Now for the not-so-fun part. We need to bite the bullet and dive into the sicknesses that could pop up that you need to be aware of in a kitten’s life. It’s tricky to think about what could possibly go wrong and make your kitten feel not-so-good, but you need to remember that you are going to be a parent to this kitten, so knowledge is power.
How to prevent and Treat Kitten illness
By educating yourself on all of the common kitten sicknesses that are out there, you’ll be able to make sure you protect your little one as best you can. To help guide you, here are the most important ones:
6 Common kitten illnesses
Upper respiratory infection
Upper respiratory infections in cats and kittens are fairly common mostly because of the fact that they are, for all intents and purposes, equivalent to a human who has a cold or flu. They’re annoying and frustrating, but common and not often serious in cats.
In kittens they are a little more serious just like anything with human babies can be more serious.
The symptoms are:
- Runny nose
- Runny eyes
A vet can prescribe antibiotics if they’re needed, or you can try clearing the discharge with a wet cloth and considering trying a humidifier to help clear the phlegm and discharge.
This one is so common that is considered uncommon if your kittens don’t get worms. Worms are just something that your kitten is going to have to adjust to, so make sure that you remember this and try to make sure that you don’t panic. There are plenty of treatments available for worms, so take a deep breath and keep reading.
You can get oral treatments or rub on treatments that will both give you the same kind of benefits. If you aren’t comfortable with giving these treatments yourself – which is fine, as they can be very confusing – just talk to your vet about them. It’s important to make sure that they do get a treatment of some kind, however, so don’t forget to talk to them about it. Common signs of a worm infestation are:
- Dull fur,
- Lack of appetite.
Ticks and fleas
These become an issue if you have a dog who spends time outdoors (and brings them in), or if you have another cat who wanders outdoors, or you let our kitten outside when they get older. This is also a normal shot that your cat will get at their yearly checkup from your vet. As far as signs to watch for:
- Increased scratching
- Rubbing their bums and backs and bellies on the floor
But, you’ll also be able to see ticks and fleas on your kitten and cat, so try to keep an eye out for them when you are spending some quality time with your fur ball!
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
This is a serious virus that kittens could have passed down from their mothers. It is common in wild cats as it is spread through blood contact and when they get into fights, it is spread that way. FIV is the equivalent to HIV in humans. It will give them a lower immune system which will make it harder to fight infections such as upper respiratory infections like we mentioned.
While a serious virus, a lot of cats around the world are infected with FIV and live happy and healthy lives. It only becomes an issue when they become infected with other issues that, normally, would not be life-threatening. You can have your kitten tested at an early age to determine whether or not s/he is infected, and if so, your vet will help you find a way to assure the quality of life.
Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)
This is one of the most serious sicknesses to watch for. It is a fast-moving virus that starts to shut down your kitten’s systems and will send him downhill quickly as far as his health is concerned, often ending in death. The good news is, like FIV, kittens are tested for FIP before adoption or at the first check up, and knowledge is power, after all.
There is no true definitive test for FIP itself, but it will show if the causing bacteria are present in the system and you can know to keep the test going. Traditionally, this is spread from mother to kitten and can manifest weeks, months or even years after exposure.
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)
This can be spread through saliva or feces, meaning that when a cat has FeLV, he should be the only cat in his home unless the other cats have FeLV too. This is similar to FIV and FIP in that it can allow the kitten to have a great quality of life and you would never know the difference in the fact that he has FeLV. The issue would be when he gets upper respiratory infections or other sicknesses that will compromise his weakened immune system.
As with the other conditions we’ve talked about, regular check-ups and tests can be done to determine how serious the progression is, and proper lifestyle changes can be made to make sure that your little guy has the best chance possible for a happy and healthy life.
All of these are terrifying, there’s no question, but you need to focus on the fact that this is all the bad stuff. Your kitten is happy and healthy, and your vet will help you make sure that you are going to be able to keep him feeling as great as possible and test for all of these sicknesses.
No parent wants to think about their little baby being sick, but it may happen. Be prepared and be ready to deal with it when it does!