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Grooming a Senior Cat

May 15, 2021

Is your feline buddy in her golden years? If so, Fluffy may need a helping hand with her beauty routine. Senior cats often have a hard time bending and stretching, which can make it hard for them to clean themselves. Obesity can also be an issue. Plus, your cat’s skin may produce more oil as she grows older, especially if she develops medical issues. You’ll need to brush Fluffy regularly to remove the dead fur and dander from her coat. A local vet offers some advice on this below.

Do It Regularly

If you have a longhaired kitty, you’ll likely need to brush your furry little diva daily. This will help keep her hair from forming mats. It can also help prevent hairballs, which are just as unpleasant for Fluffy as they are for you. It’s also good for her circulation.

Choose Proper Equipment

Wire brushes may work great on dogs with double coats, but they can be too sharpfor older kitties. Use something softer instead. Ask your vet for recommendations.


Cats’ claws thicken as they grow older. Fluffy may also become more prone to getting caught on things. Make sure that your furry friend has a good scratching post or board!

Be Gentle

Be extremely careful when brushing an older cat. Senior cats have very thin skin that can rip easily. Plus, Fluffy may be very stiff and sore. Pulling too hard on knots can hurt her.


Does your cat sometimes get a dirty rump? You can use a damp washcloth or cat wipes to keep her fur clean. Ask your vet for specific advice on this.

Make It Fun

Fluffy’s beauty sessions will be more pleasant for both of you if your furry friend thinks she’s being pampered. Timing is very important here. Wait until Fluffy is feeling relaxed and cuddly. Incorporate pets, ear scritches, and treats, and talk to her gently. Your goal is to get that motor going!

Know When To Get Help

If your kitty ever gets extremely tangled or matted, you may need to bring her to a groomer. Fluffy may not be thrilled about going to the salon, but her safety and well-being should trump her opinion.

Regular Veterinary Care

Fluffy should see her vet regularly. Keep in mind that skin or coat issues can sometimes be indicative of underlying health issues. Use the time to discreetly inspect your pet!

Our Advice on Grooming a Senior Cat in 2024

Are there any specific health conditions common in senior cats that can impact their grooming habits or needs?

Yes, several health conditions common in senior cats can impact their grooming habits or needs. As cats age, they may develop arthritis or other mobility issues that make it difficult to reach all areas of their body for grooming. Obesity can further restrict their ability to groom effectively. Senior cats may also experience an increase in skin oil production due to age-related changes or underlying medical issues, necessitating more frequent grooming. Additionally, conditions like dental pain can affect their comfort and ability to groom themselves. Regular veterinary care is essential to manage these conditions.

Can changes in a senior cat’s diet or nutrition affect the condition of their coat and skin?

Yes, changes in diet or nutrition can significantly affect the condition of a senior cat’s coat and skin. As cats age, their nutritional needs evolve, and deficiencies or imbalances can lead to issues such as dry, flaky skin or a dull coat. Proper intake of omega fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals is crucial for maintaining healthy skin and fur. Senior cats may require diets with specific nutrients to support skin health and coat quality. Consulting a veterinarian to tailor a diet plan suited to an aging cat’s specific health profile is advisable.

Are there any natural or homemade grooming products that are particularly beneficial for senior cats?

For senior cats, gentle, natural grooming products can be beneficial, especially for those with sensitive skin or reduced mobility. Products such as oatmeal-based shampoos can soothe irritated skin, while aloe vera can help moisturize dry skin. Homemade wipes made from soft fabrics soaked in a solution of water and gentle pet-safe cleansers can be used for spot cleaning. It’s crucial to avoid any products with harsh chemicals or strong fragrances that could irritate an older cat’s skin. Always consult a vet before introducing new grooming products.

How can owners help their senior cats maintain good dental hygiene?

Owners can help their senior cats maintain good dental hygiene by implementing regular tooth brushing using a cat-specific toothpaste, as human toothpaste can be toxic to cats. Dental treats and diets formulated to reduce plaque and tartar buildup can also be beneficial. Providing chew toys that promote dental health can help maintain gum and tooth health. Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial to assess dental health and professionally clean teeth if necessary, as dental issues can be more prevalent and impactful in older cats.

Are there any specific signs that a senior cat may be experiencing pain or discomfort during grooming?

When grooming a senior cat, signs of pain or discomfort may include vocalizations such as hissing or growling, withdrawal, and attempts to escape the grooming session. Increased irritability when touched in certain areas, flinching, or skin twitching can also indicate discomfort. A senior cat might also pant excessively or exhibit changes in breathing patterns when in pain. Observing these signs during grooming suggests that the cat may have underlying health issues, such as arthritis or skin sensitivities, necessitating a veterinary evaluation to address the cause of discomfort effectively.

Please contact us, your local veterinary clinic in Carlisle, ON, anytime. We are always here to help!

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