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Diseases in Older Cats

If your cat is over 8, we strongly recommend that you book a FREE Senior Pet MOT, where he or she will be examined, particularly looking for some of the common problems affecting our "senior citizens".

Kidney disease

While this is the most common fatal disease in older cats, we can often manage the problem and improve your pet's quality of life, as well as lengthen his or her life span, if we diagnose it early on. A simple urine test which we can perform in our on-site laboratory will show some early warning signs of kidney disease, before you see any noticeable change in your cat.


When your cat is stiff or slow to get up, he or she is sore! It is one of the signs of ageing that is easy to treat. Arthritis is often unrecognised in pets till it is quite advanced. It is estimated that 80% of cats over the age of twelve have arthritis. Most are sleeping more - not because they are sleepier as they get older - but because moving is not very comfortable. There is no good reason for a pet to be in discomfort or pain, and we now have many different options to help us treat this condition and make arthritic pets happier.

Bowel disease

This is common among all cats. It may go unnoticed at home, especially with cats that do not use an indoor litter tray. While it is very uncomfortable, it is usually easy to control. However bowel problems can take a while to get better, especially if your pet has had the condition for a while.

Dental disease

Dental disease affects 85% of pets over 6. Many owners assume that they will notice that their cat has teeth problems because he or she will show that they are in pain when they eat, but pets usually eat well despite being in pain. A 'bad' (and smelly) mouth is full of bacteria, and once those bacteria get into the blood stream they can spread to the internal organs. This often leads to serious problems such as kidney and heart disease which will develop slowly and quietly over many months, sometimes years.


Increasingly common, this disease requires life-long management, but the earlier it is detected, the better the outlook for your pet. Also, with Senior Pet health checks we can look for any factors that may make your pet prone to diabetes and reduce the risk.

Heart disease

This is very common in older cats. Many older pets with heart disease have had it for a while by the time we pick it up. Once we find it, we can usually slow down disease changes in the heart, but all the changes that have already happened are permanent. These animals then have to live with that damage, although we try to make their lives as comfortable and fulfilling as possible.

Liver disease

This is a serious illness which can be very difficult to manage, and a fair number of affected animals do die because of it. Fortunately, it is quite rare, but affected pets can be unwell for a very long time, and early detection is vital for successful treatment.


Changes in behaviour or toileting habits can be an early sign of brain ageing. More can be done than you might think, but early treatment is essential. It also takes a long time to work, so it is unwise to leave such a problem until it is having a marked effect on your pet, your family or both.

Thyroid disease

This is a common disease in older cats. It leads to heart and kidney disease, but is easily treatable if picked up early.


A tumour is one of the most common diseased of ageing pets. Early diagnosis dramatically improves the outlook.

Weight change

This is one of the first signs of many of the above diseases. Being overweight can also cause most of them. It is thought that over 60% of older pets are overweight. This affects not only your pet's health, but also how much he or she enjoys life. Weight loss can also be an early warning sign of underlying disease.