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How to Care for an Elderly Cat

Life expectancy has increased dramatically for cats. They routinely live into their late teens, and as a result, might need a little more help than when they were younger.


  • Step 1: Build ramps or stairs Older cats are less active and have trouble reaching things, so build ramps or buy pet stairs to help Kitty onto his favorite chair or windowsill.
  • Step 2: Schedule checkups Schedule veterinary checkups every 6 months.
  • TIP: Ask your vet whether you should change your aging kitty's diet. For instance, some older cats do better on a diet of canned food.
  • Step 3: Keep cat away from drafts Make sure eating, sleeping, and litter areas are in cozy spots throughout the home, far from any drafts. Older cats feel the cold more easily than youngsters.
  • Step 4: Groom cat Self-grooming habits may take a hit as your kitty's joints become stiff. Remove loose hair and stimulate circulation by brushing or combing your cat once a week.
  • TIP: Approach a cat with hearing problems from the front to avoid startling him.
  • Step 5: Keep fresh water within reach Kidney function often declines in an older cat. Keep fresh water within easy reach.
  • TIP: If your cat seems to drink and urinate much more than usual, schedule a vet appointment. Kidney medication can be very helpful.
  • Step 6: Keep cats indoors Be extra vigilant about keeping older cats indoors—the sad truth is that some older cats go out and don't come back.
  • Step 7: Give him attention Though your cat may not be as frisky or playful as he once was, he needs your love just as much as ever. Take time to give him extra attention—and lift him onto your lap for a cuddle if he can't jump as well these days.
  • FACT: Cats were considered sacred in ancient Egypt, and many pet cats were mummified—sometimes with a handful of embalmed mice by their sides.

You Will Need

  • A beloved elderly cat
  • Pet stairs or materials to make a ramp
  • A cat brush or comb
  • A veterinarian
  • Fresh water
  • An extra dose of TLC

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