Common Health Problems in Older Cats

Common Health Problems in Older Cats

Although cats tend not to show the signs of aging that dogs do, they can experience a number of problems as they age. By looking out for signs that your cat is uncomfortable you will be able to get them the help they need to enjoy the rest of their lives in comfort.


Common Health Problems in Older Cats

1. Kidney disease

As with humans the kidneys job is to get rid of waste from your cat's body. The kidney acts as a filter, however when the kidneys are damaged, the filtration system is not as effective causing waste to build up in the blood stream. This is what causes chronic kidney problems.


The signs include:

  • Weight loss
  • Appetite loss
  • Vomiting
  • Extreme thirst

2. Heart Disease

Cats can have a number of problems with their hearts as they age with one of the most common being cardiomyopathy. This is when the heart muscle thickens and the heart gets bigger in physical size. This is usually more prominent in pure breeds when they reach their middle ages.


Symptoms include:

  • Fast breathing
  • Blue or grey tinge to gums and/or tongue
  • Going off food
  • Lethargy
  • Paralysis of hind limbs


3. Arthritis

As with humans, arthritis in cats occurs because the bones are aging. Arthritis in cats is often misdiagnosed by owners as being simply a sign that they are getting older, but arthritis can be extremely painful and help should be sought by a medical practitioner for diagnosis and treatment.  


Signs that your cat may have arthritis include:

  • Becoming less active
  • Sleeping more frequently
  • Less agile than they once were


To make things easier and less painful for your cat, you should lower surfaces that food is kept on and any perches they have to rest upon.

4. Diabetes

Diabetes is more common in cats that are overweight. It causes the blood glucose levels to increase and your cat may need insulin injections to regulate the levels. Diagnosis is important as soon as possible so they get the right treatment for good health. Common signs include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Appetite change
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Change in activity levels

5. Hyperthyroidism

If your can has hyperthyroidism, they will have a thyroid gland disease. Effects will vary depending on your cat, but they include:

  • Weight loss
  • Changes in appetite
  • Extreme thirst
  • Over activity
  • Increased heart rate
  • Poor coat quality

6. Cancer

Again, as with humans, cancer is also common in felines. There are many  different types cats can get with a number of different symptoms. This is why older cats should visit their vet for regular check-ups as part of their care to catch cancer cells as early as possible. The most common cancers in cats include oral squamous and leukemia. The symptoms include:

  • Decrease in appetite
  • Weight loss


The best way to ensure your cat is as healthy as possible is to arrange for regular check-ups as they get older and are more prone to developing health problems. A vet will be able to pick up on changes that you may not, but if you are concerned in between appointments you should make an additional appointment and let your vet know your concerns, so that they can check your cat over thoroughly and treat any problems if necessary.

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