Below is a list of the most expensive conditions to treat and some tips on how you can prevent them. Please note that some of the conditions are preventable and some aren't. The tips below are how to avoid the "preventable" conditions.
1. Foreign Body Ingestion (Small Intestine) - This condition is entirely preventable. A foreign body is caused by the ingestion of an object that can't pass through the intestine. Common foreign body objects ingested by cats include tread, string, yard, shoelaces and nipples off baby bottles. How can you prevent it? Keep all yard, string and tread away from your cat. Observe his behavior when playing with his toys. If he chews on and ingests anything or starts vomiting - call your veterinarian or local emergency clinic immediately.
2. Urinary Tract Obstruction - This condition is probably genetic in nature and probably not a lot you can do to prevent, it. However, you can minimize problems in some cats by making sure they get plenty of liquids in their diet. Some veterinarians recommend feeding canned food as it contains a higher percentage of water content than dry, using automatic waterers or stimulating drinking by changing the water, topping off the water bowl frequently or adding an ice cube to the water.
3. Foreign Body Ingestion (Stomach) - This condition is also preventable. This is similar to condition #1 but the foreign object is caught in the stomach rather than the intestine. Keep all items that your cat might ingest out of his reach. Observe his behavior when playing with toys to ensure he doesn't try to "eat" them.
4. Rectal Cancer - Unfortunately, there is nothing that we know of that can prevent this condition.
5. Bladder Stones - Unfortunately, there is nothing that we know of that can prevent this condition. You may minimize this condition by ensuring that your cat has plenty of fresh clean water at all times and encourage him to drink. Ensure he is eating a good quality cat food. If your cat has a history of bladder stones, there are stone prevention diets that can help to minimize the chance of reoccurrence.
6. Intestinal Cancer - Unfortunately, there is nothing that we know of that can prevent this condition.
7. Hyperthyroidism (Radiation) - Unfortunately, there is nothing that we know of that can prevent this condition. However, early diagnosis can help prevent complications. Common signs are weight loss with a good appetite in a cat over the age of 8 years.
8. Fibrosarcoma (Skin Cancer) - Unfortunately, there is nothing that we know of that can totally prevent this condition. Some studies suggest one cause of these conditions are vaccinations, with the cancer occurring at injection sites. Discuss what vaccines your cat needs based on his risk profile and age. Early diagnosis is important. Report any skin lumps to your veterinarian.
9. Acute Renal Failure - There are some causes of acute renal failure that can be prevented. The most common preventable causes of acute renal failure in cats are ingestion of antifreeze and/or ingestion of Easter Lily's. Keep all antifreeze and plants out of the reach of your cat.
10. Mast Cell Tumors - Unfortunately, there is nothing that we know of that can prevent this condition.
We hope these tips will help you prevent problems in your cat. Hopefully your cat won't ever acquire these conditions. But, if something ever happens, it is best to be prepared. Consider if pet insurance is right for you.