The tabby cat is, in fact, not a distinct breed but rather a classification of color. This can make it somewhat difficult to pinpoint a list of common health issues to be aware of. There are, however, a variety of cat breeds in which this pattern is most common. Based on the most common traits of a tabby, there are some health issues to look out for.
Tabby cats are distinguished by the striped pattern appearing on the entirety of the body. This coloration developed 3,000 years ago and has been recognized in various cave paintings. All domestic cats are technically tabby cats; however, in some the tabby pattern is masked by non-tabby colors. Short-haired tabbies often have muscular, dense bodies that lend themselves to their most dangerous health issue.
The compact and muscular nature of these cats gives them a tendency to become obese. If allowed, they will overeat on any occasion. Obesity is, in fact, a common condition not exclusive to the tabby. Any cat owner needs to aware of the dangers of overfeeding. Tabby cats need to have their daily food intake restricted to a reasonable amount. The best way to do so is to feed the tabby a set amount of food at the same time every day.
A tendency towards obesity in tabby cats also leads to diabetes. Tabby cats experience diabetes mellitus, or "sugar" diabetes, in which the hormone insulin is unable to regulate blood glucose levels. This condition is more common in older, male tabby cats. The most common symptoms include frequent urination and excessive thirst. Your veterinarian will able to determine if your cat is diabetic through a series of blood tests. This condition can be managed with daily shots of insulin.
Kidney disease, in the form of chronic renal failure, is a more common condition in tabby cats over the age of 4. The first signs are, as in diabetes, increased thirst and increased urination. For this condition, there is unfortunately no cure. The symptoms may be made more manageable with drugs from your veterinarian and with dietary supplements.
Disease Prevention and Diet
The best way to maintain your tabby cat's health is to provide a balanced diet. Providing a mixture of dry and wet cat foods can help prevent serious conditions such as kidney failure. Do not feed "people" food to your cat. This will only encourage obesity and diabetes.