Just as people become more disease-prone as they age, so do cats. Your cat is considered a senior when he turns 11 years old. Once he reaches this stage, you'll want to be on the lookout for these three diseases that often pop up in older cats.


Diabetes is a condition in which the body becomes inefficient at bringing sugar from the bloodstream into its cells. Usually, this is caused by a lack of insulin production by glands on the pancreas. Left untreated, diabetes will claim an older cat's life quite quickly, but you can extend your cat's life and keep him relatively healthy with insulin injections. If you notice these symptoms, you need to head to the vet and have you cat tested for diabetes.

  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Ravenous appetite
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination, which may include urinating outside of the litter box
  • A sweet smell to the urine
  • Extreme lethargy


When the cartilage in your cat's joints wears away, the bones may begin to grind directly against one another. This leads to pain and joint inflammation that make it harder for your cat to jump, climb chairs, and even walk. Signs of arthritis in cats include:

  • No longer spending time in high-up places that they used to love
  • Refusal to climb stairs or jump up on furniture
  • Hesitation before jumping or climbing
  • Less activity in general (your cat may spend more time lounging around and less time playing)

There are so many ways to make an arthritic cat more comfortable. Your vet may prescribe pain relievers for you to give once a day. Giving your cat a heating pad to rest on will help ease his pain and stiffness, too. Move your cat's food and litter box so they do not have to jump or climb stairs to reach it.

Urinary-Tract Infections

Older cats sometimes lose their sense of thirst. They may not drink enough, and this leads to infections in the urinary tract. These are signs of a UTI in cats.

  • Urinating outside the litter box
  • Attempting to pass urine, though nothing comes out
  • Meowing or growling in pain during urination
  • Blood in the urine

Thankfully, UTIs are easy to treat with antibiotics from your vet. Your vet may also recommend switching to a moist food or giving your cat some chicken broth each day to increase their water intake and prevent future infections.

Talk your cat to an organization such as Covington Veterinary Hospital PC to get more personalized information about issues that your cat may run into.