Caring For Ageing Cats

Cats who are well cared for can live up to and beyond 20 years. It is important to know and understand your cat’s needs as it grows older. From the age of seven your cat is entering into its’ senior years and will be going through changes in metabolism and exercise levels. 


Common Signs of Aging in Cats 


Weight loss is common in older cats and this could be due to Diabetes or Thyroid problems. Kidney problems can also develop and can be life threatening. Cancers can develop resulting in strange growths and sudden or continued weight loss.  


Senior cats can also develop cognitive behavioural dysfunction, which is similar to Alzheimers disease which affects humans, so care and understanding are essential for your cat to stay as healthy and happy as possible in their twilight years.  


They may experience joint stiffness and Arthritis, particularly in the colder weather so more care and gentle handling will be necessary and possibly medication for pain management. 


Dental disease and gum disease generally affect older cats and you may not notice the signs. If your cat is taking longer to eat or appears to be “wrestling” with its’ food have your vet check it out. 


Their hearing and vision along with co-ordination may deteriorate with age. (If they seem to ignore you when you call or speak to them they may not just be exhibiting “stubborn” behavior)  


General Cat Care For Older Cats

Their bedding and general area should draught free, warm and as close to the ground as possible for example a trampoline type bed which is off the ground but not too high for them to climb up on.   Keep them indoors (or if outside keep them contained so they are safe and have shelter and warmth).

A good idea is a “Heat Pad” which can be heated up in a microwave oven and holds its’ heat for 8-10 hours. Place this under the cats’ blanket and they will be nice and warm for the day and night. 


Nutrition For Older Cats 

Nutrition is a very important factor in the good health of your aging cat. The cats’ dietary needs will change from the age of about seven years. A good nutritious diet followed from early life and adjusted accordingly with your cats’ age and activity levels will ensure maximum quality of life. 


Vet Checks For Older Cats

Regular Vet checks are essential for the whole of your cats’ life. You should always make sure that all vaccinations and worming programs are kept up to date. Spot on Worming and Flea treatments are available and administered monthly.  


Vaccinations and a general check up (including a dental check) should be done yearly until the age of around seven years. After that it is highly recommended to have your cat health checked every six months, as cats are very good at hiding pain and some symptoms of disease that the trained eye of a Vet can quickly pick up. Blood tests can be carried out at this time and any concerns you may have can be discussed with your Vet.


Health Insurance for your cat. 


It is true that as your cat gets older, the more it will cost you to maintain a good quality of life for your beloved best friend. Nowadays Pet Health Insurance is available, so for a small monthly fee you can claim any Vet expenses that may be incurred.  


This is highly recommended to ease the financial burden as Vet fees and some testing procedures, scans and ultra sounds can cost up to $2000.00 each!

Medications, special diets and supplements can all add up, so while your cat is young and healthy you should be preparing for the time when their needs change and the costs to maintain them will rise. 


Caring for your ageing cat takes a little more time and effort, but if you lay the foundations early, whilst they are young and active, you will reap the rewards of having them around for a long time to enjoy their special companionship.


Related Pages: Cat Health. Cat Grooming.



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