How does a cat's nutritional needs change as they age?

Throughout all their life stages, from kittenhood up until older adult cats, their energy requirements change, as does their nutrition. Cats are high-protein diet animals. They're obligate carnivores and a protein diet is what's important to them. However, certain health problems that we might see as they age might necessitate different dietary management.

Dr. David Hale
Hebron Animal Hospital

What are some signs and symptoms that your cat may be slowing down?

Usually, the signs are very subtle because cats are very stoic. Things to watch for include reluctance to get up and down off of furniture in places that they once were able to do in one single leap. Also, it's important to watch for increases in the amount of water that they might drink, as well as the frequency and the amount of urine that they produce, and certainly any kind of unexplained weight loss.

What are some health complications or diseases that are commonly experienced by senior cats?

Generally speaking, probably the three most common health problems that we see in older cats are diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and hyperthyroidism. It's not uncommon to sometimes see a combination of all three of those in one patient.

Why are wellness exams and regular checkups important for senior cats?

Wellness exams and regular checkups are important for the simple reason of trying to prevent problems before they become big. In the veterinary field, we tend to see a lot of animals a little bit later on in the course of a disease where it's a little bit harder for us to intervene. More routine preventative health exams and screenings allow us to maybe catch problems earlier on so that we might be able to slow the progression of the problem.

What is the most important thing to know about caring for a senior cat?

Age is not a disease. Just because they're getting older doesn't mean that they're automatically going to slow down, not eat, lose weight, be less active. If those are the things that you notice, the animal hospital should see your cat to make sure there isn't an underlying health problem.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 349-1020, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram