Diseases, Pet Care Basics, Shelter and Rescue Resources, Vaccines

8 Cat Diseases You Can Prevent

By Shelley Hexom

January 5, 2023

white cat on grass

You want your cat to stay healthy. So don’t let preventable feline diseases stand in the way.

The American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association recommend that every cat should have or receive immunizations with core vaccines.

What shots do cats need? We’ve put together a list of some of the most devastating diseases that are preventable through vaccination:

Feline Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper)

This is the most widespread disease of cats and is extremely contagious. Transmitted through blood, urine, feces and nasal secretions. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. High death rate, especially among kittens. Read Feline Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper) for more information.

Feline Rhinotracheitis (Feline Herpesvirus)

Attacks the upper respiratory tract. Highly contagious so all kittens and cats are at risk, but the death rate is much higher for kittens. Characterized by sneezing, loss of appetite, fever and eye inflammation. Read Feline Herpesvirus (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis) for more information.

Feline Calicivirus

Attacks the lungs and lower respiratory tract. Causes 40 percent of all respiratory diseases in cats. Often complicated by other infections; ulcers may be seen on the tongue and lips. Highly contagious and transmitted by sneezing. Read Upper Respiratory Infections in Cats for more information.

Feline Pneumonitis (Chlamydia)

Bacterial respiratory infection caused by Chlamydia psittaci. Produces conjunctivitis (eye infections) and upper respiratory infections. Highly contagious; can be transmitted to humans and cattle. Look for inflamed eyes, occasional sneezing, tearing with salivation and coughing. Read Feline Chlamydia – “Cat Pink Eye” for more information.

Feline Leukemia

A viral disease that attacks the immune system and increases the cat’s susceptibility to other diseases. Spread via saliva (primarily by bites) and is eventually fatal. Symptoms: Weight loss, recurring or chronic illness, unusual breathing patterns and pale or yellow color around the mouth and whites of the eyes. Read Feline Leukemia Virus for more information.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

Caused by a coronavirus and is spread by direct cat-to-cat contact or by contact with contaminated surfaces. There is no cure and the disease is fatal. Read Feline Coronavirus and FIP in Cats for more information.

Feline Bordetella Bronchiseptica

Upper respiratory infection caused by Bordetella bacteria. Clinical signs: coughing, ocular discharge, fever, lack of appetite, listlessness, sneezing, nasal discharge, swollen lymph nodes and increased lung sounds. Read Upper Respiratory Infections in Cats for more information.

Rabies in Cats

Rabies is the most feared disease and is almost always fatal. Attacks the brain and central nervous system. Transmitted to humans through a bite or scratch by an infected animal. Read Rabies in Dogs and Cats for more information.

What Vaccinations Does My Cat Need?

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Want help developing a plan for what shots your cat needs and how often? Looking for a treatment solution? Call our Pet Care Pros at 800.786.4751. They are expertly trained to answer any and all of your cat health questions.

Shelley Hexom

Written by: Shelley Hexom

Content Manager

Shelley Hexom is Revival's Content Manager and helps develop educational pet health resources. A three-time Emmy Award-winning news anchor, Shelley works with Revival's Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, to help create useful and easy-to-understand articles, videos, and webinars. Shelley received her bachelor's degree in Mass Communications from Winona State University in 2002. Shelley has been part of the Revival Paw Squad since 2016.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.