The Most Common Ailments in Older Cats (and How to Treat Them)
It’s part of the natural order of life: we’re born, we age, and we pass. Such is true with humans and every other creature – but the quality of the journey is what makes life worth living. While we can express and act on conditions and ailments that bother us, our pets don’t have such a luxury. As such, it is imperative that we recognize the signs of aging and illness and do all we can to provide them with a better quality of life.
Cats, in particular, are susceptible to a variety of ailments as they age: what are they, and how can they be treated? Let’s look at the most common ailments you can expect to see in older cats and detail what can be done about them.
Much like in humans, cardiovascular problems are a top contender for illness as cats become older. A complex series of factors including diet, level of activity, and genetic markers can increase or reduce the chances of heart disease. Medications from a veterinarian are available to slow heart rates, ease blood pressure, and otherwise take the strain off the heart. Unfortunately, there are no cures or treatments for heart issues related to an enlarging of the heart, in most cases, but some can be treated before causing other enlarged heart-related complications.
Arthritis and Joint Problems
Bone and joint-related problems are a primary cause of deterioration for cats as they age, limiting their mobility and sometimes even leading to an inability to walk. Since they cannot vocalize their constant pain in a way that is understandable, it is generally safe to assume that any cat 10 years of age or older is living with this ailment. Substances such as CBD oil for pets have been shown to improve joint function and help with pain management, along with other health benefits unrelated to arthritis and joint problems.
A common ailment among indoor cats and those fed corn-based diets, diabetes inevitably becomes an issue if a cat lives long enough. Diabetes can be caused by several factors relating to diet and genetics, but the high-carb, low-protein diet is the biggest culprit. Managing diabetes in older cats often requires a two-part approach: eliminating carbohydrates from their diets and providing them with insulin to manage their blood sugar levels. While potentially expensive, the symptoms and ailment are manageable with proper care and diet.
While not unique to cats, kidney-related illnesses are disproportionately common in felines. These can be caused by simple age, as well as poor diet and genetic factors. Constant urination, excessive water consumption, and weight loss are the most common signs of a feline kidney problem. If left untreated, this can turn into renal failure – which is fatal. Ultimately, everything from changes in diet to surgery can alleviate the problem, depending on the exact type of problem and its severity.
Cats can suffer from many of the same ailments as we do, but some issues are simply more common. Kidney problems, joint issues, diabetes, and heart disease are among the four most common ailments that affect the quality of life of cats. If you believe your furry friend is suffering from one or more of these issues, take action immediately and get them the treatment they need.