Oldies but Goldies: Caring for Senior Cats

River D'Almeida, Ph.D
6 min readApr 9, 2021

Keeping felines happy and healthy as they age

Photo by slon_dot_pics from Pexels

As the proud cat parent to not one but four senior cats, I’ve spent countless hours trawling the internet for expert advice, new products, and ideas for keeping my brood in tip top shape well into their golden years.

For cats, the transition from adult to senior is a subtle, yet critical milestone. After the age of ten, like me, senior cat parents need to stay on guard for any micro-changes in their pets’ behaviors. There are also some simple strategies for making sure your cat’s retirement is a happy and healthy one. Here are my top tips based on my research and experience.

Don’t skip visits to the vet

According to the experts, senior cats are most at risk of developing a number of conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Kidney failure
  • Arthritis
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Dental disease
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes

Try your best to watch out for any sudden changes in behavior (fatigue, loss of appetite, not grooming, for example), but be warned, cats are masters of disguising pain or weakness.

“Cats tend to hide their symptoms, which is probably due to survival instinct,” says Dr. Stacy Eckman from Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

“Most signs of illness or injury are subtle, including sleeping more than normal; not getting up to greet you, if that is normal behavior; or laying and sleeping in the same position for long periods of time.”

For this reason, I recommend not skipping twice-yearly vet checkups. My eldest cats get an annual full bloodwork and urine tests to catch any issues before they become too serious. So far, so good!

Say cheese!

Periodontal disease often plagues older cats. Some of the symptoms include inflamed or bleeding, bad breath, and problems eating. Regular dental cleanings are key.

Because I am terrified of having to put the cats under anesthesia for dental cleaning at the vet, I go for a DIY approach. Every two to three days, I use an…

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River D'Almeida, Ph.D

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