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The Top 5 Health Problems in Cats and How to Prevent Them: From Hairballs to Cat Kidney Disease

Regular cat check-ups are important because they allow veterinarians to catch any potential health problems early on. Here are the 5 most common health problems in cats and tips on how to prevent them.

Dental Problems

Dental problems are one of the most common health problems in cats. Cats need regular dental checkups to avoid gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath. Brushing your cat’s teeth regularly, giving them dental treats, and scheduling regular dental checkups can help prevent dental problems. Dental x-rays and regular descaling are needed to identify and minimise dental disease in cats. Cat teeth are particularly difficult to clean so making sure you have regular dental checkups will prevent and help spot any dental problems.

Check out the Veterinary Oral Health Council website for VOHC-approved cat teeth cleaning products.


Do you think your cat may have too much cat fat? Obesity is not only a problem for humans but also for cats. Cats that are overweight are at risk of developing diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease, among other health problems. Obesity can also speed up the development of arthritis as the extra weight puts strain on the joints. It can also lead to matting fur as your cat will be unable to reach areas to groom themselves. Feeding your cat a healthy diet of high-quality food in quantities according to manufacturers' guidelines and providing them with enough exercise can help prevent obesity. Avoid leaving your cat’s food out all day as grazing can lead to overeating. It might be a good idea to cut down on cat treats too. Establish a feeding routine and stick to it to keep your cat in shape. If you have more than one cat, microchip feeders may be a good idea. This will prevent your overweight cat from feeding on your other cat's food. They work by controlling access to food.

Regular exercise is possible for cats! Playtime is a great way to get your cat running around. The best cat toys to get your cat moving include feathers and balls. Climbing is another great form of exercise - encourage your cat to use the stairs or purchase a cat tree. We recommend placing your cat's food bowl halfway up the stairs to encourage them to move.

Do you think your cat is mentally stimulated? Try out interactive cat toys such as a treat ball or puzzles to keep your cat’s mind active. Boredom and stress can lead to overeating so keep your cat's brain busy to keep them in shape.


Cat grooming can lead to hairballs inside their stomachs as they do this regularly. A cat hairball can cause discomfort, vomiting, and even intestinal blockages. You can help your cat by regularly grooming your cat and feeding your cat a hairballs prevention formula. These formulas will typically help your cat pass hairballs quicker and easier.

Hill's does a prevention formula that we recommend.

Blocked bladder

One of the most critical and life-threatening health issues that can affect our feline friends is a blocked bladder or difficulty passing urine which is incredibly painful for your cat and tends to affect young male cats more.

This condition occurs when a cat's urethra becomes obstructed by inflammation, urinary stones, mucus, or crystals, preventing the normal flow of urine and may be caused by cystitis (including stress-induced cystitis), FLUTD (infection) or crystals in the urine. Left untreated, a blocked bladder can quickly escalate into a life-threatening situation within hours for your beloved pet.

Signs of a blocked bladder in cats include frequent trips to the litter box with little or no urine production, straining to urinate (which can be confused with constipation), crying out in pain, licking the genital area excessively, and even blood in the urine.

As a cat owner, it's crucial to be aware of these symptoms and seek immediate veterinary care if you suspect your cat may be suffering from a blocked bladder. Early intervention is key to preventing severe complications and ensuring the well-being of your furry companion, annual wellness urine tests such as the urine test included in our Vital Pet Optimum plan, may detect crystals, blood or protein in your cat's urine.

Kidney Disease

Kidneys do a really important job of removing toxins, waste and fluid as well as regulating blood pressure, controlling the production of red blood cells and producing an active form of vitamin D that helps protect bones.

Kidney disease, also known as renal disease, occurs when the kidneys become damaged and no longer work efficiently. There are no outward signs in the early stages and your cat may not show signs until the kidney function declines to 20% or less with the damage being irreversible.

Early detection is essential by blood and urine tests which is why at Roundwoods we promote yearly wellness blood and urine tests. In the advanced stages of cat kidney disease symptoms to look out for are your cat drinking lots of water and peeing more, weight loss, eating less and low energy.

Treatment depends on how damaged the kidneys are but it can be special veterinary diets, supplements, medications and admission for intravenous fluids. Ask your vet or nurse if you are concerned about your cat and kidney disease.

Cats can be vulnerable to certain health problems, but many of these can be prevented by making lifestyle changes and taking preventative measures. By brushing their teeth, feeding them a healthy diet, providing enough water, and keeping your cat’s weight in check, you can help prevent many health problems. With proper care, you can help ensure your feline friend lives a long, healthy, and happy life.

By joining our Vital Pets Club you can easily help your cat prevent health conditions. We cover screening in our plans which will spot any health conditions as early as possible.

Here are the benefits you have access to when joining:

  • Save money with free consults, dental assessment, insurance processing and discounts in the pet shop

  • Spread the cost of vaccines and preventive health care evenly throughout the year

  • Unlimited nurse telemed consultations

  • Early diagnosis and treatment

  • Improve the longevity and quality of your pet’s life

If you have noticed any symptoms or changes in your cat's behaviour or you want to discuss preventative care, call us on 020 8459 4729.


Order Dr Hannah Parkin's Amazing Guide To Caring For Your New Puppy.
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