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November 2023

Caring for a Senior Cat: Top Care Tips


Cats over the age of 7 are considered senior – which means they have different care requirements than their younger counterparts. Have you adjusted your cat’s care routine to accommodate these needs? By following these care tips, you can ensure that your senior cat gets the most out of their later years of life.

Understanding Senior Cats

As cats age, their needs change – and in many instances their care routine needs to change slightly to ensure they’re going to get the best out of their golden years. In this guide, we’ll break down the common health concerns you should watch out for as your cat ages and suggest slight changes to your care routine to ensure your cat’s new needs are catered for.

Nutrition And Diet For Senior Cats

Cat’s nutritional requirements change slightly in their twilight years. Making the following adjustments to their diet will help them maintain a healthy weight without sacrificing their energy levels.

  • Reduce calories: Cats become less active as they get older – which means they require fewer calories. Reduce their portion sizes or switch to specially formulated senior cat food.
  • Maintain protein: Ensure you’re feeding your cat a protein-rich diet so they can maintain their muscle mass and can still get sufficient energy from their reduced food intake. Opt for lean protein sources like chicken, turkey, or fish. Lean proteins are gentler on their stomach as well, which is an added bonus.
  • Introduce calcium supplements: Senior cats may develop issues with their teeth, bones, and muscles. To circumvent this, introduce supplements into their diet.
  • Keep them hydrated: hydration is always important – but even more so for senior cats. Consider incorporating wet cat food into their died, add water to their meals, or invest in a pet fountain to encourage more drinking.

Common Health Concerns For Older Cats

Senior cats are in a more vulnerable bracket for various health concerns – so regular check-ups at the vet are a good idea. These can help identify and address age-related health issues early, ensuring your senior cat remains healthy and comfortable.

Here are the conditions to watch out for – if you notice your cat exhibiting any of the listed symptoms, take your cat to the vet for a proper diagnosis and further information on care requirements.

Dental Health and Periodontal Disease

Dental issues are one of the most common health concerns for all cats – but the risks increase as they age. Over time, plaque and tartar builds up on their teeth, which can eventually turn into gum disease and tooth decay. This can result them losing teeth, and it can be painful. To prevent dental problems, ensure regular dental check-ups, brush your cat's teeth, and provide dental treats or toys.

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Arthritis is a condition that affects many senior cats. It causes joint pain and stiffness, making it difficult for your cat to move comfortably. To alleviate their discomfort, consider providing supportive, padded bedding and ensure they’re kept warm. Introduce ramps or steps into your home to help them access higher places. You vet will also be able to provide more pain-management options, which may include medication.

Kidney Disease

Senior cats are more prone to kidney disease. Symptoms may include increased thirst, frequent urination, and weight loss. Regular vet check-ups are essential to detect kidney issues early. Special diets and medications may be recommended to manage the condition.


Hyperthyroidism is a common condition in older cats, characterised by an overactive thyroid gland. Symptoms can include weight loss, increased appetite, and restlessness. Your vet can diagnose this condition and recommend treatments such as medication or dietary changes.


Just like humans, cats can develop diabetes, especially in their senior years. Diabetes requires careful management through a combination of insulin injections, diet, and regular monitoring of blood glucose levels. If you notice excessive thirst and urination, consult your vet.

Cognitive Dysfunction

Senior cats can experience cognitive dysfunction, which is similar to dementia in humans. Signs may include disorientation, altered sleep patterns, and changes in behaviour. While there is no cure, you can provide mental stimulation with interactive toys to encourage positive cognitive function.

Heart Disease

Heart disease becomes more prevalent in senior cats. Symptoms can be subtle, such as lethargy or rapid breathing. Regular vet visits are crucial for early detection, and medications may be prescribed to manage the condition.


Cancer is a concern for cats of all ages, but the risk increases as they get older. Look for unusual lumps, bumps, or changes in your cat's behaviour, and consult your vet if you have any concerns. Early detection can be lifesaving.

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Day-To-Day Care For Senior Cats

In addition to feeding them correctly and watching out for broader health concerns, there are some day-to-day adjustments to make to ensure your senior cat is living their best life. We’ve summarised them below. Exercise and Mental Stimulation.

Cats need physical and mental stimulation throughout their lives – but it becomes even more important later in life as mental stimulation encourages positive cognitive function. Engage your senior cat with interactive toys and gentle playtime to keep their body and mind active.


Senior cats may have difficulty grooming themselves. Help them maintain their coat by brushing them regularly. It's also an excellent opportunity to check for any lumps, bumps, or skin issues.

Mobility Assistance

Older cats may experience arthritis or joint pain. Consider providing ramps or steps to help them access their favourite spots.

Weight Management

Obesity is a concern for senior cats as it can exacerbate other health issues or increase the risk of them developing chronic conditions. Work with your vet to maintain a healthy weight through proper nutrition and exercise.

FAQs For Senior Cat Care

What is considered a senior cat?

A cat is typically considered a senior when they reach the age of seven or older.

Do senior cats need a different diet?

Senior cats benefit from a diet specially formulated for their age, which is high in protein and low in calories.

How can I keep my senior cat active?

Engage your cat with interactive toys and gentle playtime to encourage activity while maintaining their overall wellbeing.

What should I do if my senior cat has dental issues?

Regularly brush your cat's teeth and provide dental treats or toys to support their dental health.

How can I help my senior cat with mobility issues?

Consider providing ramps or steps to help your senior cat access their favourite spots.