Important Information on Senior Cats

Indoor cats live to be 15 – 18 years old. It is possible for cats to live to be 20 or more. Cats are consider middle aged at 7-9 years old and are senior at 10 years old. Old age is not a disease. With age some diseases become more likely.

If you notice changes in your cat’s appetite, energy, grooming, or bathroom habits etc. Please let your veterinarian know. These are the early signs of serious medical conditions.

  • Cats do get arthritis. They rarely limp with it. They hide pain so well some cats will not limp when a leg is broken. If your cat is stiff/sore in the morning or after naps that might be due to arthritis. If they are slow going up stairs or unable to make jumps that they used to make that might be arthritis. If a cat has arthritis Morinville Veterinary Clinic cannot cure it but we can manage the pain with anti-inflammatories and glucosamine supplements.
  • Senior cats are more likely than youngsters to develop kidney failure and hyperthyroidism. These diseases often cause weight loss. Kidney disease can cause decreased appetite and thyroid disease often causes increased appetite. Blood and urine tests diagnose these diseases. These tests are a good idea for seniors and any cat that is unexpectedly losing weight.
  • Older cats are more likely to develop mats, ingrown toenails, and other skin problems often because they have pain that makes grooming difficult.
  • Dental disease can happen at any age.  It is a common source of pain in older cats especially if they have not had their teeth professionally cleaned before.

It is important for senior cats to not be too plump (increased risk diabetes and arthritis) or too skinny. It is a good idea to weigh your cat every 3-6 months so you can be aware if weight loss (or gain) is happening.

Senior cats need high quality, highly digestible food. We recommend Science Diet and Royal Canin diets. Canned food is a good source of moisture to help prevent constipation. It is also usually easier to digest. If a cat has a painful mouth it is much easier to eat canned food. Dry food often has more calories (which is useful for skinny cats).

Written by Morinville Veterinary Clinic