Common Health Problems for Senior Cats: What You Need to Know

Cats seem to age more gently than dogs. They are good at hiding things, too. Sometimes these common health problems for senior cats may go unnoticed if you don’t know what to look for. The good news is, if you work alongside your vet, your loving attention and care can go a long way toward keeping your senior cat comfortable and happy for as long as possible.

Arthritis in Older Cats

Recent studies have found that about 90% of older cats show signs of arthritis. Watch for signs like difficulty jumping, stiffness, or peeing outside of the litterbox because it hurts to climb inside. If these signs become evident in your senior cat, your veterinarian will have some suggestions to ease your cat’s pain.

Cancer in Older Cats

Nobody wants to think about someone they love getting cancer, including their pets. Sadly, cancer is becoming more common in all species, and as much as 30% of cats over the age of 10 will be diagnosed with a form of this terrible disease. Watch for signs like a decrease in appetite, lumps or bumps that get bigger in size, sores that refuse to heal, unusual bleeding or discharge, lack of energy, or difficulty breathing. Acting fast is crucial if you notice any of these signs of cancer in your cat.

Dental Issues

Keeping your cat’s teeth clean is important. Plaque and tartar can really build up over time and cause issues for your pet. If you notice that your cat is having a hard time chewing, call your vet to have a dental check-up and cleaning to help keep your cat as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

Failing Eyesight

Just like humans, cats can develop problems with their eyesight as they get older, including cataracts and glaucoma. Sometimes medication or surgery can help provide relief for your senior cat. Talk to your vet about the options if you notice that your cat can’t see as well as he used to.

Loss of Hearing

Your cat may experience loss of hearing as he ages, too. You’ll need to find other ways to get his attention, like petting or hand signals.


Cats that display an overly excessive appetite and a burst of energy may have developed hypothyroidism. This condition occurs when the thyroid gland produces way more hormone than is needed. Cats with this condition are more prone to hypertension, kidney failure, and heart disease, especially if the condition isn’t treated. If you notice drastic changes in your cat’s appetite and energy levels, a trip to the vet is in order.

Kidney Disease

One of the most common issues for senior cats is kidney failure. Regular veterinary exams are the best way to catch this disease early. The condition is not reversible, but there are things that can be done to make your cat more comfortable and help your cat live longer with a better quality of life.