What is a Senior Cat?
There isn’t one specific age that classifies a cat as senior. Like people, some cats age faster than others. Generally speaking, however, older cats can be placed into one of three groups:
- Mature or middle-aged: 7–10 years (44-56 years for humans)
- Senior: 11–14 years (60-72 years for humans)
- Geriatric: 15+ years (76+ years for humans)
By providing good care at home and ensuring your cat receives regular veterinary care, you can increase the chances of your cat living into his or her late teens or early twenties.
As your cat ages, you should be prepared to see physical changes. It’s important to discuss these changes with your veterinarian to determine what is “normal” aging and what can be a sign of illness. By regularly taking your cat to the veterinarian, illnesses can be diagnosed early and age-related health conditions can be delayed or managed.
Some common changes associated with aging include
- Altered sleep-wake cycle
- Changes in vision
- Appearance of brown spots in the iris
- Decreased sense of smell
- Brittle nails
- Decreased lung reserve
- Heart or circulatory problems
- Decreased digestion and ability to absorb nutrients
- Loose, less-elastic skin
- Reduced ability to handle stress
- Changes in behavior
We all want to grow old with grace and dignity, and we want the same for our pets. Fortunately, expert understanding of cat health and advances in veterinary medicine mean cats can live longer, better lives than ever before. As your cat’s caregiver, there’s much you can do to keep your cat healthy and happy. We have additional tips for caring for your senior cat.