First Time Owning A Cat? Here Are 4 Diseases You Should Be Aware Of

If you're normally a dog person, you might not be familiar with what your new cat will require, especially when it comes to their vaccinations. In fact, you might not even realize that cats need vaccinations. Like dogs, your cat is going to need several regularly scheduled vaccinations, which will provide protection from a variety of diseases. Here's a quick description of some of the diseases your new cat will need protection against.

Feline Herpes Virus Type 1

If your cat has developed symptoms that are similar to the common cold – sneezing, congestion and watery eyes – it might have developed feline herpes virus type 1. While the symptoms may mimic those of a cold, it's actually a herpes virus that cats can catch from sharing litter boxes or from grooming each other. It can also be passed from mother to baby during birth. Other signs of feline herpes virus include:

  • Lethargy
  • Thick crusted eyes
  • Loss of coordination

Panleukopenia – Feline Distemper

You might not realize that your cat is in danger of contracting a feline version of distemper. Panleukopenia is a devastating disease that causes symptoms similar to canine distemper. It's actually a viral infection that can attack more than one system in the body. This disease is highly contagious, especially among cats that have not been vaccinated. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of coordination


While most cases of human rabies are transmitted by dogs, cats can also transmit the rabies virus. This disease is highly contagious and can be fatal. Rabies usually affects the nervous system by attacking the brain's gray matter. Feline rabies cause the following symptoms:

  • Unusual signs of aggression
  • Frothy saliva
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (Feline AIDS)

Feline AIDS is a potentially deadly disease that your cat can contract, especially if it spends a significant amount of time outside. It's spread by cat-to-cat bites and is most common in male cats. In some cases, you won't notice any symptoms until the disease has progressed too far to treat. Some of the signs you should be aware of include:

  • Swelling of the gums

  • Persistent diarrhea

  • Inflammation of the eyes and nose

You want to keep your cat as healthy as possible. There are several illnesses that cats are susceptible to. These illnesses can be prevented with proper vaccinations. Now that you have a new cat, protect it from the illnesses listed above by having a veterinarian (such as one from Metropolitan Cat Hospital Limited) provide the appropriate vaccinations.