Although nowadays many cats will enjoy happy, healthy lives right into their twenties, as your feline friend ages you may notice that their habits and needs start to change.
Just like humans, as cats enter old age they may start to slow down a little, become more susceptible to certain health conditions and show some general physical wear and tear.
However, there's no reason why your feline friend's later years can't be some of their best, so long as owners take the time to understand the changes their pet is going though and give them the best care possible.
As cats get older their nutritional requirements start to change, so it is often worth having a chat with your vet to ensure that you pet is on the best diet for their age and lifestyle.
Not only are cats at greater risk of certain clinical disease when they age, but they are also less active and have a slower metabolism so are more susceptible to weight gain.
Therefore, senior cats are best fed on a high quality, palatable diet that is high in easy to digest proteins and contains a careful balance of key nutrients and minerals.
Many brands such as Hill's cat food offer diets that are specially designed for the older cat to support them as they age and keep their weight in check, so it is worth shopping around to find the most suitable food for your pet.
In their geriatric years, cats often become a little stiffer and less tolerant, so it's important to make sure they are comfortable and happy when at home.
Some owners choose to buy softer bedding for their feline friend to keep them comfortable and warm, or lower their bed so they don't have to jump up onto a high surface when they fancy a snooze.
Older cats may also experience difficulties cleaning themselves, so it's important that you maintain a regular grooming routine and have your pet's nails clipped or trimmed on a regular basis.
All cats like routine and this is especially true as they get older, so try to feed your pet at a regular time and place and not to change anything around too suddenly.
And whatever their age and condition, it is important that you still encourage your pet to exercise gently if possible, as this will help them maintain bone strength and muscle tone.
Since cats are more likely to suffer from certain health conditions as they get older, it is recommended that owners take their pets for check-ups with the vet at least twice a year.
As in all areas of healthcare, prevention is always better than cure, so make sure that your feline is up to date with all their vaccinations and that you seek professional advice if they seem at all out of sorts at any stage.
Finally, older cats are especially prone to dental problems so try to brush your feline's teeth on a regular basis or take them to the vet for a more thorough clean if necessary.
Written by: Hannah Dyball