5 ‘Silent’ Killers of Cats

Having a cat as a pet is like having full-time four-legged entertainment and, not to forget, a fantastic friend. It is the most independent creature that loves to explore its surroundings.

A kitty is also an affectionate animal that fills your life with joy. However, like any other pet, a cat also demands your serious attention for its well-being. 

Providing a safe environment and regular visits to the vet can maintain cat health. But, there are five silent killers of cats that you should be aware of before they attack your little feline friend. 

To know what we are talking about, read on!

5 Silent Killers of Cats-In Detail

As a cat parent, you know that your pet may find it hard to express its pain and feelings. 

Also, it is not always easy for you to detect when your cat is unwell. This is especially true when it is suffering from one of the silent diseases. 

But, you can identify these health killers through common symptoms and your pet’s behavior. If you want your pet to lead a happy and healthy life, take a look at what these illnesses and signs are. 

Diabetes Mellitus

Do you know that most house cats suffer from extreme obesity? Since they are fed well (and sometimes more than necessary), these cats are often overweight. And some of them are also victims of Diabetes Mellitus (DM)

Known as one of the most common silent killers, diabetes in cats can reduce the production of insulin needed to transport sugar in different cells. If untreated, this often leads to the body producing excessive glucose on its own. High glucose levels can result in uncontrollable sugar levels and DM. 

Some common symptoms of this illness are:

  • Excessive thirst and urination
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Abnormal walk
  • Overweight body
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy 

If taken lightly, diabetes can also convert into life-threatening complications. 

Unfortunately, this silent killer of cats requires expensive treatment to bring your cat back to normality. With two insulin injections every day, you may see your monthly budget crossing its limits. 

Moreover, to combat this illness, a change in your cat’s diet plays an integral role. A shift from high-carb meals to protein-rich food is more than a necessity to help your cat recover. Also, regular check-ups and monitoring are essential requirements. 

Chronic Kidney Illness 

Often labeled as kidney injury or renal failure, this disease is detected when 75% of your cat’s kidneys stop working effectively. Irreversible damage to these organs reduces their ability to remove toxins from the cat’s blood. As a result, your pet suffers from the following:

  • Lethargy
  • Poor diet
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Increase in thirst levels
  • Frequent periods of urination

While the main reasons behind chronic kidney disease are unknown, some potential indirect causes could be:

  • Kidney tumors that attack the functionality of the organ
  • Bacterial infections
  • Consumption of specific toxins
  • An inherited illness 

Thankfully, this disease isn’t fatal every time. But, as a caretaker, you need to design an effective management plan to control this killer.

Low-protein meals with regular monitoring and tests can heal the kidneys in a short time.  

Heart Diseases

As long as your cat’s heart is healthy, you can be content when it comes to its well-being. But, a single episode of a cardiac arrest can leave your cat unwell for months and even years. 

Heart disease is disturbing for cat parents as it silently ruins your pet’s body. While dogs have a loud and clear heart murmur, cats don’t have that at all. 

It means even some vets cannot detect a heart problem until he/she observes the following symptoms:

  • Difficult breathing
  • Acute paralysis
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • High respiratory rate
  • Death

If your cat has been showing any of the above signs – except for death – you should take quick actions to save its life. For instance, a thorough physical check with ultrasounds and chest x rays are vital to detect the problem. 

While there are many effective medicines available, they only help to prevent the disease from worsening. A cardiac illness is primarily incurable in cats and sadly remains a part of their existence. 


While cancer isn’t a common health issue in cats, it is still a harmful silent killer impacting hundreds of our pets every year.

And since cats are brilliant with masking illnesses, cancer cases often go undetected at their early stages. Gastrointestinal cancer is the most common form of this disease found in cats. 

Some of the main symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Difficult breathing
  • Irregular appetite
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Pain
  • Weight loss

A biopsy can help detect this illness. But, for a firm and accurate prognosis, special testing is essential. Also, since cancer in cats can take an aggressive form, early treatment is critical. 

These are some standard procedures that can help control this disease:

  • Surgery for a lump removal
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy 

However, cancer is a deadly illness, and the survival rate of cats even after treatment is below 50%. But that also depends on the form and severity of the disease. 


If you have a middle-aged or an old cat, you may want to get it checked for a case of Hyperthyroidism. The excessive production of thyroid hormones causes this silent illness. 

As an endocrine illness, Hyperthyroidism can lead to the following signs:

  • Uncontrollable thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Increased urination
  • Diarrhea

However, this disease can accelerate the speed of metabolism and enhance your cat’s diet. It can happen despite weight loss. 

Hyperthyroidism has conflicting symptoms; however, its treatment is pretty straightforward. Most vets prescribe medication and a special diet to control this illness. 

But, in extreme cases, a cat may go through a surgical procedure to remove its thyroid glands. Regardless of available treatment, early detection is necessary as this thyroid complication doesn’t take long to damage other organs.

Final Words

The aim of listing the above silent killer of cats was not to scare you. We only want you to prepare in advance before the worst happens. 

These diseases can have a life-changing impact on your cat’s health. But, with timely treatment, you can save your pet from irrevocable damage. 

Here’s wishing your furry feline a long and healthy life.

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