Common Diseases in Older Cats
Can be caught very early if you understand the warning signs

Common diseases in older cats will begin to show several symptoms if you are aware of them and understand what to look for.

However, it is important for any owner of an older cat to understand that these signs may not necessarily mean that your cat is developing a disease, but their chances increase with age.


As your cat ages, they will begin to develop various changes in the functions of all of their vital organs.

Because of this, if these changes cause any of the symptoms, you should immediately have your cat checked by your veterinarian.

Some changes are expected, but if it is indeed one of the following diseases, the symptoms will begin to become much more severe.

If this does occur, the affected organ or system in your cat may no longer operate properly.


Common diseases in older cats will always start with the threat of cancer as it is the most common killer of an older cat.

Although there are several forms that can affect older cats, there is a wide range of early symptoms that you can watch for in this killer.

The most common form of any type of cancer will be an abnormal swelling of any kind.

Older catsAfter cancer dental diseases are the most common

It usually starts out quite small, may actually subside form a period of time, but if it is persistent and does not go away, the chances are very high that it will increases in size.

Sores that will not heal regardless of what you do to them are the next signs of this dreaded disease.

If this does occur, the next symptom is usually bleeding or some type of a discharge from this sore.

Once these symptoms do surface, your cat may suddenly lose their appetite.

Weight loss is common in older cats, but it is usually very gradual. With cancer, it is often very rapid.

As the cancer progresses, your cat may also start to have a very difficult time eating or swallowing, which speeds up the weight loss.

Once this occurs, they will also begin to experience difficulty in breathing, urinating, or defecating.

However, there is one symptom that will almost always confirm that your cat has cancer if combined with any of these sign: offensive odor.

This will not be a normal type of an odor and although you may have never smelled it before, you will know it when you smell it.

Dental Disease

Common diseases in older cats will almost always include some type of a dental disease and this condition is quite easy for an owner to identity.

The obvious first symptom will be bad breath that is very rapidly followed by a difficulty in eating or swallowing.

Weight loss will also be involved, but it will be much slower than with cancer.

But the two most telling of the symptoms will the onset of drooling, which is very uncommon in cats, as well as the ability to hold food in their mouth.

If you cat starts to drop food on a consistent basis, they have dental problems.


The next type of common diseases in older cats is hyperthyroidism, but this disease will throw you a curve ball if you do not fully understand what to look for.

The reason is that some of the symptoms are almost oxy-moronic in nature.

Your cat will gradually have an increase in their activity level, which is uncommon in older cats, and they will have an increased appetite.

This is also very uncommon; however, here is where the curve ball comes into play. Your cat will also start to lose weight even with the increased appetite.

However, now the dangerous symptoms will begin to develop. They will start with vomiting, but will also include a development of either a labored breathing or an increase in respiration.

Once this occurs, your cats pulse or heart rate will also increase, which can be very dangerous.

Kidney Disease or Failure

Outside of cancer, this is perhaps one of the most common diseases in older cats.

This disease has very district symptoms that will begin with an increase in thirst followed by an increase in urination by your older cat.

They may also begin to vomit, lose their appetite, as well as become deeply depressed.

They may also develop diarrhea that is almost black in color or very tarry in nature. Bad breath and oral ulcers are also key symptoms of kidney failure.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Common diseases in older cats also include inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD.

It generally starts with diarrhea, and instead of black and tarry like kidney failure, it will contain mucous or blood that is still reddish in color.

The classic symptoms of IBD in older cats starts with an increase in the frequency of defecation, which almost always turns into situations where your cat starts to defect outside of the litter box.


Diabetes Mellitus

This disease often affects middle aged cats, but it may also start when cats become older.

Depending on its severity, it can cause either a weight gain or a weight loss.

Even with a weight gain, it can cause a gradual weakness in your cat which will lead to a gradual and then very apparent decrease in activity.

But the most telling of all symptoms with Diabetes mellitus is when your cat starts to walk on their hocks, which is very unusual.

Feline Hepatic Lipidosis

While common diseases in older cats will always include obesity, this is a very dangerous condition where an obese cat suddenly losses their appetite.

Because of this, they will suddenly start to lose weight but this is the dangerous way to do it.

With this disease, you will most likely see several behavioral changes in your cat almost overnight.

If you suspect this disease, immediately check your cats gums. If they are yellow, they most likely have contracted hepatic lipidosis.

Heart Disease

Contrary to a lot of misconception, this is not one of the more common diseases in older cats.

But if they do develop a heart condition, the first signs you will see is almost a complete stop in any type of physical activity.

Your cat will also develop both a labored and increased rate of breathing, but there is also one very chilling symptom with this disease.

Your cat will begin to lose strength in their rear legs, and as the disease intensifies, they will become paralyzed in their rear legs.


Common diseases in older cats will also include anemia, liver disease, bladder stones, as well as arthritis, but not with the same frequency.

Although the symptoms of any of these diseases are certainly not conclusive, they are generally indicators that something is starting to go wrong with your older cat.

Catching the signs early may give you a year or two more with your cat.

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