The top health problems for kittens

Your new kitten has quicky become an integral part of the family, and already you love and care for him like your own kid and want only the best for him.

Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance 2 months free Get a quick quoteDespite our best efforts, health issues can occur in kittens, and just like us, they can get sick for a variety of reasons.  To give your new family member the best care, it’s important to be aware of the most common health conditions that can affect kittens and what signs to look out for so that you can catch any issues early on.

Prevention is always better than cure, so we also bring you tips and advice on how to keep your fur baby safe and healthy.


The top 3 health conditions in kittens under 1 year and treatment costs

Cat care, kitten care Bow Wow Meow

With advances in veterinary care come increased costs of treatment. Here were the average treatment cost and highest treatment cost of the most common health conditions for kittens in 2023, as per PetSure claims data:



Average treatment cost

Highest treatment cost

1. Gastrointestinal disease $530 $9,963
2. Eye disease $294 $7,823
3. Skin infection / allergy $270 $4,433


1. Gastrointestinal disease

Kittens are curious creatures that often explore the world with their mouths, which can lead to ingesting things they shouldn’t, so it may not be surprising that gastrointestinal problems are common.

Kittens are more likely to have GI upsets relating to infections, parasites, and changes in diet, while in adult cats, issues like food intolerances and chronic inflammatory diseases of the GI tract are more frequent causes.

Signs of GI issues in kittens include vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation, loss of appetite or thirst, bloating or swelling of the tummy region, weight loss and behaviour changes.


Top health conditions in cats Bow Wow Meow


Preventing gastrointestinal problems in kittens

  • Feed your kitten an excellent, premium cat food and avoid those with by-products, artificial colours, flavours and fillers.
  • Provide unlimited clean water and if possible, invest in a water fountain.
  • Keep intestinal worming up to date to eliminate parasitic causes of gastrointestinal upsets.
  • Avoid snacks and limit human foods to prevent tummy upsets.
  • Keep your kitten indoors or in a safe play enclosure so that you know what she is exposed to.
  • Introduce new foods slowly to avoid digestive issues.
  • Groom you kitten’s coat regularly to prevent hairballs.


Learn more about vomiting in cats

Learn more about diarrhoea in cats


2. Eye problems

As a kitten’s immune system is still developing, eye problems can arise from infections, or they can be congenital issues (abnormalities that are present at birth, or shortly thereafter).

Signs of eye problems include rubbing and scratching around the eye area, extreme sensitivity to light, excessive squinting and blinking, discharge from the eyes, crustiness, and swelling and redness around the eyelid.

Cat care, kitten care Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance


Preventing eye problems in kittens

  • Regularly check for redness, discharge, cloudiness or pupil changes.
  • Clean away any discharge with a clean, damp cloth.
  • Trim hair around eyes for long-haired breeds to avoid irritation.
  • Keep smoke and chemicals away from your kitten’s eyes.
  • Treat any allergies to prevent eye complications.
  • Only use vet-prescribed eye medications.


Learn more about eye (ocular) anomaly in cats


3. Skin infection /allergy

Skin allergies and skin infections in young cats often result from parasites, food sensitivities, or environmental factors.

Redness, inflammation and irritation of the skin are common signs, sometimes with an odour to the affected areas. A patchy coat, hair loss or discolouration can also occur, and your kitten may scratch, bite, lick or rub at the site.

Cat care, kitten care Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance


Preventing skin problems in kittens

  • Brush your kitten often to remove dirt, loose hair and allergens.
  • Check the skin regularly for parasites or other issues.
  • Avoid exposure to common allergens that could irritate the skin or cause allergies.
  • Keep your kitten’s area clean to prevent dust and allergens from accumulating.


Learn more about skin allergies in cats


A final word…

Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance 2 months free Get a quick quoteYou can help keep your kitten safe and healthy by following the above advice. Also consider keeping your kitten indoors, increasing their water intake, accident-proofing their environment and having regular check ups at your vet.

Knowledge is your best weapon in keeping your kitty safe and healthy throughout their life. Knowing what to look out for and when to call the vet, and taking the necessary precautions to prevent illness or accidents from occuring, allows you to relax and enjoy your time together and be the best pet parent you can be!


Unsure how serious it is?

Bow Wow Meow policy holders can get a complimentary VetChat consult membership which gives you access to 24/7 online vet consults. If you are unsure about any symptoms your pet is experiencing, or have any concerns about your pet’s health, you can contact them anytime via video or live message.

Find out more about our pet insurance options


Consider pet insurance to help protect you and your kitten should an unexpected trip to the vet occur.




This article is written by

Nicky Klugman

Nicky is our Marketing Communications and Content Specialist. She is an animal-lover who is particularly interested in animal behaviour and the relationships between humans and their pets. While growing up, dogs were always an integral part of the family. Nicky is mum to three human sons and a rescue pup called Dobby.

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*Please note, any pet insurance advice provided is general only. Refer to the applicable Product Disclosure Statement for details of Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance cover.

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