The domesticated cat or housecat is easily the most popular pet in the United States. Though a greater percentage of households actually own dogs, cat lovers are far more likely to have several felines roaming around.  According to the latest numbers, there are about 94 million pet cats and 76 million pet dogs in America. There are many reasons why the cat population has soared in recent years. Since they were first domesticated, nearly ten thousand years ago, cats have always been easier to take care of than dogs. They naturally more independent animals and can be left to their own devices for most of the day. Owners do not have to worry about them chewing up the furniture, soiling the rugs, or assaulting the mailman.  With that said, cats are also a highly social species. They have feelings of deep affection for their owners, just like dogs do.  And just like dogs, they get sick.

If they are spayed or neutered, cats are typically less expensive to care for than dogs. The average cat owner spends about two hundred dollars a year on veterinarian visits. But because the average feline lover has 2.2 cats, these costs can really add up, especially for elderly pet owners who live on fixed incomes. Like every other living thing, cats are more likely to encounter medical problems as they age. Some are the result of accidents and others are purely age-related. Let us take a moment to review a few of the most common feline health issues.

Worms Cats are extremely active animals and even if they are domesticated, most owners let them go outside. Hookworms and roundworms can cause anemia and sometimes death, especially in adolescent cats and in kittens.  Felines get worms by eating rodents or birds that were also infected. Though they are far less likely to come down with the infection than dogs, cats can also serve as hosts for heartworms, and the parasite can kill them. Another worm that is not actually a worm but a fungus is ringworm. It affects the skin and it will make your pet itchy and uncomfortable.


The good news for loving pet owners everywhere is that a cat that has worms will exhibit obvious symptoms. They will almost always have a loss of appetite or trouble eating. The cat’s coat may lose its luster or appear in poor condition, no matter how many times they are bathed. Finally, many cats that are infected with worms, especially kittens, will develop swollen or distended bellies. In more serious cases, the cat will experience dramatic weight loss and may vomit after meals. Prolonged bouts of diarrhea are also a telltale sign of worm infestation. An animal that exhibits any of these symptoms should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.  


One of the most popular medications for cats, Drontal is recommended for cats and kitten four weeks of age or older. In most cases, a single dose can effectively remove all roundworms, hookworms, heartworms and even tapeworms. It is widely available in tablet form and can be purchased from veterinarians or at a discount from online pet pharmacies for proper pet meds. Though it is a bit more expensive, some cat owners prefer medication in paste form, since it is often easier to get their cats to consume it. Felex Plus Allwormer Paste can be purchased for affordable prices from online pet pharmacies.


Most outdoor cats eventually bring fleas back indoors with them. Flea infestation is not only uncomfortable, but it can also endanger the life of your pet. If left untreated, fleas will eventually cause anemia from blood loss. Mature cats may be able to survive even the most aggressive of infestations, but kittens may not.


Because of basic differences in anatomy, cats are not nearly as good at scratching as dogs, so it may be more difficult to detect an infestation in a feline than in a canine. But if you do catch you cat scratching a specific area over and over again, it probably means that she has fleas. One easy way to determine if you pet has fleas is to take a flea comb and search for tiny black dots in her fur. These dots are called “flea dirt,” but they are actually the excrement fleas leave behind as they feast on your cat.


It is important to note that you should never, ever use a topical flea treatment that was designed for a dog on a cat, or vice versa. Products like Revolution and Advantage II are safe and effective monthly topical medications for cats. Both require a prescription. Prescription medication for your feline friend can be purchased safely and affordably from online pharmacies.

Bryan Siegert is a freelance writer who writes about pet care and pet meds.

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