Cats begin to show visible age-related changes at about seven to twelve years of age. There are metabolic, immunologic and body composition changes, too. Some of these are unavoidable. Others can be managed with diet.
- Start your cat on a senior diet at about seven years of age.
- The main objectives in the feeding an older cat should be to maintain health and optimum body weight, slow or prevent the development of chronic disease, and minimize or improve clinical signs of diseases that may already be present.
- As a cat ages, health issues may arise, including:
- deterioration of skin and coat
- loss of muscle mass
- more frequent intestinal problems
- dental problems
- decreased ability to fight off infection
- Routine care for geriatric pets should involve a consistent daily routine and periodic veterinary examinations to assess the presence or progress of chronic disease. Stressful situations and abrupt changes in daily routines should be avoided. If a drastic change must be made to an older pet's routine, try to minimize stress and to realize the change in a gradual manner.