5 Common Health Problems of Senior Cats

Sharing is caring!

Compared to dogs, cats are quite good at hiding the symptoms of any ailment. They are natural predators, so they loathe showing that they are weak. They cover up any sign of weakness, and that’s why it can be challenging to tell whether your senior cat is suffering from a health problem.

In this post, we’ll look at some of the most common medical conditions that aging cats experience and that you should be prepared for as your feline friend becomes older.


This degenerative joint disease affects all aging mammals (humans included), so it can affect cats, as well. The condition is painful, and it involves the cartilage of the joints wearing down until the bones scrape against each other.

Arthritis can be genetic, but it can also be caused by old injuries that haven’t healed correctly. If your cat is obese, the excess weight can cause even more pain. 

Some of the signs that your senior cat might be suffering from in arthritis range from her being reluctant to going up and down the stairs to having trouble jumping on the couch next to you. 


Cats don’t usually suffer from hypothyroidism, but it is actually quite common in older cats. This disease can cause a severe hormonal imbalance, which makes cats become overactive and also lose weight. It also causes excess thirst, shedding, and hunger. 

As much food as the cat might eat, she doesn’t put on weight. Chronic constipation is common in most cats that have hyperthyroidism, in which case you’d have to get the best cat laxative to help your feline friend’s digestive problem. 

The problem with hyperthyroidism is that most of its symptoms are common to a variety of other age-related diseases. However, your vet can perform a blood test that can reveal the hormonal imbalance. Treating this disease typically involves medication for keeping the hormone level in check. 

Dental disease

You probably know that older people have to get teeth implants as their own start falling off at some point. This is due to mineral deficiencies, but also the fact that teeth get older and degrade just like any other organ. They are particularly prone to getting damaged when an animal or person eats things that are hard to chew. 

But dental disease can also be caused by periodontitis, for example, which can be very common in senior cats. Periodontal disease is caused by plaque that leads to gum disease. 

Some of the clinical signs that you can notice if your senior feline buddy has periodontal disease range from red or swollen gums to terrible breath. Gum bleeding is also common. 

Another complicated and somewhat hard to treat disease is stomatitis. Stomatitis often causes ulcers and swelling in the mouth, and in cats that also have chronic diseases such as FIV or FeLV, it can be recurring. 

Sometimes, tooth removal can be the right solution to the problem, but in most cases, treatment involves the use of steroids and antibiotics. The only way to prevent dental disease in senior cats is to make sure that your kitty’s teeth are cleaned often. Since cats can be extremely difficult when it comes to tooth brushing, you can take her to the vet to get tartar removal and other cleaning procedures done by a professional.  

Kidney failure

Kidney failure is another common health problem of senior cats. Although the case can sometimes be unknown, most vets link it to other chronic conditions such as hyperthyroidism or high blood pressure. 

Cats can have two types of kidney failure — acute and chronic. Acute kidney failure can be caused by toxic substances from plants or products such as antifreeze. Chronic kidney failure is, however, the typical kind that affects our feline friends — and it’s characterized by excessive thirst and changes in the cat’s bathroom habits.

What’s important to note about feline kidney failure is that it is a question of long-term management rather than actually treating it. Urine testing and annual blood work are important because they can give you the opportunity to prevent this disease and effectively increase your cat’s life span. It is important to pay attention to your cat’s diet as well. Giving your cat kidney chews from Scruffy Paws with scientifically backed ingredients will help your cat’s kidney function and keep it healthy in the long-term.


One of the most prevalent types of cancer in cats is lymphoma. If you feel any unusual lumps when you pet your feline friend, you should get to the vet as soon as possible. The issue with lymphoma is that it usually develops inside the gastrointestinal tract, which can cause stool problems, weight loss, as well as vomiting. 

There are, of course, many other forms of cancer that cats can develop, such as mammary tumors and others. Mammary cancer is common in cats that weren’t spayed before their first heat cycle. Many studies have found that cats that are spayed before getting in heat for the first time have about 90% fewer chances of developing mammary and ovarian cancer than cats that were spayed after their first cycle or even later. 

Fortunately, veterinary oncology has improved a lot over the past decade, which is why many cancers in cats are now treatable. The three typical cancer therapies currently available are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, but the latter is rarely used on cats since it can be painful and can have a lot of side effects. Surgery can be performed only if the tumor is operable and if it hasn’t metastasized. 

Helping your cat live a long and healthy life

Prevention is key if you want to enjoy the companionship of your feline friend for as long as possible and also make your cat’s senior years as happy and pain-free as possible. That’s why checkups at the vet’s office are recommended at least twice a year. Blood work and urine tests can reveal many things, especially in an older cat.

A senior cat also needs more attention than an adult. If your time allows you to, try to keep an eye on your pet’s bathroom habits and any other changes in their behavior. Just remember that cats are extremely good at covering up any illness. 

Some of the most concerning signs are lethargy, becoming more aggressive, hiding more often, as well as urinating outside the litter box (which could be a sign of a urinary infection or kidney failure, but also feline dementia).

Sharing is caring!

Speak Your Mind