Grooming and Trimming the Claws of Elderly Cats

Trimming the Claws pic
Trimming the Claws
Image: petmd.com

Board certified as a small-animal veterinarian, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince sees many cats in his Elmhurst, Illinois-based practice. Emphasizing a personalized approach to care, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince stresses the importance of helping cats with their grooming as they grow older and less able to take care of themselves.

With cats now living significantly longer than they once did, those past age 11 frequently require additional care. One symptom of age is a lessening of the ability to retract the claws. Because of this, claws can easily get caught in carpets or furniture or can become overgrown and stick into the animal’s foot pads. With age, regular claw trimming, both at home and by the vet, becomes a must.

Cats also become less adept at grooming as they grow older. This may mean assisting them in wiping away discharge from the nose and the eyes. The best material to use for this is a cotton ball that has been slightly moistened with warm water. Older cats may also need help grooming their fur. A fine comb and a soft brush can be used to remove any loose hair and dirt and to stimulate the skin. Owners should be gentle when brushing, as older cats lose the padding of their earlier years. Grooming also presents an ideal time to look for sores and unusual bumps or lumps on the skin, which may indicate that a visit to the vet is in order.