Senior Cats

Ensuring your senior cat is well cared for, prevention of disease is of the essence. Although it is not surprising to many that older cats need different care than the younger cats. Cats are considered senior once they reach 11 years old and you may start to notice some changes in your feline’s behaviour. We have provided some tips and advice on looking after your senior cat.

Common health problems in older cats

Your cat is considered a senior citizen when she gets to 11 years of age. At 15 years of age, she is considered geriatric.

Your older cat may be harder of hearing, decreased sense of smell and taste and more prone to infections from an aging immune system. It's also crucial that older cats keep up their water intake.

Disease also becomes more likely in the senior cat. As vets, we worry particularly about diagnosis and managing the following conditions:

  • Dental disease
  • Arthritis and osteoporosis
  • Kidney disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Metabolic disease, including diabetes, thyroid problems
  • Constipation
  • Senility
  • Anxiety and insecurity
  • Cancer

With regular vet checks and if you write down any changes in behaviour, we can work with you to detect anything as early as possible. Checks should occur every 6 months and we'll check you cat's urine at this time

If you are worried at any time about symptoms in your older cat, please contact us.

My older cat has difficulty getting around

Ensure all important areas are easy to get to for your older cat. As arthritis sets in, your cat may no longer be able to climb onto the higher levels of the scratching post, or easily get into the litter tray. If this is the case, ensure food and water bowls are on the floor or lower levels and introduce a litter tray with lower sides for your cat.

Consider introducing some low-sloping ramps or steps for your cat to use to get to its usual resting areas. Many cats will prefer scratching these as well, so it is worth covering them in carpet.

If your cat is finding slippery flooring difficult to walk on, consider some non-slip rugs in commonly used paths.

Nutrition for older cats

With a fading sense of smell and taste, and the potential development of arthritis and insecurity, your cat may eat less.

Tips to encourage your cat to eat:

  • Warm the food slightly (wet or dry) in the microwave to bring out its smell
  • Place the food bowl slightly higher so any neck pain does not interfere with eating
  • Ensure food is easily accessible at all times. Try placing several food bowls around your cat’s usual resting areas so that it is always close to a source of food
  • Experiment with different bowls
  • Try a different food. Some wet or gravy food that your cat may lick if chewing is a problem. Consider a dental check-up
  • Don’t offer many choices at once. If experimenting with different foods, try one at a time
  • See if sitting with your cat or hand feeding helps
  • Trial some “delectable” food items such as roast chicken or tuna

Grooming for older cats

Even a fastidious senior cat can have trouble grooming itself.

Many older cats can learn to enjoy being groomed as long as it is gentle and not painful. Professional grooming can also help.

Your cat’s nails may become more noticeably longer, catching on the carpet as they stop retracting with age. Keeping your cat’s nails trimmed is an important part of their wellbeing. We are happy to help you with this, so please contact us if you need an appointment.

More information

For more information, please contact us at Glen Iris Veterinary Hospital & Cattery.

We are conveniently in the City of Stonnington and Glen Eira. The pawfect location for pet parents living in Glen Iris, Malvern, Toorak, Kooyong, Armadale and surrounding areas!