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Do you have an elderly cat or are you considering giving an older cat a home? Senior cats need different care than young kittens, and this care guide will walk you through keeping a senior cat happy and healthy for years to come!

Bringing Your New Senior Cat Home

What do I need to do to make my home cat-proof?

Make sure potentially dangerous items are out of the way, like electrical cords, rubber bands, hair ties, linear objects (strings, ribbons, etc), blind cords, medications, plants, cleaning supplies or household chemicals, potpourri, and anything small enough that you wouldn’t want a toddler to have access to. Make sure areas under recliners, behind fridges/ovens, your window screens, and your laundry areas are fully secure, as all of these can pose serious hazards to your cat.

Where should I keep my cat when I first bring him home?

Senior cats need time to adjust to a new environment.  Restrict the cat to one room of the house at first, with the food, water, litter box, treats, bedding, and toys all inside.  If your cat seems very anxious, you can use special "calming" products.   

  • Feliway
    • This product is a synthetic analog of feline facial pheromones available in plug- in diffusers and sprays that helps to calm the anxious cat. You can plug the diffuser in to affect a whole room or use the spray on local areas like bedding.
  • Pet Naturals Calming treats for cats
    • Treats can be offered during any potentially fearful event.

If I already have animals, how can they get used to each other?

Start with the door closed, gradually working up to opening it a crack. Use a towel or an article of your clothing to transfer scents from pet to pet, feed treats on opposite sides of a door or a baby gate. Use calming products all over the house to help keep everyone calm, and don’t push the introductions if they’re hissing or seem scared, although limited hissing and growling is not abnormal.

  • Feliway 

When should my new cat meet my other pets?

Keep all other pets in the house away until the newcomer is comfortable in his/her "safe" room.  Provide as much human interaction as possible!  When all cats appear to be relaxed and are no longer hissing, you can gradually allow them to explore the rest of the house, use other litter boxes and meet other pets, under your direct supervision, until all residents are content with each other.

  • Vetri Science Composure Feline Chews
    • Treats will encourage cats to be more social with each other.  Have a "treat party" when the cats encounter each other, turning a potentially negative situation into a positive one.  
  • NaturVet Quiet Moments
    • Treats will encourage cats to be more social with each other.  Have a "treat party" when the cats encounter each other, turning a potentially negative situation into a positive one.  

When can I move the litterbox out of the "safe" room, if that isn't where I want it to be permanently?

Put a second box for your new cat where you want it to be long-term.   As soon as the cat is comfortable walking around the house and using the second box, the first one can be moved to a more desirable location.

  • Precious Cat Ultra Litter Attractant
    • An herbal scent  will help him find the litterbox, and want to use it
  • Natures Miracle Calming Spray
    • Can be sprayed around the litter box areas and is helpful in making cats remain calm in tense situations

When can I move the food and water?

As soon as your cat is comfortably exploring your home, it’s safe to move the food to another location, as long as it’s free from loud noises and heavy traffic that could startle your cat. If you have multiple cats, once they’re living comfortably together, you can move your new cat’s food to the same room as the other cats. They may require more than one feeding station to discourage competition for resources.

Should I allow my cat to go outside?

Cats who go outdoors unprotected can be injured by cars, exposed to toxins, get lost, and attacked by predators or other cats.  In addition, these cats are more likely to be infected with intestinal worms, heartworms, bacteria, fungus and viruses.  Keep your cat safe on a securely screened-in patio or porch, where he can enjoy the outdoors safely.  

  • PetSafe Small 2- Way Locking Cat Door
    • If your cat must go outside, provide her with a small door so she can get in quickly if she feels threatened, and always lock her in at night for safety.     

Will my indoor cat require a collar?

Yes. Even the most careful of cat parents can have a cat accidentally dart out a door. Your cat should have a collar even if he is microchipped, too. A collar will instantly signify to neighbors and passersby that your cat has a home and is not just a stray, encouraging them to try to help your cat and ultimately reunite the two of you!

How long will my senior cat live?

Senior cats kept indoors will often live to 15 years old, but many live for 18-20 years or longer.

Socializing and Training

How do I safely pick up or hold my cat?

Pick up from under the chest and support under your cat’s rear end.

How should I get my cat used to petting?

Your cat may be fearful of touch at first. Focus on getting him used to being petted gently on the middle of the back, moving your hand in line with his fur growth. Some cats don’t like to be petted on the head and others don’t like near the tail or the stomach. Pay attention to your cat’s body language, including whether they’re swishing/wagging their tails, to help show you when to stop.

Can I scruff my cat?

Scruffing is grabbing the cat’s fur at the back of the neck, just as a mother cat would do to carry or discipline. Scruffing should only be done by trained veterinary professionals, and even then, it’s only the mother cat who should ever scruff a cat, and only as a kitten!

How can I help my cat be less nervous?

Cats can be very reactive to loud noises or fast movements. Have children practice moving slowly and quietly around your cat and always ensure that your cat has a safe place to go that is dark and quiet (a spare bedroom works well for this) that can be your cat’s safe zone to escape to when scared.

How can I stop my cat from doing things I don’t like?

Cats respond best to positive reinforcement, not punishment. Don’t hit or yell, as this makes behaviors worse. You can deter your cat from countertops using startle methods (a water bottle your cat won’t see you spray or “hiss” machines that sit on your counters and hiss when your cat jumps up), but in general, it’s best to place your cat on the floor and reward her for being on the floor instead of the counter with a treat and praise.

Food and Water

What types of food and water bowls do I need?

Steel or ceramic food bowls are ideal for all cats. In general, it is best to avoid plastic, as many cats are prone to plastic allergies and/or to developing acne. Plastic holds bacteria more than the other materials mentioned. For water, fountains are more highly recommended than any stagnant water source.

Should I feed my cat dry food?

Dry food is less expensive, easier to store, and less messy.  Most cats prefer to nibble at their food around the clock, eating up to 30 small meals per day.  You can control cats calorie intake by feeding a high or low calorie food, while having it available at all times.  Older cats with dental problems may struggle to eat crunchy food.

Should I feed my cat canned food?

Canned wet food and soft moist pouches contain a lot of water, which makes it more expensive and also subject to spoiling if the cat doesn't eat it all in one meal.  However, there are advantages to feeding canned food.  Cats in general do not drink enough water and canned food provides additional water.  Also, cats should eat a high protein, low carbohydrate diet, which is most often found only in certain canned foods.

How do I know what cat food to buy?

There are so many products on the market it can be confusing. We recommend foods that are made in the USA with ingredients from the USA, to avoid the risk of contaminated sources overseas. It is important to remember that cats are true carnivores and require a diet that is high in protein, moderate in fat, and low in carbohydrates. The food should taste good, maintain your cat's ideal weight, and result in healthy, solid stools.

  • Made in the USA and/or products with a low recall history, such as:
    • Orijen, Acana, Fromm, Great Life, Pure Vita, Weruva, Tikicat, Wellness, Natural Balance, Avoderm, Halo, Solid Gold, Merrick, Nutro Ultra, Purina Proplan, Newmans Own, Purina One, Kirkland Brand

Does my cat need to eat a senior formula diet?

Possibly, but in general, no. There is a misconception that older cats need a lower level of protein in their diet as they age, which is usually how "senior" formulas differ from adult diets. Lower protein can unfortunately lead to the loss of lean muscle mass, which your cat needs especially as he ages. You should speak to your veterinarian about this, though, because changes in organ function may require a change in diet. Your vet may recommend blood work to show how your cat’s various organs are working in order to choose a diet.

How much do I feed?

Your vet can tell you how much your cat weighs, and if she needs to gain or lose weight. Look at the recommendations on the food bag or can and feed for what your cat should weigh and not necessarily what she actually weighs to keep her weight ideal.

  • Petmate Pet Cafe Feeder
    • This free feeder will provide food at all times for several days
  • Esky Electronic Portion Control Automatic Feeder
    • Automatic feeders can be programmed to dispense just the right amount of food for cats who tend to overeat, and you don't need to be home.
  • Wonder Bowl Selective Feeder
    • This Selective Feeder keeps other pets out of your cat's food so it is perfect for cats on a special diet for medical reasons.

How often do I feed my cat?

If you’re feeding dry food, it should be in controlled portions at least twice daily. If you’re feeding canned food, it spoils after 15-30 minutes, so cannot be left down, but should be fed a minimum of twice daily.

How much water should my cat drink?

Fresh, clean water should be available to your cat at all times.  The amount a cat drinks will depend on what type of food she is eating.  Cats on wet food may drink very little to no extra water compared to a cat on dry. Older cats that begin to drink more should be seen by a vet. Fountains will encourage your cat to drink more water.   Use these instead of turning on the faucet for your cat, which can lead to annoying, demanding behaviors. 

  • Pet Safe Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain
  • Aspen Pet Products Deluxe Fresh Flow Pet 

What treats are best for my cat?

Treats should be tailored to your individual cat's needs, and taste buds! Remember, though, that treats are calories too, so should only be given in moderation!

  • Feline Greenies Dental Treats
    • Dental treats help keep the mouth fresh and break plaque buildup off of teeth
  • Pet Naturals Hairball Treats
    • Hairball treats are especially beneficial for long haired cats or cats who groom excessively
  • Calming Cat plus melatonin soft chew for anxious cats 

Are human foods safe for my cat?

Cats have special dietary requirements for protein and amino acids, so you should avoid feeding them human food exclusively, or diets that are 100% Fish.  Small amounts of cooked meats,  and occasional bites of your food are safe.  Dairy products ideally should be lactose free for better digestion. Be sure you know what foods are not safe, like chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, macadamia nuts,  garlic, yeast dough, coffee, salt and xylitol.

Where should I place the food and water?

Place the food and water bowls away from high traffic areas and the  litter box .  Food may need to go up high on a shelf, counter or dryer where only the cat can reach it if you have dogs. 

  • Petsafe Slimcat Meal Dispensing Cat Toy
    • This unique toy encourages  your cat to exercise while eating, an excellent choice for an overweight cat.

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Why is my senior cat showing changes in eating or drinking habits?

Eating and defecating more or less or drinking and urinating more or less are all common signs of illness in your senior cat.

Litter Box

Is one litter box enough for my cat?

One box per cat, plus one is the rule!  This means a minimum of two boxes for one cat or 11 boxes for 10 cats. You should also have at least one litter box on every story of your house. That means a 3 story house gets 3 litter boxes for one cat. Follow whichever rule of litter boxes is a greater number!

How big should the litter box be?

As big and deep as possible!  Everything you read here is based on research by feline behaviorists.  Cats prefer a lot of space so they can choose a new site each time, because they are very clean animals. Lower sides if arthritic.

  • Pet Supermarket IRIS open top litter box
  • Pureness Giant Cat Litter Pan
    • The length of these extra large pans should be one and one-half times the length of the cat
  • Lowes, Home Depot, or other hardware store large plastic storage containers
    • Place lid behind the box to protect the wall, and cut an opening for your cat to enter and exit
  • Walmart child’s small plastic swimming pool
    • This may seem excessive but cats love the huge space.  Perfect for multi-cat households             

Where should I put the litterbox?

Choose a site that is private but easily accessible.  Make sure that no humans or other cats will block the entrance.  The box should be on a tile or wood floor.  If carpet is the only option, then place a large piece of plastic under the box so no litter can spill on the carpet, which can lead to cats eliminating on the carpet.  Location is everything!  Cats prefer a quiet, safe, private place to potty, just like we do.  It is important for the cat to never be interrupted or frightened by noise or activity near the box.  At the same time, it should be close enough to be convenient.  Two entrances and exits to the room where the box is ideal if you have multiple cats.

  • Purr-Fect Paws Cat Litter Mat
    • A commercially available mat to put under the box
  • Merry Pet Cat Washroom
    • An attractive, enclosed litter box for opening living areas

Should the litter box have a cover on it?

This is a matter of preference for the cat. Most cats prefer open.  If you would like to have a cover, provide one box with a cover and one without.  If you are lucky, your cat will use the covered one just as much as the uncovered.  The larger the covered box, the more likely your cat will use it. The advantage of a covered box is that some of them are designed to look like furniture so they are less obvious to visitors

  • Catit Jumbo Hooded cat litter pan
  • Booda Dome Cleanstep Cat Box5: 

What type of litter should I use?

Most cats prefer litter that clumps and is the consistency of sand, so you should try these first.  There are also clay, granular, recycled paper, silica beads, grain based, garden soil and other types available.

  • Lowes playground sand or construction sand
    • These products can be more economical for multi-cat households, especially if you are using a small swimming pool as a litter box.
  • Precious Cat Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter
  • Tidy Cats Cat Litter Clumping
  • Arm & Hammer litter deodorizer
    • Litter Deodorizer can help control odor for cats with particularly strong urine

How often should I clean the litter box?

Every 2 hours up to as little as once a day is ideal, depending on your schedule, the number of cats you have, and how fastidious your cat is. No litter box should ever go more than 24 hours without being scooped, and the litter should be completely changed every 1-2 weeks.

Should I consider getting an automatic litter box?

Automatic self cleaning litter boxes clean the box after each use; some cats require special training to use them.  Make sure the manufacturer includes instructions with the product. 

  • Omega Paw Self-Cleaning Litter Box
  • PetSafe Simply Clean Continuous Clean Litter Box 

Why does my senior cat seem to be using the litter box more often?

A senior cat could have one of several conditions that often make a cat urinate more frequently, such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes, and kidney disease. These conditions are more common in older age cats, and the first warning signs you may have could include an increase in drinking and/or the litter box seeming more "wet". Contact your veterinarian if you're noticing these changes.

Why does my cat’s stool seem harder or smaller?

Defecation habits change with age, and constipation is common. This can occur simply due to age itself, but can also be caused by underlying disease processes. You should contact your veterinarian, as there are treatment options to help soften your cat's stool even if there is no underlying condition.

Exercise and Play

How can I stimulate my older cat to increase his energy level and play more often?

Cats slow down as they age, and arthritis often plays a role in this.  As with a cat of any age, use hand held toys (not your own body parts as this can lead to inappropriate biting/scratching) that encourage a more active behavior.   Drag any toy with a small rope (but don’t let the cat chew the string). Talk to your vet about joint supplements that might help increase activity level as well.

  • Laser Pointer
    • Cats love to chase the dot! Just be sure to end play time with laser with a toy the cat can catch or a treat
  • Cat Dancer 301 Cat Charmer
  • Go Cat Catcher Teaser Wand with Mouse Cat Toy
  • MYLAR Crinkle Balls 

How do I get my cat to exercise when I am not home?

Some cats keep themselves busy, but most will sleep all day!  You can hide treats for your cat to search and find. Your cat may play with other pets in the house, but if not, provide some “natural” entertainment. Bird feeders outside your windows, TV, or a radio can keep your cat entertained when you’re not home.

  • Cats Meow Moving undercover mouse electronic cat toy
  • Ideas in Life rotating mouse kitten toy
  • Smart Cat Peek and Play toy box
  • CatIt Treat Ball
  • Bergan turbo track cat toy
  • Kitty City pouncing paws motorized cat toy
    • Electronic toys can be set to turn on several times a day for short periods of time. 
  • One Fast Cat exercise wheel
    • A great way for your cat to exercise indoors, but will require some training

Does my cat need a scratching post?

Your cat needs a place to scratch as well as to climb and explore.   Cat condos help deter your cat from climbing on the furniture.  They often include places to hide, and scratch as well.  A natural wood firelog or old wicker chair can be great for scratching.  

  • Bergan turbo scratcher cat toy or KONG naturals Incline Scratcher Toy  
    • These are designed to attract your cat to scratch
  • Cat Tree Scratcher Play House Condo or SmartCat multilevel cat climber
    • Put these in front of an uncovered window and your cats will love them!

Can I take my cat for walks?

It depends on the cat!  The only safe way is on a leash with a special cat harness.  Introduce your cat to the outdoors one step at a time, using lots of treats until she is comfortable.  Some cats will enjoy this and others will prefer to stay indoors.

  • Coastal Pet Black Mesh Cat Harness, Kitty Holster Cat Harness, Savvy Tabby Nylon Cat Harness
    • These harnesses keep your cat securely attached to the leash outdoors, never rely on just a collar!
  • Strollers    

Is it okay to give my cat catnip?

Generally, catnip can be considered safe, but not all cats will react to it. However, catnip can aggrevate some conditions, so if your cat has a chronic illness like kidney disease or a heart condition, it may be best to avoid it entirely. Because of this, especially where older cats are concerned, you should discuss the use of catnip with your veterinarian.

Sleeping

What areas in my house are the best for my cats to sleep?

Cats sleep or rest about 60% of their day and even more as they age.  They will do this almost anywhere, depending on their personalities.  You might need to add pet stairs throughout your home to ease the pressure on your cat’s joints when trying to climb.

Does my cat need her own bed?

Cat beds are usually enclosed so that cats feel more secure and hidden.  Your cat may like his own bed on the floor or prefer the height of a shelf, a cat condo or a chair.  Other cats will sleep hidden underneath furniture. 

  • Sunny Seat Window Mounted Cat Bed,  Midwest Homes for Pets, Curious Cat Cube, Armarkat cat bed, Pet Ottoman
    • These are just some of the cat beds available. 

Can my cat sleep in bed with me?

Of course!  This is where most cats want to be.  If you object to this, you will need to provide an alternative place from day one, or your cat may be difficult to keep off your head while you are trying to sleep! Senior cats may have difficulty getting onto your bed, so use cat stairs.

  • Pet stairs 

Why is my senior cat howling or crying at night?

Age-related hearing loss often makes a cat feel more insecure and can lead to howling. They might also lose some ability to see at night. However, cats can also develop underlying medical conditions with age, such as hyperthyroidism, which can lead to hearing loss. You should have medical conditions for this behavior ruled out before assuming that it is behavioral, but to help your cat feel better, leave lights on at night.

Can I close my cat out of my bedroom?

You can, but please make sure that water and litter boxes are available to your cat no matter whether you choose to lock him in or out of your room.

Does my cat need the house kept at a certain temperature, especially at night?

Senior cats can have a more difficult time staying warm, especially if they've lost muscle and body fat with age. If you can't set your thermostat a little higher, you should provide plenty of warm bedding for your cat, and consider leaving bed linens loose so your cat can easily get underneath them if he feels too cold.

Traveling with Cats

Should I take my cat with me or leave him at home?

Cats are more comfortable in their own environment. It’s better to hire a pet sitter to visit your pet in your home. In a best-case scenario, you could even hire a house sitter to live in your home while you're away. If you're using a pet sitter, though, be sure to have them visit at least once a day.

How do I get my cat in a carrier?

Gently. If you have difficulty, you can wrap him in a towel first.  If you need still another tactic, lean the carrier on its end and lower your kitty’s hind feet first into the carrier.

How do I take my cat in the car?

Cats are not small dogs. They get very anxious when removed from their familiar environment.  If you want your cat to be a good traveler, you will need to train him to go into a crate and relax.  A cat loose in the car is at a very high risk for escape.

  • OxGord Pet Carrier soft sided cat, Petmate top load pet kennel
  • Sleepypod 

What if my cat doesn't like the crate?

You can start with short periods of confinement and lots of yummy treats! Gradually get your cat used to being in a crate for longer periods of time, in a moving vehicle.   The alternative is to get a strong sedative from your veterinarian or to endure the sound of your cat meowing for the entire trip!

  • NurtureCALM feline calming pheromone collar
  • Calm Cat Anti anxiety and stress relief coat
  • Feliway 

Can my cat stay in a hotel with me?

Always confine your cat in a "safe" room, like the bathroom, when entering hotels or strange houses.  Make sure she is relaxed and using the litterbox before letting her explore.  Never allow your cat to go outdoors unsecured.  They have been known to travel many miles to get back home.

Can my cat travel by air with me?

In most cases yes, but you’ll need to check with your airline and customs, and make sure that your cat is in proper health.

Grooming and Home Care

How often should I give my cat a bath?

For short-haired cats who keep themselves clean--Never!    Most cats are very low maintenance in the grooming department.   If you are allergic to cats, or have a cat who is unable to keep herself clean due to a medical issue, she can be bathed as needed.  It is best to train them for this as well, or have the bath done by a professional.

  • Vet's Best dry clean waterless cat foam
    • wash your cat without water!
  • E'Plaza Adjustable Polyester Pet Cat Washing Mesh Bags
  • Guardian Gear Nylon Cat Muzzle
    • Helps keep you and your cat safe during a bath

Does my long-haired cat need a hair cut?

He does if he is unable to keep his hair from getting matted.  You should brush him every day to help him out, but sometimes keeping the hair short is the only solution.    A professional groomer can clip most of the long hair, while leaving the head, legs and tail (a lion cut).  Some cats just need to be clipped around their anal area, which is called a sanitary clip.

  • Four Paws Magic Coat Love Glove
  • Safari self cleaning slicker brush
    • Tools to help you remove the loose hair off your cat on a daily basis. 
  • FURminator deshedding tool
    • Prevents hairballs and excessive shedding and matting 

Do I need to brush my cat?

Yes. This will help prevent hairballs, hair on your clothes and furniture, and can be a wonderful bonding time for you and your cat.

  • FURminator
    • Deshedding tool

Products on Amazon

Should I trim my cat's toenails or get him declawed?

You can train your cat (lots of treats, again!) to allow you to trim his nails or apply nail caps to his claws at home.  Senior cats are less motivated to sharpen their claws, which means they’re more likely to curl around and grow into your cat’s paw pads. Your vet or groomer can show you how to trim the nails.  Surgical declawing of a senior cat is a very traumatic act and should not be done or if medical conditions of the pet parent require it, as a last resort discuss it with your vet.

  • JW Pet Company Deluxe Nail Trimmer for Cats
    • For trimming nails at home
  • Soft Paws or Soft Claws Nail Caps
    • An alternative to declawing.  You can put these on at home.
  • Scratching posts
    • These discourage your pet from scratching on unwanted surfaces and also help to keep nails trimmed.

How can I get my cat to get used to my touching her paws?

For nail trims, play with your cat’s paws while she’s asleep before introducing clippers. Then, work on pushing on the foot pads to extend the nails. Once your cat is comfortable with both of these, you can then introduce nail clippers.

Should I brush my cat’s teeth?

Yes! Imagine how horrible your teeth would look and feel if you never brushed. Your cat can't do it on his own, and will need your help. Especially as cats age, good dental health can have a significant impact on organ function, too. Try to get your cat used to tooth brushing as early as possible.

How can I tell if my cat is at a healthy weight?

Body condition score. Feeling for ribs.  Using a scale and consulting with your vet.  It is  common to feel the backbone of a senior cat as muscles begin to break down. If you feel your cat’s backbone easily, your vet might need to help you assess whether your cat is at a healthy weight.

Does my cat need monthly parasite preventatives?

Even indoor cats can come into contact with fleas or ticks or other parasites. Cats are generally considered to be resistant to heartworms, but you should still discuss the use of a monthly heartworm preventative with your veterinarian, especially if your cat is older. Regardless of your cat's age, protecting him against fleas and ticks is always a wise choice.

  • Frontline
  • Revolution
  • Advantage 

Should I clean my cat’s ears?

Most cats won’t need it and will keep their own ears clean while grooming themselves. The vet will examine the ears carefully during the regular check-up, but if there is ever a concern about ear cleanliness, you should use a cleanser product recommended by your veterinarian.

Why does my cat’s fur seem so dull?

Older cats have a harder time grooming, again often due to arthritis. A nutritional change may be needed as well.  There are internal diseases that can lead to a poor hair coat as well.  If you notice a sudden change in your cat's hair coat or grooming behaviors, you should contact your veterinarian.

Why do my cat’s eyes look different?

Pupils that look white could be cataracts. Only your vet can tell for sure.  The iris will often get black/brown spots around the pupils that are normal signs of aging. The eyes of an older cat often appear a bit “sunken” as well.

Veterinary Care

What does the vet need to do before I bring my cat home?

Cats should be blood tested for Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus before they are put in a house with other negative cats.  A fecal test and necessary dewormings should be done for intestinal parasites. Ear mite treatment may also be needed. Vaccines should be up-to-date and the kitty should be examined for fleas.

How often should I take my senior cat to the Vet?

All cats should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year, regardless of whether or not they need vaccines. Exams are critical for all cats at least annually. Senior cats should be seen every 6 months. Remember, cats instinctively hide symptoms of illness in order to avoid predators.

Does my cat need vaccinations?

Senior cats should have a Rabies virus vaccine every three years because it is required by law.  An FVRCP vaccine protects against 3 other viruses that are highly contagious between cats. If your cat is around any other cats, they should have this vaccine every 3 years as well, but they should not be given during the same year as a rabies vaccine.

Does my cat need routine parasite tests?

Cats should be tested for parasites in their stools even if they live indoors and should receive routine flea preventative medication, especially if you have other pets.

Does my cat need routine bloodwork?

Getting blood values checked annually is a good idea, especially as your cat ages. You'll want to keep track of your cat's organ function to ensure that she can live a long, healthy, happy life and intervene on any problems as early as possible.

How often does my cat need professional teeth cleaning?

Cats don’t brush or floss on their own. Therefore, they need cleanings regularly, every year to 3 years in most cases.

Should I have my cat spayed/neutered and/or declawed?

Veterinarians often recommend neutering and declawing at the same time. All cats should be spayed/neutered to prevent accidental reproduction, roaming, aggression, marking, and even reproductive cancers. Declawing, however, can lead to many behavioral and even physical problems and should be avoided at all costs.

Should my pet be microchipped?

Microchipping is advised for all pets, and can be done any time. The procedure is quick and painless, and senior cats from shelters will often come with a microchip already implanted. Microchips will provide a permanent ID for your cat, since a collar or tag can easily fall off or get caught and ripped off outdoors. Always be sure to update your contact information if you move, get a new phone number, or transfer ownership of your cat to a new person so the chip tells shelters, animal control, or a veterinarian who to contact to get the cat back home

Does my cat need pet insurance?

Yes! Pet insurance is a low monthly cost and can potentially save you thousands of dollars in a single emergency room situation. Pet insurance can cover routine veterinary care, emergency injuries or illnesses only, or some combination of both. Dental and chronic conditions can be covered by some plans as well. Be sure to evaluate your plan carefully so you know what is covered and what isn’t, and whether any hereditary, genetic, or pre-existing conditions are excluded.

How do I know if my cat is sick?

Watch for anything out of the ordinary--you know your cat! Cats do 5 primary things: eat/drink, urinate/defecate, sleep, play, and groom themselves. If there are any changes in the normal pattern, take your kitty to the veterinarian!

Signs of Emergencies
Seizures, collapse, fainting, straining to urinate or defecate, eye injuries, swelling of the face, poisonous bites or bites from other animals, open/bleeding wounds, feeling too hot or too cold, breathing problems
Signs of Illness
Losing weight, failure to gain weight, changes in appetite, drinking more or less, urinating more or less, hair loss, behavior changes

 

How will I know when it’s time to euthanize my cat?

If your cat is not eating or drinking, and has a poor quality of life, you may want to consider euthanasia if you and your vet have tried everything possible to restore her to good health.  It is an individual decision.

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