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6 Issues Your Cat May Encounter as It Gets Older & How to Handle Them
Cats don’t always look or act their age. But as they get older, their health complications may reveal this bit by bit. There are many common issues your cat could develop as it ages, but also many ways to help them cope with those health hurdles.

 

1. Dental Disease

Humans and cats are alike in that as they age, their teeth become more susceptible to disease. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that older cats often suffer from dental disease.

One of the first signs of dental disease is difficulty chewing. If your cat struggles to eat food they once loved or constantly drops their food, they could have dental disease. This is caused by the plaque and tartar that accumulates over time. Unless you regularly clean your cat’s teeth, you're likely to encounter this problem.

If you notice your cat showing signs of dental disease, you should schedule a professional cleaning for them. In some cases, a veterinarian might recommend antibiotics, tooth scaling, or tooth removal. The treatment method depends on the type of dental disease as well as the severity of the problem.

2. Failing Vision

Poor vision is another side effect of age. In senior felines, issues like cataracts and glaucoma are common. Signs of impaired vision include cloudy eyes, dilated pupils, and bumping into objects.

As with some of the other age-related medical issues, medication may help. However, this isn’t always the case. Glaucoma often requires some type of pain control, as the pain can severely affect your cat’s quality of life. Other ways to protect your cat include the following:

  • Moving furniture to create a clear path
  • Using your voice to guide your cat
  • Block stairways
  • Cover sharp corners with soft material
  • Place a bell on other animals in the residence

 3. Cancer

As a cat ages, it has an increased chance of developing cancer. In fact, approximately 32% of cats will be diagnosed with cancer. Although there are several types that can develop in cats, lymphosarcoma is one of the most common. Regardless of what cancer your cat has, detecting it early could be the key to successful treatment.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, your cat could have cancer:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lumps or bumps that grow
  • Sores that don’t improve
  • Bleeding from orifices
  • Body odor
  • Reduced energy levels
  • Difficulty breathing

In the event that you notice any of the above symptoms, you should immediately take your pet to the veterinarian. If they find evidence of cancer, you need to begin treatment. Some owners are even using pet-friendly CBD products to help with ease discomfort and stress. According to recent studies, CBD is safe and effective in both cats and dogs.

4. Arthritis

The older your cat, the more likely they are to show signs of arthritis. According to several studies, 90% of cats over the age of 12 will develop signs of the painful ailment.

Typically, cats who are suffering from the disease will have difficulty jumping on furniture or going up and down stairs. They may find it challenging to groom themselves or they could look stiff after grooming. If you believe that your cat has arthritis, you should seek advice from an experienced veterinarian.

Although there is no cure, there are ways in which you can treat and the symptoms of arthritis. For instance, your veterinarian might recommend pain medication. In overweight cats, a weight-loss regiment makes a difference and limits their discomfort. By reducing your cat’s joint pain, you can improve their quality of life.

5. Hyperthyroidism

Typically, cats get lazier and less hungry as they age. But if your cat has more energy and a greater appetite in their old age, they could have hyperthyroidism. After running some blood work, your veterinarian will be able to determine whether or not your cat has the disease.

Unfortunately, cats who have hyperthyroidism are more likely to develop heart disease or kidney failure. Common treatment options for the disease include dietary changes, surgery, iodine therapy, and medication. Even with hypothyroidism, your pet can be a healthy cat.

6. Hearing Loss

While cats have very strong senses, they diminish over time. An aging cat could have hearing loss, which may affect their quality of life. You’ll notice that they don’t come when called or react to loud noises. 

Cats can still rely on their other senses to get around, but you should take some precautions to make life easier on them. Namely, you should come up with other ways to communicate with them. Stomp your feet or use hand signals to get their attention. Your actions can help your cat cope with their senior issues.

While health issues in cats can be difficult to deal with, it’s important to know the signs and be prepared for anything that could come along as your cat gets older. Knowing the signs and what you can do about these health issues will allow you to more easily care for an aging cat!


 About the Author

Aaron Smith is a writer and copy strategist for several companies and nonprofits. He often covers topics important to pet owners, and is a dedicated dog dad to his three pups: Buddy, Roxy, and Kaya.