Health Care Tips for Senior Cats

Keep your cat healthy with health care tips for senior cats. Middle age for a cat generally ends at his 10 cat years. After this point, a cat is considered to be a senior and requires a change in lifestyle to help upkeep his physical and mental health.

Common Health Issues Senior Cats Face

Providing a cat has been fed a healthy diet from kittenhood, most cats age without major issues. Others, however, may start to find organ function changing. Common organ problems include:

  • Adrenal gland exhaustion
  • Arthritis
  • Behavioral issues
  • Cardiac disease
  • Central nervous system troubles
  • Diabetes
  • Failed kidney function
  • Fatty liver, especially in diabetic cats
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Vision issues

Diet and Nutrition

The number of diabetic cats is skyrocketing. Many of these cases are preventable with proper nutrition. Avoid dried cat foods that include wheat gluten and corn products, fillers that do not benefit a cat's health but do boost carbs (helping a cat pack on unnecessary weight).

With many holistic foods available in pet food stores, you'll find many choices for quality pet foods. Brands like California Natural, EVO and Natural Balance offer foods with pure protein, with no by-products and either no grains or quality grains that cats benefit from. If you have a Costco near you, check the label on the Kirkland dry cat food. Their formula changes periodically, but for years it has been a quality food with no by-products or unhealthy fillers, and it is inexpensive.

Skin and Coat Care

Many elderly cats suffer from arthritis and may be unable to handle all aspects of grooming. Make sure you brush your cat daily to remove excess cat hair and improve skin health. In addition, a daily brushing relaxes many cats and is the equivalent of a massage.

Exercise Is Important

Diabetic cats need exercise, but they are not alone. All cats benefit from daily exercise. It helps keep joints flexible, improves cardiac function and increases blood circulation to the brain and organs.

A great way to ensure your cat gets enough exercise is by purchasing a laser pointer, many cats love to chase the bright light. A cat tree provides a place where cats can climb. Use catnip to lure the cat to the top of the tree where he will benefit from the climb up and down the tree.

Make Yearly Veterinary Appointments

Some diseases are common in senior cats. Once a year, take your cat to the vet for a full exam. Ask for tests for hyperthyroidism. Many senior cats develop an overactive thyroid. Caught early, medications will prevent heart disease and excessive weight loss. Have your vet run blood tests for diabetes too.

If you've noticed any changes in your cat's behavior, tell your vet during this appointment. Senior cats may fail to use their litter box and this can be a sign of kidney disease. If your cat hates to be touched, it might be a sign of arthritis or a painful cancer. It's always better to have an early diagnosis so that you can seek early treatments, which are generally successful.