7 Common Illnesses In Elderly Cats That You Should Know About

7 Common Illnesses In Elderly Cats That You Should Know About

It is common for cat parents to notice a change in their elderly cats’ behaviors. This may be due to the common illnesses that are most common in this age group of felines. In order to prevent these common illnesses from worsening, here are some signs you should look out for.


Liver Failure 

No mammal can live without its liver and cats are no exception. Liver failure is unfortunately fatal for your feline pets and you should learn the signs your cat is dying so that you can know whether you can save it or it’s time to put it to sleep.

Liver failure means that your cat is not able to filter toxins out of its body anymore which will lead to common illnesses in elderly cats. 

If this organ breaks down, substances that are usually broken down by it can build up and cause damage. You need to be careful what you’re giving your cat so that it will remain healthy.

The most common symptoms for liver failure would be the following:

  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting (sometimes with blood)
  • diarrhea (also bloody sometimes)
  • lethargy
  • fatigue



Another common ailment in senior cats is hyperthyroidism. This condition causes an overactive thyroid gland, which speeds up the cat’s metabolism and leads to weight loss despite eating more food than usual.

The common symptoms of this illness are increased appetite, increased thirst, rapid heart rate, panting after little or no exercise, vomiting, and diarrhea that may be due to a lack of absorption by the intestines if there isn’t enough water intake from drinking more fluids.

A veterinarian will diagnose hyperthyroidism with blood tests. Some common treatments for this ailment include medication to control it as well as surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid gland depending on how severe the case might be.

Heart Disease 

Just like with humans, the cats’ heart weakens over time. When it does, the heart is not able to pump blood as efficiently or effectively throughout its body.

When this happens with your cats, common symptoms include vomiting and breathlessness. If you notice your older cat struggling to breathe for no apparent reason, call your vet immediately! It may be a symptom of heart disease so they will need treatment right away.

If left untreated, heart disease can lead to congestive heart failure which could ultimately result in death if the condition goes untreated long enough.

Feline Urinary Tract Disease 

A urinary tract disease is a painful and annoying disease common in cats. The feline urinary system is made up of kidneys, ureters, bladder, and the urethra which carries urine out of the body through a tube called the urethra.

Because their urinary tract is so small, it’s common for elderly kitties to contract some form of illness related to this system because they are unable to move around as easily, thus creating more stress on their organs.

A common disease that affects older felines is Urinary Tract Disease (UTD), also known as feline lower urinary tract disease or FLUTD. This condition shows itself when crystals start developing inside your cat’s bladder while at other times inflammation will appear within these tubes due to bacterial infection improper pH levels.


Unfortunately, older cats are in a far bigger danger of getting cancer than younger ones. This is a common illness in older animals because their immune system becomes weaker with age.

They might also have a genetic predisposition to developing cancer cells or they could develop the disease due to environmental factors such as prolonged exposure to sunlight without protection from sunscreen lotions, carcinogenic materials found outdoors like asbestos, herbicides, or pesticides, etc.

In order for your cat not to get any type of cancer, it is important to take good care of them by keeping up regular checkups at the vet.


Arthritis is common in cats and especially with senior felines. In fact, it’s one of the most common age-related conditions seen by veterinarians. “Arthritis” literally means inflammation or swelling around a joint which can cause pain and stiffness within that area.

In order to help treat arthritis in your cat, you should have some regular check-ups and well-visits with your veterinarian, who can give you specific advice on how to best take care of your cat.

Dental Disease

The cats’ teeth will start to get weaker and weaker as they age. This can lead to dental disease and teeth falling out or breaking off, which is very common in older cats.

If you notice your cat having problems eating its food, this could be due to a tooth problem. If the tooth falls completely out, then it will become difficult for them to eat without pain because of the exposed nerve.

Dental disease is common amongst the elderly, so brushing your cat’s teeth at least twice a week can help prevent problems down the line!

Just like other pets, cats become part of your family, and you’d always want the best for them. Unfortunately, diseases like liver failure, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, urinary tract, and dental disease are common when they reach old age. It’s important for you to recognize the symptoms to either treat them or ease their suffering and euthanize them. Sometimes it’s a hard choice but the best one!


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