About 250 genetic (i.e. hereditary) diseases can affect cats, who are skilled at masking their illness signs, making us guess whether they are feeling ill. Do not wait for your cat to show disease signs—prevent them altogether with Dr. Treat’s progressive veterinary care approach based on customized preventive medicine.
What better way to celebrate your fabulous feline friend than to ensure your cat lives a long, healthy life? About 250 genetic (i.e. hereditary) diseases can affect cats, who are skilled at masking their illness signs, making us guess whether they are feeling ill. Do not wait for your cat to show disease signs—prevent them altogether with Dr. Treat’s progressive veterinary care approach based on customized preventive medicine.
By recognizing common genetic feline disease signs and providing adequate preventive care, you can optimize your cat’s health and wellness. Follow our Dr. Treat team’s five cat preventive care tips to help your feline friend live their best life.
#1: Get ahead of your cat’s health risks
You know your cat better than anyone else, and by understanding their disease risk and learning to identify an illness’s early signs, you can consult with your cat’s veterinary team before a condition becomes advanced, and ensure their best health outcome.
Your cat’s DNA contains valuable information about their health and genetic disease risk. Genetic testing is key to revealing your cat’s potential health conditions so your veterinarian can proactively treat them, likely extending their life. Our Dr. Treat team has partnered with Basepaws, a feline genetics database, to compare your cat’s unique DNA against a broad array of points, providing you and your veterinarian with the best information and resources for maintaining your cat’s health.
#2: Learn about common genetic diseases in cats
Any cat can develop a genetic disease, and purebreds have the highest risk. The feline population has hundreds of genetic conditions—not all of which can be tested for—and the following are the most common:
- Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) — Cats with FLUTD may experience uncomfortable and frequent urination that can recur throughout their life. Genetics, combined with cats’ FLUTD risk factors—stress and obesity—help veterinary professionals determine which cats will likely develop the disease.
- Diabetes — Although any cat can develop diabetes, the Burmese breed has the highest risk. Diabetes symptoms include increased thirst and urination, and weight loss. Diabetic cats may require daily insulin injections.
- Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) — PKD causes cats’ kidneys to develop numerous fluid-filled cysts that can grow so large they replace most of the kidney tissue, and can lead to kidney failure.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (i.e., heart disease) — Heart disease is a leading cause of death in cats. Researchers believe a genetic defect causes the heart muscle to thicken and stiffen, reducing this vital organ’s blood pumping ability.
- Manx syndrome — A genetic mutation that codes for tail development causes Manx syndrome, and afflicted cats are born with a very short or no tail. Manx syndrome can also cause cats health conditions that adversely affect their kidneys, spine, and eyes.
- Deafness — Some cats who have white fur and blue eyes have a genetic mutation linked to deafness. This abnormal gene’s heredity is complex, and not all cats who have this mutation are deaf.
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) —PRA is a genetic disease that causes the retina—the layer of nerve cells at the back of the eye that detects light and images—to slowly degenerate. As the retina degenerates, the cat's vision progressively worsens until they become blind.