However, you should also be aware of several common zoonotic diseases that can be transmitted by your cat. Most common are:
Cat Scratch Disease. A bacterial disease caused by bacteria carried in cat saliva. The bacteria can be passed from a cat to a human through biting or scratching.
Rabies. A viral infection caused by a virus found in the saliva of infected animals and is transmitted to pets and humans by bites. Infected bats, raccoons, foxes, skunks, dogs, or cats provide the greatest risk to humans.
Toxoplasmosis. A parasitic disease you can acquire from soil or other contaminated surfaces by putting your hands to your mouth after gardening, cleaning a cat’s litter box, or by touching anything that has come into contact with cat feces.
Ringworm. The most common zoonotic disease transferred from animals to humans. It is a contagious fungal infection that can affect the scalp, the body (particularly the groin), the feet and the nails. Despite its name, it has nothing to do with worms. The name comes from the characteristic red ring that can appear on an infected person’s skin.
All animals can acquire zoonotic diseases, but animals at increased risk include: outdoor pets, unvaccinated animals, pets that are immunocompromised (a suppressed immune system), poorly groomed animals and animals that are housed in unsanitary conditions. People with immune disorders, on chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy may be at increased risk of infection.
Animals with zoonotic diseases may exhibit a variety of clinical signs depending on the type of disease. The signs can vary from mild to severe. As a pet owner you should know your animal and be aware of any changes in behavior and appearance.
Special Considerations for Senior Cats
Someone once said that cats don’t age; they grow more refined. Either way, as time progresses, certain illnesses can develop. By being aware of some concerns regarding older cats, you can be a more educated and prepared guardian for your aging companion. It’s important that your elderly cat receive routine veterinary care and periodic exams to keep him healthy.
Here are some of the most common feline diseases known to afflict older cats (see the full list here):
Nutritional Concerns. Obesity is a very common and serious concern in the older cat. It directly correlates to a decreased longevity, and may contribute to other problems. Overweight cats are more likely to become diabetic, suffer from liver disease (hepatic lipidosis) or feline lower urinary tract disease. Proper nutritional management is an important part of the care for your senior cat, especially since it is something that you can control.
Dental Disease. Dental disease and gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) are common findings in the elderly cat. Untreated dental disease leads to tooth loss, and may serve as a reservoir of infection for the rest of the body, posing a risk to other body systems.
Kidney Disease. Kidney disease is a very common finding in the older cat. With early detection, special diet and treatment, many cats can do well. Kidney disease is one of the primary reasons veterinarians recommend screening blood tests in older cats.
Resources for Common Feline Diseases
Want more useful advice on understanding, preventing, and treating common feline diseases? Check out our featured articles:
- Handling Common Cat Symptoms and Diseases
- 16 Symptoms You Should Never Ignore in Your Cat
- How to Identify the Most Common Cat Conditions
- Zoonotic Diseases in Cats
- 10 Common Disorders of Senior Cats