Photo of Ragdoll by HollyWata
Someone once said that cats do not age but become more sophisticated. We wish this was true. All ageing creatures become more and more vulnerable to various diseases. To keep your elderly cat in good shape, do not forget to periodically visit a veterinarian for a check-up. Here's a list of common health problems in older cats.

Common health problems in older cats

Overweight. Obesity is a serious problem in older cats. Excessive weight reduces the life span of the animal. Overweight cats suffer from diabetes, liver diseases (Gaucher's disease) and urogenital system diseases. It is important that your old cat keeps to a diet to prevent obesity.
Teeth problems and gingivitis (gum inflammation) are quite common in older cats. If you don't start to take care the teeth in time, your cat can lose them. Delay can also result into various infections of the mouth and contamination of healthy teeth.
Kidney diseases. It is important to detect kidney diseases as early as possible. When cats have kidney diseases, they are usually put on a special diet. The earlier the disease is found, the better. In time treatment can prolong and improve the quality of your cat's life. Kidney diseases can be diagnosed by blood and other tests.
Hyperthyroidism (Graves' disease) develops because of excessive activity of the thyroid gland. There are several treatment options, which can only be prescribed by a veterinarian.
Diabetes. Unlike humans, most diabetic cats cannot be cured by change in the diet only. Such cats have to get insulin injections every day. In some cases a veterinarian prescribes oral medication and an appropriate diet, which can eliminate the daily injections.
Hypertension. Cats with untreated hypertension (high blood pressure - HBP) may develop sudden blindness or heart disease. Sometimes hypertension is caused by kidney diseases or hyperthyroidism.
Heart diseases. The most common heart disease in older cats is the hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM or HOCM). This disease often comes together with hyperthyroidism or hypertension. An early detection and treatment of heart diseases can slow down their progress and therefore prolong your cat's life.