Frequent Geriatric Cat Care Issues Examined

Your geriatric cat may not be showing many outward signs of growing old, but her body is changing. Arthritis, kidney problems, dental disease and other difficulties can make your older cat uncomfortable and at risk for complications. Learn to spot elderly cat problems before they become more serious.

Arthritis and Joint Problems

In severe cases, arthritis may cause your older cat to limp or show signs of lameness, but in most cases, symptoms will be more subtle. He may not climb stairs as easily or as readily as he did before and may have trouble jumping onto the counter or couch.

Even getting into the litter box can become painful. For an older cat, consider purchasing a box with lower sides to make access easier. If your house is on more than one floor, add an additional litter box to eliminate unnecessary stair climbing. An extra water bowl is appreciated, too. To loosen stiff joints, cat massages—gentle rubbing and stroking of the legs, back and sides—can reduce stress and pain.

Warning: Do not give any over-the-counter painkillers to your cat. Speak to your veterinarian about an appropriate pain management program for your cat.

Kidney Problems

Poor kidney function is very common in older cats. As the kidneys become less efficient at waste removal, your cat may begin to urinate more in an effort to flush the toxins. This can cause potassium loss.

Be sure your cat is getting enough fluids.

To increase fluid intake:

  • Add water to dry food;
  • Switch to a wet foods which have more natural moisture;
  • Feed a senior cat formula food.


Dental Disease

Gingivitis and periodontal disease can cause tooth loss and pain and have been implicated heart and kidney problems as well. The bacterial infection associated with dental disease can be carried through the blood stream, causing infections in other organs.

Even mild gingivitis can cause mouth discomfort, leading to reduced food intake. Keep your cat’s teeth healthy with a regular regimen of brushing and maintenance.

Other Geriatric Cat Issues

Illnesses and disorders such as hypertension, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and cancer are more common in older cats.

To keep your senior cat healthy and strong, feed a high-quality food, maintain her weight and encourage activity. Older cats may have difficulty with grooming and cleaning; brush and massage your cat frequently to stimulate circulation and keep her skin and coat healthy.

Keep your older cat active and engaged for a long and happy life.