Hydrocephalus in Cats: Life Expectancy


Hydrocephalus, commonly referred to as “water on the brain”, is an often difficult to diagnose condition in cats that is caused by an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within the ventricles of the brain. It is a progressive neurologic disorder that can cause long-term changes and problems for affected cats, both in terms of life expectancy and quality of life. Hydrocephalus is most commonly seen in young or middle-aged cats, but can occur in cats of any age, breed or gender. Unfortunately, the exact cause of hydrocephalus in cats is not always known, but certain health conditions such as birth defects and brain tumors may be contributing factors in some cases. Unfortunately, hydrocephalus is considered an incurable condition and may require careful management by a veterinarian in order to maximize the life expectancy of a hydrocephalic cat.


Hydrocephalus, also known as “fluid on the brain,” is a neurological disorder that is most commonly found in cats with a median age of around 11 years old. In cats, hydrocephalus occurs when excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates within the ventricles of the brain, resulting in an increase in intracranial pressure. This can cause a variety of health issues, including seizures and vision problems.

Health is defined as the overall physical, mental, and social wellbeing of an individual. In order to maintain a healthy life and good life expectancy, it is important to manage hydrocephalus in cats properly. Here are some tips to do this:

  1. Have your veterinarian perform regular check-ups and screenings.
  2. Monitor your cat for any changes in behavior, appetite, and energy levels.
  3. Maintain a balanced diet for your cat and make sure they get adequate exercise.
  4. Provide a stress-free environment for your cat and minimize loud noises and chaotic movements.
  5. Give your cat plenty of love and affection.

By following these tips, your cat can lead a happy, healthy life and have a good life expectancy.


Hydrocephalus in cats, a condition which is caused by an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain, is a serious medical issue that can have a significant impact on a cat’s life expectancy. Symptoms of hydrocephalus in cats mostly manifest as neurological abnormalities, such as vision loss, difficulty walking, and frequent seizures. Other signs of hydrocephalus include an abnormally large head, vocalization issues, and a decrease in cognitive abilities. If left untreated, hydrocephalus can significantly reduce a cat’s life expectancy, so it is important to recognize the signs and seek medical attention as soon as possible.


Hydrocephalus in cats is a life-threatening condition caused by a buildup of fluid inside the skull. It is usually diagnosed through physical examination and medical imaging such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Symptoms of hydrocephalus vary but may include:

  1. Head enlargement
  2. Eyes that appear sunken
  3. Blindness
  4. Unsteady gait
  5. Lethargy
  6. Seizures
  7. Personality changes

A veterinarian may also conduct blood and urine tests to rule out other possible causes of these symptoms. Treatment for hydrocephalus may include medications, surgery, or a combination of both. The prognosis for cats with hydrocephalus depends on the severity and type of the condition, as well as the cat’s overall health.


The health and treatment of hydrocephalus in cats depends largely on the severity of the condition. Generally, the prognosis for cats with mild or moderate hydrocephalus is positive in comparison to cats with severe cases. It is important to note that the condition does not tend to improve or go away with time. Therefore, the only way to improve the quality of life of a cat with hydrocephalus is with medical intervention. Treatment options include medications such as steroids to reduce inflammation, and surgical treatments to alleviate the symptoms. It is also important to keep your pet’s environment as stress-free and safe as possible to help prevent further complications. With appropriate medical and environmental care, cats with hydrocephalus can live a good quality of life.


Hydrocephalus can have serious complications for cats. In some cases, the cerebrospinal fluid within the brain can become too increased and cause an increase in intracranial pressure. This in turn can lead to brain damage due to decreased blood flow, to vision problems, or to hydrocephalic dementia. Additionally, leptomeningeal cysts can occur. These form when the cerebrospinal fluid builds up beneath the layers of the brain’s covering, or the meninges. In some cats, the cysts can form tumors. Once these cysts form, symptoms like unsteadiness, blindness, head tilt, seizures, and other neurological signs may be present. If the fluid buildup is not managed, it can be life-threatening. Treatment is needed right away to give the cat the best chance of recovery.

Life Expectancy

Hydrocephalus is a serious health condition that can significantly reduce a cat’s life expectancy. It occurs when excessive cerebrospinal fluid builds up in the brain, causing it to swell and press against the skull. This can lead to a number of neurological problems, including seizures and blindness, which can shorten a cat’s life. Fortunately, hydrocephalus can be treated with medication and surgery, allowing cats to lead full and normal lives. With proper management and care, cats with hydrocephalus can enjoy a normal life expectancy, so long as their owners are aware of the condition and can provide necessary medical care.


Hydrocephalus in cats is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken in order to prevent the development of hydrocephalus. Providing your cat with regular vet check-ups throughout their life is the best way to ensure any health issues are caught early. It’s important to take your cat to the vet if they experience any of the symptoms associated with hydrocephalus, such as walking in circles, head tilt, or loss of balance. Additionally, providing a healthy and balanced diet for your cat may help prevent the development of hydrocephalus. Keeping them at a healthy weight, avoiding obesity, and ensuring they get enough exercise can all lead to a longer, healthier life. Finally, pet owners should take precautions when administering medications or vaccines to their cats, as some drugs may increase the risk of developing hydrocephalus. With proper monitoring and preventative care, cats with hydrocephalus can have a good quality of life and a longer life expectancy.

No Comments

    Leave a Reply