What to Expect as Your Cat Ages

by VetDepot on April 22, 2014

senior cat blogCats typically reach senior status at around 10 to 12 years old. Although they’re still as lovable as ever, some physical and behavioral changes will likely occur.

Senior cats tend to slow down as they age due to joint pain. They may stop jumping up on furniture or playing with their toys as often. Hearing or vision loss is also a possibility. As a cat progresses into its teen years, dementia becomes more likely as well, which can cause confusion. This may all sound a bit discouraging, but management of these conditions is possible.

Below are some helpful tips for keeping your senior cat healthy and comfortable:

•Pay attention: Subtle changes in behavior can actually be clues about your cat’s health. Discuss any and all behavioral changes with your cat’s veterinarian.

•Switch from visiting the vet annually to twice yearly checkups. Health conditions are typically more easily managed if caught early on. Regular blood work will help catch diseases at their onset.

•Give your kitty some space: If you have visitors, especially if they’re accompanied by young children, consider blocking off an area of your home for your cat to have some peace. Your senior cat may also need some space from other, younger animals in your household.

•Commit to a healthy diet: Older cats are at an increased risk for obesity, which can lead to a host of other health conditions. Consult with a veterinarian about the best cat food for your individual pet.

•Invest in comfortable bedding: You may notice that those catnaps are getting longer, so make sure your feline companion has a comfortable place to rest.

•Spend one-on-one time together: Your cat may not be up for chasing the laser pointer for extended periods of time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend any quality time together. Try a relaxed play session or just curl up together while you’re reading a book.

 

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Noreen Hetro April 29, 2014 at 10:35 am

Do you have suggestions on how to groom an older cat. My older cat devlops great strength if I try to groom or bath him. He needs to be groomed due to the clumps of fur. None of the veterinarians will groom and neither will groomers. Where I live they only groom dogs. So I am stuck with a cat with lots of dandruff and clumpy fur which is not good for my allergies.

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VetDepot April 29, 2014 at 10:59 am

Hi Noreen! Thanks for the comment. We have some tips for bathing a cat in one of our past blog posts: http://blog.vetdepot.com/how-to-give-your-cat-a-bath-step-by-step-guide. There’s also some helpful suggestions from readers in the comments portion. Best of luck!

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Lynn Houston April 29, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Do you have any suggestions of how to put some weight on a senior cat that has borderline kidney problems and should be on a low protein diet? He’s a minimum of 17 (he was supposedly 7 when I got him 10 yrs ago, but I think he was older) and he’s down to about 9-10 lbs from 13lbs. That may be about right for most cats, but I can feel his ribs with no pressure. Also, with kidney issues, is it better for the cat to drink as much as possible to flush the kidneys or does drinking more make the kidneys work harder?

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VetDepot May 13, 2014 at 11:56 am

Hi Lynn! We strongly suggest you speak to a veterinarian regarding these issues. All the best.

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