Elderly Cat Health Problems

Elderly Cat Health Problems include some differences from those of younger cats. To prevent, diagnose, and treat problems, they need more frequent vet exams, regular blood screening tests, different food, perhaps supplements added to their food, and a closer eye in general on how they drink, eat, urinate, and defecate. Elderly Cat Health Problems can present in many different ways. My answer to the following question gives one good example. At the bottom of this page you will also find links to many other pages, written by visitors just like you, concerning their senior cat's health problems and symptoms.


Our 18-year-old cat had two teeth removed in 11/08. Sincethen, she has had some difficulty eating wet food. Within the past month or so,this has increased.

She eats the wet food as if she were "eating glass". Aftereating, we hear some sounds as if she has food "stuck" in her mouth.

She sneezes after eating and has green mucus in her right nostril. Her righteye is weeping slightly intermittently. The sneezing is directly related witheating. She has no decrease in appetite.

She has been on antibiotics for twodays, but seems to be having more difficulty with eating. She will eat dry foodreadily, but often vomits this as she eats it quickly, swallows it whole anddoes not digest it well.

She is alert and there are no other symptoms. Anythoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated.


Hi, Wendy,

Thank you for writing. Elderly cat health problems can present in varied ways. In spite of your kitty's good appetite, I am concerned about her health.

There are a few different things that could be responsible for her symptoms. To begin with, cats of all ages often have upper respiratory infections. Signs include discharge from the eyes and nose and sneezing. It is most often viral in origin, but cats often develop secondary bacterial infections and antibiotics may help.

You will not necessarily see improvement after only 2 days of antibiotics. Also, your kitty may be on the wrong antibiotic. You don't say if a vet prescribed the antibiotics. Even if a veterinarian was the source, unless a culture of the nasal secretions was performed, the antibiotic could not necessarily be the right one.

Cats with a typical upper respiratory infection most often lose their appetite, either partially or completely. The most common exception that I see are cats with chronic herpes infections. If that is what she has, she would undoubtedly have had intermittent outbreaks throughout her life and you do not mention that.

Elderly cat health problems frequently include dental issues. If she has not had a thorough examination of her teeth, it could be that she has additional dental problems. A tooth infection/abscess can cause the symptoms you describe, especially since they seem to be only on her right side. This would also be in line with the eating problems you observe.

There are two other conditions that can cause one-sided nasal and ocular discharge in cats. Fungal infection or cancer can present this way. Fungal infection is not common; unfortunately cancer in older cats is not uncommon.

It is important that if she has not been seen by a vet, or if the vet did not thoroughly examine her teeth, you make an appointment right away. The correct antibiotic or removal of an infected tooth are possibilities that could save her life.

Good luck. I hope things work out well. Keep me posted, please.

Best,Dr. Neely

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