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Signs that Your Cat is Getting Old

Updated on January 26, 2014
Take time to care for your senior feline!
Take time to care for your senior feline!

Ok, right about now you are probably thinking…"I know how old my cat is, why do I need to look for signs of aging?" Well, recognizing and dealing with the fact that your cat is now considered a "senior" is very important. Just as older humans need special care, so do our senior feline friends! Recognizing signs of aging is very important as these signs can help you when it comes time to properly care for your senior, four-legged friend.

Possible Signs of Aging

Not quite sure if your cat is getting old? Well let me help you figure it out! Below is a simple check list that will help you to determine if your cat is beginning to deal with "senior issues." A simple "yes" or "no" answer will help you with this determination.

  • Does your cat have difficulty sleeping or have you noticed any changes when it comes to his or her sleeping patterns?
  • Have you noticed your feline gaining or losing weight?
  • Have you noticed any changes in eating habits (whether it be eating more or eating less)?
  • Has your cat suddenly lost interest in playing? Has his activity level changed?
  • Have you noticed any limping or increased joint stiffness?
  • Is your cat losing hair? Is his coat dull and or dry?
  • Have you noticed your cat itching and scratching more than usual?
  • Does your cat no longer groom itself on a daily basis?
  • Is your cat confused, disoriented or lethargic?
  • Have you noticed any new lumps or bumps on your cat?
  • Does he have bad breath?


Wellness Check-Ups are VERY Important!

Though the above symptoms can be signs of several different ailments (some having nothing to do with age), they can, in fact, also be signs that your cat is getting old. Scheduling and keeping your cat's wellness check-ups are now more important than ever! Even if your older feline does not show signs of aging, your veterinarian may be able to give you advice and preventative treatment suggestions. Some signs of aging are gradual; therefore, you may not notice them right away. For example, one day, you might happen to notice that Fluffy is no longer able to jump up to his favorite napping spot, or that he has slowly been losing weight. When you do notices changes, it is important to make note of them and report them to your veterinarian the next time you take your cat in for a visit.

Three Indicators

The three main indicators that your cat is getting older are the decline of the senses, behavior changes and changes in appearance. The first (decline of the senses) happens to many older cats. Loss of hearing, vision and smell are very common in older felines. If you have read any of my other cat HUBS then you already know that I am a huge fan of KEEPING YOUR CAT INDOORS! Well, because your older cat may not see, hear and smell as well as he once did, it is extremely important that you do not let him outside. In my opinion, the outside world is just not safe for cats, much less our senior friends. Most cats adapt well when their senses begin to decline. However, you can help your four-legged puss by, for example, speaking louder if you know he can't hear well, or if he is losing his sight, remove objects that may block his path (on the stairs or in the hallway). Doing simple things can make your senior cat's life a lot easier!

The second indicator, behavior changes, isn't necessarily a bad thing. Most older cats calm down as they age (you might actually like this…especially at night)! Though you may sometimes miss the rough-housing, young cat that you once owned, treasure the peaceful moments you now share with your older friend. Many senior cats enjoy lounging in their owner's laps, or snuggling on the sofa. Another behavior change you may notice is your cat's sleeping patterns. Older cats tend to sleep more…this is nothing to be alarmed about! Don't disturb your older cat while he naps. After all, he has been a wonderful pet for many years…he deserves a long snooze!

Finally, the third indicator, change in appearance. Older felines are not as active as they were in their younger years, therefore, they often lose muscle mass. Many older cats feel "bonier" than younger cats. If, for any reason, you are alarmed by your cat's physique, take him to the veterinarian for a check-up. As your cat ages, he may need your help when it comes to grooming. Older cats often have trouble grooming and keeping up their appearance. You can assist your cat in the grooming department by brushing him daily and wiping him down with pet wipes (you can buy these at pet supply stores).

Allow your older cat to get his beauty sleep!
Allow your older cat to get his beauty sleep!

Unfortunately, we ALL get old…our feline friends are not exempt! By providing the necessary veterinary care and watching out for signs of aging, we can ensure that our senior, furry friends live out their golden years in comfort and surrounded by love. Here's to good health and mice to chase! Meow!

Please visit some of my other pet related HUB Pages! Thank you!

Help! My dog has worms!

Training a kitten to use a litterbox

Cats and ear mites. A common yet annoying condition!

The Wonderful World of Mini and Pot Bellied Pigs!

Adopt a retired racing Greyhound!

Stages of grief you may experience when your pet dies


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    • profile image

      Johne236 3 years ago

      Ive learn some excellent stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot attempt you set to create such a fantastic informative web site. abkaadgdfega

    • profile image

      Jessica 5 years ago

      I thought my cat was getting old so I wanted to know how to help her and see if she was really getting old. Then I saw this page. thanks for the info it was very helpful!!! But I'll be sad when my cat dies I hope that day never comes. :(

    • Cygstarz profile image

      Cygstarz 5 years ago from Maryland

      Pooh: Thanks for your comment! Have you taken your Maine Coon to the vet for a senior wellness checkup? As cats age, it's a good idea to get them checked out more often as there are many ailments that can set in as time goes on. Many cats lose weight when they hit their "senior years." Hearing loss is also another very common problem. If you can, take your cat to the vet...better to be safe than sorry!

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      Pooh 5 years ago

      My cat has lost signifcant hearing and I see his weight loss (maine coon). I have 4 maine coons and started using senior cat food and now changed to giving them wet food each night. I want to see him gain his weight back but after 4 months changing his diet (giving him more food) I haven't seen much change. His hearing is going fast. He is 14 years. He is still playful and hasn't changed his habits. Any ideas?

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      Missy 6 years ago

      Matty...My cat (Groovie) is also 17 yrs. old. If he were to stop eating I would be very concerned. you should definitely take him to a vet and let them know what is going on. It may be something as simple as changing the food. My cat prefers soft food now that his "little old man teeth" can't chew as well, try that first and see if it helps. Hope Tazzy is ok! :-)

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      matty50 6 years ago

      Hi my cat tazzy is 17 and she stoped eatin 3 days ago and all she does is sleeps all day and nite

      I'm not sure but I think she mite be giving up. She randomly wakes herself by meowin realy loud. I offer her food and water every 30mins but she turns away. What do I do my mum says she is dying and there's no point trying and to leave her alone

    • profile image

      pepper 6 years ago

      i do not know what to do about my cat she seems like she does not want to be messed with that often or held what should i do

    • profile image

      janaki 6 years ago

      my cat is 14 years. Black. very healthy i think . looks grate. playful . but recently he's having a constipate problem.male. sterilized.

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      Brittany Zenga 7 years ago

      Thank You Cygstarz...I hope my cat lives that long! =)

    • Cygstarz profile image

      Cygstarz 7 years ago from Maryland

      Hi Brittany...

      That's a tough question as some cats can live up to 19, even 20 years old! My friend's cat just passed away..he was almost 20! Really, it all depends on how healthy your cat is. If your cat is healthy and happy...he (or she) could live a very long life! No matter how long your pet lives...appreciate and love him every single day! Unfortunately, we never know how long we will have our pets with us. Thank you for your comment!

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      Chris 7 years ago

      Thank you, this has been VERY helpful.