Cat Owner's Guide

Special section: Caring for a senior cat

Nowadays, cats are living longer than their average life span. Elderly cats require special care, diet and nutrition, and regular veterinarian checkups to grow old healthy and happy.

Signs that your cat is growing old:

  • Weight loss. Older cats suffer from poor appetite as their sense of smell and taste deteriorates. Dental problems are common which put them off eating.
  • Failing eyesight and hearing means your cat is less sensitive to the surroundings and may get startled easily and take longer to adapt to changes in its environment.
  • An older cat has a weaker immune system, making him more susceptible to infections
  • Old cats tend to sleep more frequently, but in short time frame.
  • Lack of ability to groom themselves may result in hair matting, skin odour and inflammation.
  • Joint disease or arthritis will reduce their ability to run, jump and climb like before.

Diet and nutrition

There is no specific diet plan for an elderly cat. As long as there are no medical issues, a senior cat can eat as per normal. It is natural for a cat to grow thinner as it is part of growing old. However, certain medical conditions may be the cause of continuous weight loss: kidney failure, diabetes mellitus, cancer, bowel disease, liver disease, etc. Be observant on sudden weight changes as it may be a sign of disease. Fresh, clean water should be made available for your cat at all times as older cats drink more. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian before making any diet changes.

Health

Regular health checks should take priority as you cat becomes a "senior". At the first signs of symptoms and if appropriate action is taken, most serious conditions can be detected and prevented. General examination can be performed to detect if the kidney, liver, blood, teeth, heart and other organs are functioning normally. Some cats tend to turn obese as they age. Regular weighing will help to track if they are losing or gaining. If obesity is a concern, seek advice from your veterinarian on a suitable diet plan. Elderly cats can also get heart problems, constipation, incontinence, cataracts and bad teeth. Booster vaccinations will also help the cat to fight against any infections.