Answer: Elderly cats can present numerous problems as they become geriatric, but the big 4 to watch for are
Thyroid, and
Kidney disease.
Similar to our dog in the first question, cats also get arthritis, although it is often not as severe as in dogs, or at least cats more readily hide pain and you do not know they have a problem until it is advanced. Also, the medications we use in cats is usually different than in dogs (please do not use your dog’s medication for your cat, it could be toxic).
The “C” word is scary for us and also for our pets. Cancer in cats can be very aggressive, and you need to catch it and treat it early. Some of the things we can do are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
The thyroid gland can be a problem in older cats if it becomes overactive, we call this Hyperthyroidism. The hallmark sign of this is a cat that is losing weight with a ravenous appetite. This is usually treated at first with nutrition and later maybe medication, radiation or surgery.
The kidneys are a common organ to have problems in older cats. A common complaint is that the cat ADR (Ain’t Doing Right). Caught early enough, we can help these cats with prescription diets and medications. All of these conditions need to be managed with your veterinarian. We recommend regular checkups and diagnostic screening tests because early detection and therapy is the key to successful outcomes.