As a responsible pet owner, you feed your feline a nutritious diet of premium cat food and the occasional treat. You take him in for regular checks with the vet and always make sure that he is up-to-date on his vaccinations.

You do everything you can for your kitty to keep him happy and healthy, but no matter how careful you are with your pet's wellbeing he can sometimes get sick. And just like with people, ailments can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from viruses to genetic dispositions or old age.

Below, we outline a few of the more common illnesses in cats, and what symptoms to look out for. However, if you notice anything unusual with your pet, you should have him seen by a veterinarian right away.

Upper respiratory infections

Common in kittens, and regularly found in older cats as well, upper respiratory infections are also known as cat flu. If your kitty has goopy eyes, nasal discharge and is sneezing a lot, it's likely they have an upper respiratory infection.

Hyperthyroidism

Normally caused by the growth of a benign tumour on the thyroid gland, hyperthyroidism is the overproduction of thyroid hormones. Treatment options include lifetime medication, surgery or a single injection of radioactive iodine.

Symptoms include weight loss with increased appetite, as well as possible behavioural changes like nervousness, increased vocalisation and over grooming.

Urinary tract infection (UTI) or feline cystitis

Cats are particularly prone to difficulties with their urinary tract and problems can range from inflammation of the bladder, through to stones or blockages.

If you notice your pet spending a lot of time in the litter box, straining to urinate or blood in his urine, these are probable signs of a UTI or cystitis. Other symptoms include drinking more than normal or urinating in unusual places.

Chronic kidney failure

Also known as renal failure, this is unfortunately a leading cause of death in senior animals. It can, however, be managed for a long time, and with the right care it's possible for cats with kidney failure to maintain a good quality of life for many months or years.

Symptoms include decreases in weight and appetite, dehydration, increased thirst and urination, bad breath, listlessness and poor coat quality.

Written by: Hannah