Senior Cats

Caring for your cat should change as your pet ages, for many different reasons. Older cats can develop behavior changes, disorientation, and anxiety and are susceptible to major health risks.

The aging process in senior cats affect every organ. Special attention should be taken to any changes. Some major health concerns for older pets could include:

  •  Hormonal disorders such as hyperthyroidism and diabetes mellitus
  • Kidney and liver disease
  • Neoplasia or Cancer
  • Infections such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoarthritis

 Old age is not a disease, but your pet may need special attention. Your pet should have an exam by one of our Doctors every 6 months

 Your senior pet still needs to have regular vaccination and protection against parasites


Feline panleukopenia (mistakenly called “feline distemper”) is a disease that cats can be affected by and is often fatal.  It is very similar to parvoviral enteritis in dogs but it does not carry such a favorable prognosis in cats.  Signs include fever, respiratory congestion, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Also included in the combination vaccine are calicivirus, herpesvirus and (rhinotracheitis virus).  These all cause upper respiratory tract infections recognized by ocular and nasal discharge, sneezing, fever, and in appetence.  These are the most common infectious diseases in cats.  Occasionally, these can progress to pneumonia. The severity of these infections can be greatly reduced by vaccination.  These diseases are also highly contagious, and infected cats should be isolated (different air space) from other cats.  These illnesses DO NOT affect dogs or people. Your kitten should receive a series of vaccines until the age of 16 weeks. Then regular vaccinations as adults and senior cats.

Rabies vaccination in cats is essential and is required by law.  In Utah, rabies is carried by bats, and the predatory tendencies of cats put them at risk when they capture sick bats.  In past years, cats were the domestic animal most commonly reported to have rabies in Utah.  Rabies is given at 12 weeks of age, booster 1 year later, and then regular vaccines for your specific adult or senior cat can be discussed with our vet

FeLV is the most common fatal infectious disease of cats. Vaccinations  are recommended for cats that will go outdoors at all, even if they are supervised.  Cats should also be vaccinated if they live with a cat that goes outdoors, even if they are a strictly indoor pet.  Two vaccinations, starting at 10-12 weeks of age and separated by 3 weeks, then regular vaccinations for adult and senior pets are required.  FeLV vaccination is especially recommended for multiple-cat households.

Additional information for your senior cat