• Carmen Zajicek

The 3 Deadliest Cat Diseases You Should Know About

Watching your pet cat suffer from an illness can be heartbreaking. However, some of the deadliest diseases that affect adult cats and kittens are actually preventable and even curable. With the right preventative measures, you can save your pet from falling victim to these often fatal diseases.



Here are a few dangerous cat illnesses that you should know about.


Feline Immunodeficiency Virus(FIV)


The feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is mainly transmitted through bite wounds. It’s most common among outdoor cats or feral cats, and can be fatal.

Since the virus is a lentivirus, it may stay dormant for years until it finally activates and attacks the immune system. While there are different treatment methods adopted for the disease, FIV tends to shorten the affected cat’s lifespan considerably. The best way to prevent the disease from occurring or progressing, is through frequent vet visits, vaccinations, and pet tests.


Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)


Feline leukemia virus or FeLV is another common disease that affects cats. Felines who contract the virus typically fall ill immediately, although symptoms may not surface for several weeks. Feline leukemia attacks the immune systems of cats, leading to a failure of bone marrow. It may also cause skin disease, diarrhea, and bladder infection.

This form of virus typically spreads through saliva, urine, or nose discharge. Healthy cats may contract the disease if they come in contact with infected ones or if they share litter boxes or water bowls with infected cats. The virus can also be passed on from the mother to the kitten.

Regular visits to the vet, vaccination, and a clean environment can prevent the chances of the virus being transmitted. For cats who do get the disease, monitoring of their health and testing for virus in the saliva is usually the recommended route.


Feline Rabies


Cats are one of the biggest victims of rabies. Since cats are inquisitive and curious by nature, they’re more likely than other domesticated animals to come in contact with rodents or animals that carry the virus.

When bitten or scratched by a rabid animal or rodent, cats may get the virus. In fact, rabies may also be transmitted if they happen to ingest an animal or rodent that may have had rabies.



Symptoms of feline rabies don’t always surface immediately. The virus may stay in the cat’s system and incubate between 10 days to five weeks, or even longer. Conjunctivitis, poor coordination, fever, drooling, and unusual behavior are common symptoms of the disease.

Feline rabies is especially dangerous as it has no treatment. Moreover, it can also be transmitted to pet owners who have cats.

CatDX provides pet testing services. These include feline immunodeficiency virus test (FeLV) and feline leukemia test (FIV), for which we use a saliva sample. Order a test for your cat today!


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