them to stay healthy and thriving. 

Some seemingly small symptoms can turn into deadly diseases if they’re ignored. The tricky part with cats is that they rarely show symptoms of sickness. Just like animals in the wild who are sick, they can become targets for predators. 

While check ups and other periodic vet visit costs seem to add up, they’re nothing like what it would cost you for emergency visits. People are often surprised by the bill for a pet health emergency, which ranges from $800-$1500 on average. 

The best way to ensure your cat stays healthy is to be sure you’re preventing some of the most common illnesses that can occur in cats by engaging in regular healthy routines. 

Save your heart and your wallet some pain by getting to know the most common cat illnesses, what they’ll cost you, and how to prevent them. 

Feline lower urinary tract disease

Feline Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is a term that describes certain conditions that affect a cat’s bladder and urethra. 

These infections cause obstructions of your cat’s urethra, making urination painful for your cat.

Symptoms of FLUTD

  • Blood in the urine
  • Unusual urination in new locations 
  • Frequent urination
  • Any indication of pain during urination such as shaking or yowling 

How much FLUTD could cost

FLUTD requires various tests to diagnose and may need an ultrasound or x-ray as well. Once diagnosed, your vet may prescribe painkillers, anti-anxiety meds, and food supplements to reduce swelling. After all is said and done, you could spend around $425.

How to prevent FLUTD

A feline urinary tract disease is caused by a buildup of bacteria that travels up the urethra. There are a few easy adjustments to make in order to prevent FLUTD. 

  • Be sure your cat is hydrating regularly. Staying hydrated ensures that any risky bacteria gets flushed out regularly.
  • Add an extra litter box and make sure all boxes get cleaned regularly. 
  • Give your cat a daily UTI prevention supplement.
  • Keep your cat at a healthy weight.

Gingivitis

Turns out flossing your own teeth isn’t all you have to worry about — about 70% of cats have indicators of oral disease by age 3. 

And periodontal diseases like gingivitis caused by tartar buildup can put your cat’s vital organs at risk of infection. 

Symptoms of gingivitis

  • Red and swollen gums
  • Plaque build up
  • Bad breath
  • Oral discomfort

How much gingivitis could cost

For an oral exam, antibiotics, steroids and a possible tooth extraction, be prepared to spend anywhere from $300 to $1300. 

How to prevent gingivitis

Preventing gingivitis from infecting your cat mainly comes down to a regular oral hygiene routine and a few new products. 

  • Brush their teeth with digestible toothpaste several times a week.
  • Replace highly processed foods or food with a lot of grain with canned food with natural ingredients.
  • Choose dental toys and treats for your cat that helps reduce plaque while they play.

Roundworm

Not even indoor cats are safe from parasites like roundworm.  These nasty little worms can hitch a ride into your cat’s body through insects, other animals it consumes, or by touching infected dirt. Once inside, they can make their way to the intestines, bloodstream or organs. 

How much roundworm could cost 

Roundworm calls for basic testing as well as a mixture of different deworming medicines. Sometimes a second or third deworming is needed.  

Symptoms of roundworm

  • Bloating
  • Dandruff
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Refusal to eat
  • Coughing

After deworming, you’ll need to replace the litter in the litter boxes and bleach or replace the actual box. You may also want to opt for a prevention treatment to keep them from returning. In the end, you can expect to spend about $60-$215.

How to prevent roundworm

  • Use a preventative medication.
  • Control insects and rodents.
  • Deworm kittens and mating mothers.
  • Clean the litter box daily.

Eye problems

Eye problems in cats can cause conditions like glaucoma, cataracts and conjunctivitis. Untreated eye infections can lead to blindness, so you’ll want to be sure to get your furry friend to the vet if they experience any of these symptoms.

Symptoms of eye problems

  • A clouded cornea
  • Red and swollen eyes
  • Eye discharge
  • Squinting or rubbing due to discomfort

How to prevent eye problems:

  • Stay up to date on vaccinations and check-ups.
  • Remove any mucus or discharge with a warm, wet cotton ball.
  • Keep hair around eyes trimmed.
  • Remove any allergens.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that happens when your cat’s body lacks the ability to process insulin, the hormone that controls blood glucose levels. 

Untreated diabetes can lead to coma or death, so it’s important for your kitty to have proper treatment for this disease.

Symptoms of diabetes

  • Weight loss despite an increase in appetite
  • Excessive thirst and urination
  • Lethargy

How much diabetes could cost

Ongoing treatment after initial tests and visitation will run you at least $285 a month. 

How to prevent diabetes

  • A healthy diet
  • Plenty of play time and exercise
  • Routine veterinary check-ups

When coming up with a prevention plan for your cat, it’s important to remember to have your funds covered, too. You’ll need a pet insurance plan that offers coverage catered to your pet’s needs.

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Sources:

  1. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/sick-pet-highest-and-lowest-veterinary-costs-cats-dogs-by-state/
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Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice.
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