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Study reveals most common health issues in cats

Gum and dental disease, obesity, overgrown claws and flea infestation are the most common health problems vets see in cats, according to a new study.

Based on data for 18,249 cats registered with vets across the UK, the research from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) showed that the risk of many conditions varies depending on a cat’s age and sex.

For example, younger cats had higher risk for cat bite injury, flea infestation, road traffic accident and post-operative wound complication.

Older cats had higher risk for lameness, abscess, cystitis, over-grooming, general dental disease, constipation, underweight, osteoarthritis, haircoat disorder, anorexia, an ear condition known as otitis externa, vomiting, cardiac dysrhythmia, weight loss, chronic kidney disease, gum disease, poor quality of life, heart murmur, flea bite hypersensitivity, obesity, overgrown claws and hyperthyroidism.

Meanwhile, female cats had higher risk than males for poor quality of life, post-operative wound complication, over-grooming, flea bite hypersensitivity, hyperthyroidism and overgrown claws. Males had higher risk for periodontal disease, road traffic accident, heart murmur, lameness, obesity, abscess wound and cat bite injuries.

On average, each cat was diagnosed with one condition per year, with the average count of conditions per year higher in males than females, and higher in older cats than younger cats.

“Everyone who loves cats wants to make their lives happier and healthier,” commented Dan O’Neill, Associate Professor in Companion Animal Epidemiology at the RVC and lead author of the study paper. “This study helps owners to understand that dental, weight and parasite care are the key health issues of cats in general, so that owners can focus their care and finances better on giving their cats a better life.”

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