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Caring For A Senior Cat

October 1, 2023

Is your feline pal aged ten or over? If so, you have a furry, meowing senior on your hands. Cats usually age gracefully, but they do need some extra TLC in their golden years. In this article from Hassayampa Veterinary Services, serving Wickenburg and the surrounding communities, a local vet discusses keeping an older cat happy, healthy, and purring.


Cats are usually pretty fastidious about keeping their fur in good shape. This will get harder for Fluffy over time, however. As your kitty ages, it will get harder for her to bend and stretch enough to properly reach her whole body. Help her out by gently grooming her. Be very careful: older cats have delicate skin, which can easily rip or tear. Use a mat brush for tangle, or gently clip them out.


Good nutrition is important at every stage of your kitty’s life. If your pet develops any medical conditions, this may also affect her nutritional needs. For instance, if your feline pal develops a thyroid issue, you may need to stop giving her fish, because of the iodine. Fluffy may benefit from certain supplements. 

One area where this can get tricky is if you have more than one cat. There are a few options that make separate feeding easier. You can stick to set dinner times, and feed all your pets at the same time, but in different spots. You can also get automated feeders that will work with Fluffy’s microchip. Ask for specific advice on this.


Older cats are quite fragile and delicate. They also have a harder time jumping and climbing. Set out pet ramps or stairs to help your kitty get to her favorite spots. Fluffy may also appreciate having pet furniture that’s low to the ground and easy to get into. A litterbox with low walls will be easier for her to get in and out of. We also strongly recommend keeping her indoors.


Fluffy won’t be as frisky as she was during her kittenhood, but playing will still be fun and beneficial for her. Playing can actually help ward off cognitive decline: kitties have to focus on those tricky pounces. Take a few minutes a day to play with your feline pal.


Last but not least, just pay a lot of attention to Fluffy. Keep that little motor going! 

Our Advice on Caring For A Senior Cat in 2024

What dietary changes might an older cat need?

An older cat may require dietary adjustments to accommodate changing nutritional needs and manage medical conditions. For instance, if a senior cat develops a thyroid issue, it’s advised to avoid fish due to iodine content. Supplements could also be beneficial to address specific health concerns. Managing diets becomes more complex in multi-cat households, but strategies such as separate feeding areas or the use of microchip-activated feeders can ensure each cat meets its dietary requirements. Always consult a vet for tailored advice, as they can provide guidance based on the cat’s specific health profile.

Why is safety a particular concern for senior cats?

Safety is a critical concern for senior cats due to their increased fragility and decreased mobility. As cats age, their ability to jump, climb, and maintain balance diminishes, making them more prone to injuries from falls or accidents. To address these challenges, providing pet ramps, stairs, and low-to-the-ground furniture can help senior cats access their favorite spots safely. Additionally, a litter box with low walls is recommended to ease entry and exit, minimizing the risk of injury. Keeping senior cats indoors is strongly advised to protect them from external hazards.

What are the most common health problems that develop in older cats?

Common health problems in older cats include arthritis, which affects mobility; kidney disease, impacting waste filtration and hydration; hyperthyroidism, causing weight loss and behavioral changes; and dental issues, leading to pain and difficulty eating. Diabetes and heart disease are also more prevalent in senior cats, requiring careful management. These conditions can significantly affect a cat’s quality of life, making regular veterinary check-ups essential for early detection and management. Tailoring care to address these age-related health issues can help maintain a senior cat’s well-being and comfort.

Is it normal for older cats to sleep more?

Yes, it’s normal for older cats to sleep more. As cats age, their energy levels typically decrease, leading to an increase in sleep duration. This change is part of the natural aging process, allowing them to conserve energy for essential activities. However, while increased sleep is typical, significant changes in behavior or activity levels should be monitored. Excessive sleep, especially if accompanied by other symptoms like lack of appetite or decreased interaction, may indicate underlying health issues and warrants a veterinary evaluation to ensure optimal senior cat care.

How can you help a senior cat with failing eyesight navigate the house?

To assist a senior cat with failing eyesight, maintain a consistent layout in your home, avoiding frequent changes that can disorient them. Provide ample lighting to help them navigate more easily. Use scent markers or pheromone diffusers in key areas to guide them toward their litter box, food, and water. Incorporate tactile cues, such as rugs or mats, leading to important locations. Keeping their environment calm and predictable, along with close monitoring to ensure their safety, can significantly improve the quality of life for cats with diminished vision.

Do you have questions about senior cat care? Contact Hassayampa Veterinary Services, serving Wickenburg and the surrounding communities, today! 

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