Lowering the Cost of Senior Cat Care

Senior cat care starts at home with awareness and prevention. As cats age, their health needs will change.

Feline Arthritis in Senior Cats

Older cats are prone to getting arthritis that can flare up during weather that is cold or wet. A cat will demonstrate she has arthritis by moving slowly or acting like a joint is stiff. The pain from arthritis can be accompanied by swelling or limping.

Dental Problems in Senior Cats

Cats in the later stages of their lives also tend to have problems with their teeth, and can develop periodontal disease, which can lead to an infection. Symptoms of feline dental problems include:

  • Reduced appetite (because eating is too painful)
  • Bad breath
  • Visible gum problems
  • Swollen face
  • Drooling

Hearing Loss in Senior Cats

Cats have also been known to lose their hearing, which can be caused by an excessive amount of earwax or ear mites. If a cat is easily surprised or does not respond to her name, this could be a sign of hearing loss. A cat that is going deaf might meow at an increased volume. Any odors or drainage from the ears can also indicate a hearing problem in older cats.

Other Illnesses in Senior Cats

Diabetes, fatty liver, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, heart disease and cancer are all illnesses that can affect older cats. Symptoms of these ailments include:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Lack of energy
  • Changes in the coat

Saving Money on Senior Cat Care

The easiest way to save money if you have a senior cat is with prevention.

Preventing illnesses when a cat is young, and keeping her health a priority, will help save on veterinary expenses in the future. Cats should always have regular examinations and cleanings of ears or teeth, and assistance with weight management through the younger years.

When a cat is older, she will not be able to care for herself like in the past. A cat's claws and fur will become difficult to maintain independently during the senior years. The cheapest way to trim a cat's nails and take care of the coat is to do it at home. However, if a grooming service is used, see if they have a loyalty rewards program that allows you to get a discount after a certain amount of visits.

Experts debate whether a senior cat should receive annual vaccinations. This should be discussed with your veterinarian, who can make suggestions based on a cat's activity level and lifestyle. If you find you have to take your cat to the vet often for ailments, the clinic may be able to negotiate payment terms to help keep costs down.

Senior cats need special care that is different than that of a younger cat. Keeping a cat healthy when it is young can help you save money as the cat ages.