Senior Cat Health Problems. Advice On Special Unique Needs

Cats, unlike dogs, have a tendency to grow old gracefully, which means it can often be difficult to detect senior cat health problems. This is because when they are in pain, or sick, they are very good at hiding health related issues. Senior cats often get age related conditions that we may ignore, or not realize until it is much too late, however, there are subtle signs we can pick up on. In this article we will look at some senior cat health problems, and offer some advice on special unique needs that older cats may need.

senior cat health problems
old grey cat


What are the more common senior cat health problems and age related special needs?

1. Loss of mobility due to arthritis

Cat arthritis is actually quite common in older cats, but we don’t always realize it because they hide it well, though you can notice the subtle changes, like he won’t jump up to high places where he once did. In addition, later stages of arthritis may even stop him from going into the litter box, although we may just put this down to ‘he wants to go outside’. Keep in mind, that arthritis is also harder to spot in cats than in dogs, because they are much lighter on their feet and is much more common than you may think.

2. Visit vet to check for hard to detect problems

Another problem with older cats is that we can often put things down to old age, yet it could be something more serious. Our senior cat may not act the same way to family members as he used to, or he may cry out in the night where before he didn’t. He may act confused, or not use his litter tray reliably, and although this could be signs of old age, it could also be a sign that he has arthritis, kidney disease or dental issues, so he should be checked out professionally by your vet rather than to put it down to old age

senior cat health problems
senior cat with arthritis

3. Have regular routine health tests carried out by the vet

The good thing about cats is they don’t lie, and if you notice changes in his behavior then there is probably something wrong, and this could be changes in his vocal sounds, bathroom habits or even his appetite. Taking your cat to the vet twice a year should be done, especially in senior cats, because many health conditions can be caught early on, and then treatment is often more effective. Urine and blood tests can often reveal early signs of kidney problems, elevated white blood cell count, hyperthyroidism and even diabetes.

4. Reassessing your cat’s dietary requirements

In senior cats you should also make sure you get them to drink plenty of water, or if you’ve been feeding dry food until now, talk to your vet about switching to canned or a semi-moist food. In fact, the American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends feeding wet food to cats throughout their whole lives. Senior cats also tend to be overweight in many households, so you may have to change his diet accordingly to get him back to a healthy weight to avoid health problems related to obesity.

Amazon has some great nutritional products for senior cats that you may be interested in for this purpose.

senior cat health problems
senior cat eating canned tuna

5. Special grooming needs of a senior cat

We can help our cat in his senior years by doing some special unique things that can affect his health and help him live longer, and it’s nothing too difficult either. Some simple, but effective things to do for your senior cat is brush him daily, as older cats tend to not groom themselves so much, this also removes loose hair that he may swallow so it prevents hairballs. Moreover, brushing your cat also helps to stimulate blood circulation as well as stimulating the sebaceous gland secretions resulting in a much healthier coat and skin.

6. Dental disease in senior cats

That being said, dental disease is more prevalent in older cats, so you may want to help prevent this by brushing his teeth regularly, as dental disease can lead to other more serious conditions very quickly. Most cats will allow you to brush their teeth, although in some cases you may have to introduce a toothbrush gradually, and work up to brushing. A popular reason for cats not eating properly is dental disease, or a related problem, so it is important to keep their teeth clean.

7. Reducing stress levels for your pet

Trying to keep stress levels down for a senior cat can also be important, as older cats get stressed more easily, and take longer to get over it. For instance, if you’re going away for a week or so, instead of using boarding for your cat, try to get a family member to stay with him in his home. However, if this is not possible make sure he has some things that are close to him, like a favorite blanket or toy. Bringing a new pet into the home can cause stress as can a move to a new house. Therefore, try to keep his stress levels down to a minimum during this time, and spend some extra time with him letting him know everything is going to be ok.

senior cat health problems
senior cat nap

8. Special pet furniture for senior cats

Sooner, or later your senior cat will get to a point where he will need more help with things that we used to take for granted, like climbing, jumping up, and perching on high things. If you notice he doesn’t climb up on that bookcase anymore, try installing small ramps to his favorite places, so he can still get to them. A ramp or small steps can allow him to look out of a window at birds again, or climb up onto a bed to lay down.

9. Be vigilant to your senior cat’s special age related needs

Senior cat health problems can be many, and they can be hard to detect, so being vigilant with our senior cat can help us in diagnosing things early on. Only you know the behavior of your cat, but if you notice any changes it’s always best to get him checked out, and if there are things that he can’t do anymore, see if you can find a way to help him in that area too.

  • Keep in mind, that senior cats should also have softer bedding, plenty of water, and have their nails checked often too, to see if they need clipping, because older cats tend to not use scratching posts like they did when they were younger.

In conclusion

Finally, by taking the time to do some of the things suggested within this article topic today, it can help both you, and your senior cat to be able to continue enjoying each others company, and their favorite activities too with ease.


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Author: James Kelly

James Kelly is a network marketer and blogger who earns a living from affiliate programs and blogs

12 thoughts on “Senior Cat Health Problems. Advice On Special Unique Needs”

  1. My cat is many years away from being considered senior, but these tips are generally good advice for the entirety of a cat’s life. Nobody likes going to the vet, but it has to be done! The best thing you can do for a cat of any age is to keep his stress levels down and give plenty of love. Thanks for this great advice.

  2. Hi Jim,

    I read through our post and I feel like I have learned so much. I’ve been reading up on a lot of similar posts to gather up as much information as I can before I actually get a cat.
    The worst thing a pet owner can do is to learn how to take care of his/her pets as on the fly. The more I know now, the less difficult it will be for the animal.
    Thanks for sharing this plethora of information.


  3. Hi James, very informative article. I miss my kitty. As she got older she chose to spend much more time outside, even in the snow (had to pry her off the mailbox a couple of times). One of her strange habits included licking the butter dish. After reading this it makes me wonder if it could have been a deficiency of some kind. Have you heard of this before?


  4. Wow. I like cats but never really have a pet on my own. I didn’t realize that cats do have old age complications just like human. Would an older cat craves more companionship with their owner compared to younger ones?

  5. Kitty advice seems to have changed a bit. I am glad to hear wet food is good for cats, because they prefer it.
    Our kitties always lived to a ripe old age. My mother left her cat with me when the animal was nearly 20, one paw in the grave and the other on a banana peel. I was a young mother with lively children. I made the cat a special elder-care environment upstairs away from my naughty children and lively golden retriever. It had a window perch, a bed, water and food, toys which she ignored, and a litter box she occasionally missed. I visited about three times a day. The space was only about 10 x 15. Mom came back from vacation and was surprised to find the animal still alive.

    I think that very, very elderly cats can do pretty well if you keep their lives very, very simple and low key.

    Do you think that being exclusively indoors extends a cat’s life?

  6. This article is very useful for cat lovers. I know that any animal whenever they get old may have to cope with one or two health problem. Thanks for bringing this up as a caution for all of us.

  7. I am a cat lover and have been adopted by cats all my life! I find your post very informative. Thanks for the tips.

    I don’t think that being exclusively indoors extends a cat’s life. I had ‘indoor cats’ when I lived in Europe and ‘outdoor cats’ in South Africa. On average the outdoor cats have lived longer. In fact I find that if they have a garden to roam in where they are in their natural habitat they can function naturally – such as hunt, climb trees, file their nails on tree bark and roll on the ground, lie in the sun and eat grass when they need to purge, etc. That seems to keep them healthier and happier!

  8. Great stuff. It is always good to read your post because I although I have no cat and once did, I am finding out things I did not know at the time. And you are right, you just don’t see these things naturally when they are not well. I do want to ask you a question. My cat had kittens and she had two that were different colors but had the same markings. I tried to keep them both and they grew up fast and was bigger than her. She got very mean to them and eventually left and I never saw her again. Is it not wise to try and keep their offspring in the same house with them?

  9. hi James. I suddenly missed my cats. I haven’t had a new baby for almost 15 years, and I agree with everything that you said. When my last fur baby passed away, I had this thing about not wanting one again because of the pain it brought. But I guess time heals wounds. Soon I’ll get take care of one again and will take note all your advice. Thanks for this article.

  10. Hello Jim,

    Thanks for the wonderful article. I’ve learnt quite a number of things from here. I do have a cat. She’s just one year old but it’s good to know things earlier and be prepared for it. I especially liked the point about cat furniture. Thanks again.

  11. Hi,
    Very interesting article. I learned a lot of things about cats I didn’t know. I don’t have a cat of my own but my brother does and I’m in contact with him daily so it’s a good idea to learn all I can about them and things to look for as they age.

  12. I have a 15 year old female cat and these tips definitely apply to her. She has a special little staircase to go up and down from the bed (she can still make the jump but it’s just really high). And she definitely needs more brushing and grooming these days than in the past. That said, some cats (including one I used to have) live until their 20s, so I’m hopeful that with the right care, she’ll be part of my life for a few more years. Thanks for this informative post.

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