Amanda Jondle DVM

Dr. Amanda Jondle is a veterinarian who practices small animal medicine and surgery. Growing up on a small farm, she knew from a very young age that she wanted to work with animals and started spending time at a local vet clinic at 11 years old. In addition to working full time at an animal hospital, she now enjoys helping pets and educating clients through writing and editing articles to inform pet owners on how to best care for their pets. She and her husband currently have 4 rescue dogs and 3 cats of their own and are often fostering pets with health issues until they find their forever homes.

Kidney Disease in Cats: Symptoms, Treatments, and Prevention

A light brown and white cat lying down on a blue and white blanket, looking very tired. There is a small, brown stuffed animal bear leaning against the cat and a black smart table next to the sleeping cat.

What is Kidney Disease?

 Kidney disease in cats is the progressive and irreversible loss of kidney function. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the most common type of kidney disease diagnosed in cats. Kidney disease is determined to be chronic when the disease has been present for at least three months. 

Chronic kidney disease is also known as chronic kidney or renal failure (CRF) or chronic kidney or renal insufficiency (CKI). As the kidneys are damaged and lose function, the body retains toxins in the bloodstream. Red blood cell production and hormones are affected, the cat’s drinking and urinary habits change, and blood pressure increases. There are also gastrointestinal side effects and many different electrolytes, mineral, and protein abnormalities in the blood and urine. The kidneys can’t keep up with their job, and as a result, many bad things happen.

What are the Causes of Kidney Disease

 There are many causes of kidney disease in cats. Some common ones are:

  • Toxins: Certain toxic medications, plants, and other toxins. 
  • Inflammation: Conditions such as pyelonephritis (a bacterial infection of the renal pelvis) and glomerulonephritis (a specific type of kidney disease) involve inflammation and infection in the kidneys. 
  • Congenital and Inherited Disorders: Examples are polycystic kidney disease and various kidney malformations (dysplasias) such as hypoplasia. 
  • Cancer: A common cancer affecting the kidneys is lymphoma.
  • Viral Infections: Retroviruses such as Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and Feline Infectious Peritonitis Virus. 
  • Bacterial Infections: Pyelonephritis and Leptospirosis are bacterial infections that can affect a cat’s kidneys.  
  • Obstructive Disease: Upper urinary tract obstructions such as kidney stones or stones in the ureters can cause kidney disease. 
  • Immune-Mediated Disease
  • Various Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders
  • Idiopathic: This refers to an unknown cause. 

What are the Symptoms of Kidney Disease?

The clinical signs and manifestations of kidney disease depend on how advanced the disease is and how much kidney function is lost. Initial symptoms are subtle and will develop and progress over time. Typically, owners will see the following signs: 

  • Polydipsia: Drinking more than normal
  • Polyuria: Urinating more than normal
  • Anorexia: Loss of appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Dehydration: Despite drinking more
  • Vomiting and Nausea
  • Muscle Weakness and Loss
  • Halitosis: Bad Breath
  • Ulcers in the Mouth
  • Pale Gums Due to Anemia (Low Red Blood Cells)
  • Lethargy: Decreased Energy and Increased Weakness
  • Hypertension: High Blood Pressure

 How Is Kidney Disease Diagnosed?

A fluffy, grey cat is lying on a table and being examined by a vet.

If kidney disease is suspected in your cat, they should be taken to see a veterinarian right away. A veterinarian will perform a physical examination as well as blood and urine tests and abdominal imaging. Two kidney values are measured in the blood, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine (CRE). With kidney failure, toxins are built up in the blood, causing these values to increase. This is known as azotemia. 

Another blood test, symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA), is also useful for determining kidney function. Consequences of kidney disease include changes in electrolytes such as potassium, minerals such as phosphorus, and blood cells such as red blood cells. These values are also monitored with blood tests. Urine tests show signs of kidney disease through poorly concentrated urine, protein loss in the urine, bacterial infections, and crystal or stone formation. 

Imaging of the abdomen with radiographs (X-rays) and ultrasound help determine the size, structure, and other anomalies associated with kidney disease. 

How Is Kidney Disease Treated?

An birds-eye view of a cat lying on blankets, using an IV drip.

There is no targeted treatment or cure for chronic kidney disease. The disease doesn’t just develop overnight. It is a progressive and chronic loss of kidney function, so once it is gone, we can’t get it back. If there are specific causes such as an infection or inflammation, treatment should be started for these conditions. Typically, even once these conditions are treated, the kidneys are left permanently damaged and have decreased function. This leaves symptomatic treatment and supportive care as the methods to manage and slow the progression of kidney disease. 

Making sure your cat is hydrated, eating, and pain-free are key factors in supportive care. Hydration is an essential aspect of supportive therapy. By increasing fluid intake in CKD patients, the kidneys get flushed of toxins, the cat feels better, and sometimes eats better too. The goal should be maintaining a good quality of life.

Other supportive care aspects vary from patient to patient and may include treatment for anemia, hypertension, protein in the urine, low potassium, high phosphorus, and gastrointestinal complications such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, and weight loss.

 What to Feed Cats with Kidney Disease?

Diet therapy is highly recommended for cats with kidney disease. Therapy is typically through prescription diets with decreased amounts of protein, phosphorus, sodium, and increased fiber, calories, and antioxidants. While prescription diets are important, the most important thing is to make sure the cat eats.

 How is Kidney Disease Prevented in Cats?

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent kidney disease. The key is to catch it early through regular physical exams and diagnostic screening.

 What is the Life Expectancy for Cats with Kidney Disease?

Kidney disease is most commonly diagnosed in older cats, typically over ten years of age. The life expectancy for cats with kidney disease varies greatly because it depends on certain factors like: 

  • What the underlying cause is
  • How quickly the disease progresses
  • How well the cat responds to supportive therapy
  • Other consequences of kidney disease your cat is suffering from
  • What stage of kidney failure the cat is in

Cats can live for weeks, months, and even years with kidney disease. 

 When Should You Euthanize A Cat with Kidney Disease?

A black and white cat receiving an IV and looks ill is lying down.

Determining when to euthanize a cat is a personal decision between the cat owner and veterinarian. The cat’s quality of life is the most important factor in deciding when to euthanize. 

A good quality of life is typically when the cat is comfortable and pain-free, eating and drinking on its own, and their symptoms and secondary conditions related to kidney failure are under control. Poor quality of life occurs when the cat is uncomfortable or in pain, not eating or drinking on its own, urinating and defecating on itself or not making it to the litter box, and suffering from unmanaged side effects of kidney disease. When the bad days outweigh the good days, it might be time to talk to your veterinarian about euthanasia. 

Why Is My Cat Throwing Up White Foam?

A white and grey cat with black stripes vomiting outside on the grass covered ground.

A cat vomiting up white foam could be a symptom of any number of various diseases or conditions. There are numerous underlying causes for cats vomiting in general. No matter what the vomit looks like, a vomiting cat should be seen by a veterinarian for an exam and diagnostic tests to determine what is wrong and be given the necessary treatment.

Causes of Vomiting in Cats

A white and grey can with some black stripes trying to cough up a hairball.

1. Hairballs

When cats groom themselves, they will inevitably swallow some of their fur. While some fur might pass into the stool, larger amounts of fur generally don’t digest well and irritate the stomach. Cats will vomit up the fur, usually in a wet clump called a hairball. Some cats will vomit once or even a few times before they produce the hairball. This vomit before the hairball is often a white foam or clear liquid substance. Depending on if the cat has recently eaten or not, it may have bits of food in it as well.

2. Gastritis

Gastritis is irritation and inflammation of the stomach. This typically occurs when a cat has eaten a substance that upsets the stomach. This could be a foreign object, plants, toxic material, or abnormal food. It can sometimes happen from a diet change or too many treats. Vomit from gastritis could have food present if the cat recently ate, or it could consist of bile, foam, or liquid.

3. Indigestion

Indigestion can occur when a cat’s stomach acid builds up and irritates the stomach. This often happens when the cat has skipped a meal or goes too long without eating. The irritation of the stomach can cause vomiting of white or yellow foam, bile, or liquid.

4. Gastrointestinal Obstruction

A gastrointestinal obstruction occurs when a cat eats an abnormal object or material that becomes stuck in the GI tract and can’t be vomited up or passed in the stool. When something is stuck, a cat will try to vomit it up, and the resulting vomit is often foam, liquid, or bile. GI obstructions are emergencies that often require surgery to remove the foreign object.

5. Eating Too Fast

It is not uncommon for a cat to eat too fast, resulting in vomiting or regurgitation. Usually, this vomit contains undigested food with some foam or liquid.

6. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

IBD occurs when there is inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. When the inflammation is in the upper GI tract, it often causes vomiting. The cause could be poor digestion, food allergies, parasites, autoimmune disease, cancer, or other GI tract diseases.

7. Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas with various causes but can also happen without a known cause. The pancreas produces hormones and digestive enzymes. When it becomes inflamed, this disrupts hormone and enzyme production, causes toxin build-up, and can involve inflammation in surrounding organs such as the liver, stomach, and intestines. Cats with pancreatitis can have abdominal pain, lethargy, inappetence, vomiting, and diarrhea.

8. Kidney Disease

Kidney disease in cats is common, especially as they age. It is typically a chronic kidney disease, although acute kidney injury can occur from toxins. Kidney disease causes kidney function loss, which causes toxins to build up in the blood because the kidneys can’t filter them out. Toxins in the blood can induce ulcers in the stomach and nausea, both of which might make the cat vomit. This vomit is often liquid, foam, or bile.

9. Metabolic Diseases

Aside from kidney disease, other metabolic diseases such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism can cause vomiting.

10. Parasites

Many gastrointestinal parasites can affect cats. If there is a substantial load of parasites, it can irritate the stomach and intestines and cause vomiting. Sometimes the cat will even vomit up a worm. Some of the most common types of parasite infections in cats are tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms.

Diagnosing Vomiting in Cats

A white cat with black patches lying on a glass table being examined by a male vet (using a stethoscope on the cat).

A vomiting cat should be taken to a veterinarian to find the cause of the vomiting. Your veterinarian will start with obtaining a thorough history and performing a physical examination. Other tests include fecal tests to check for intestinal parasites, bloodwork to screen for metabolic disease and other abnormalities associated with vomiting, and imaging. 

Imaging could include abdominal radiographs (x-rays) or an abdominal ultrasound. Imaging is done to look for foreign objects, signs of GI obstruction, masses, or inflammation in the GI tract. Images can also sometimes detect abnormalities in other organs such as the liver, bladder, or kidneys that could cause vomiting. 

If the source of the vomiting still isn’t found, more advanced diagnostics are performed, such as biopsies, endoscopy, or exploratory abdominal surgery.

Treating Vomiting in Cats

There is no good at-home treatment for vomiting in cats. A veterinarian should treat a vomiting cat because different causes of vomiting require different treatments. Your veterinarian will often provide fluid therapy either subcutaneously or intravenously and anti-nausea medications. Other medications, diet therapies, and supplements may also be needed.

What to Do if Your Cat is Vomiting

A white and grey cat with black stripes lying in the grass, apparently heaving as if wanting to throw up.

While many cat owners think vomiting might be normal, any cat that is vomiting should be seen by a veterinarian. This is especially true if the cat is vomiting more than once per week, vomiting several times in a day, there is blood in the vomit, or if the cat has other symptoms such as lethargy, inappetence, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or any other abnormalities.

How Often Should You Take Your Cat to the Vet?

A big grey cat with black stripes being held in the arms of a woman in a white doctor's coat.

In general, cats should visit their veterinarian at least yearly. However, this recommendation can vary based on your cat’s age and if there are any health concerns. 

Most cat owners know that their cat needs regular veterinary care. But the term ‘regular’ is subjective and can mean different things to different people. Just how often is ‘regular’ veterinary care for your cat? The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends that cats should visit their veterinarian at least once per year. The decision about how often to bring your cat or kitten to the vet depends on several individual factors such as age, environment, breed, and health status. 

study done by Bayer health determined that 52% of American cats see the vet less frequently than once per year. Some common reasons for these infrequent visits are that cats are pros at hiding their illnesses and injuries, and can sometimes be difficult to bring to the vet. Remember that cats need frequent and regular veterinary care, just like dogs and people!

Kitten Vet Visits

A small tan and white kitten sniffing a stethoscope on top of a clipboard, both of which are on a table.

If you have a kitten, it is important that they see a vet within the first week of adding them to your family. This way, your veterinarian can determine if the kitten is healthy and discuss the vaccination and visit schedule. 

Kittens typically receive their first core vaccination against feline rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia around 6-8 weeks of age and then every 3-4 weeks until around 16-20 weeks of age. Between 12-16 weeks, a kitten will receive its first rabies vaccination. 

During your kitten’s first veterinary visits, they will be examined, vaccinated, dewormed, and given other tests such as feline viral tests or fecal parasite tests as needed. 

Once a is kitten is around six months old, you should bring them to a vet to be spayed or neutered. 

Adult Cat Vet Visits

A grey, white, and brown cat with black stripes is being held from behind by a woman (probably a veterinarian) on an examination table.

Once a cat is a year old, they are considered an adult and should see the veterinarian at least once a year. These yearly wellness and preventative visits will include an annual examination, vaccines, and testing as needed. 

Most adult cats will receive their distemper combination (feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia) vaccine and rabies vaccine anywhere from every 1-3 years. At-risk cats will receive their feline leukemia vaccines yearly. 

Annual vet visits are a perfect time to ask your veterinarian questions regarding your cat’s diet, exercise, and behavior. 

Senior and Geriatric Cat Vet Visits

A light brown cat with its eyes closed lying down.

Senior cats are around 10-15 years old, while geriatric cats are considered over the age of 15. Senior and geriatric cats should see the vet twice a year for their wellness and preventative exams, and at least one of these visits should include routine blood and urine tests. Older cats are more prone to kidney, liver, and thyroid diseases and tend to become sick more often. 

When to Bring Your Cat to the Vet More Often

A light brown and white cat lying down, looking tired. A brown teddy bear is on top of the cat's back.
  • Cats should be seen by their veterinarian more often than once per year if they: 
  • Are acting sick
  • Have a known medical condition
  • Are injured
  • Spend time outdoors (higher risk of exposure to diseases and injuries)
  • Are used for breeding
  • Are exhibiting any changes in behavior

Cat Digging Excessively in The Litter Box: causes and Solutions

A black cat sniffing and pawing the litter in a blue litter box.

Digging in the litter box is normal for cats after they have gone to the bathroom to cover up their urine or feces. However, if your cat is digging in the box more often than they usually do, this could not only be an obnoxious mess, but it could point to a health or behavior problem. Let’s look at some reasons behind why your kitty might be spending more time than necessary in their litter box and digging excessively.

Reasons Your Cat Won’t Stop Digging in Their Litter Box

A black and white cat lying down next to a blue litter box, starting at a pile of litter on the floor.

Here are some reasons why your cat might be making frequent trips to their litter box and digging in their litter box more than usual. If you notice your cat displaying this abnormal excessive behavior, they may be trying to tell you something is wrong. You will first want to bring them to see your veterinarian and make sure they aren’t suffering from any of these medical or behavioral issues. Let’s look at some behavioral issues first.

Behavioral Issues Why Your Cat Is Digging Too Much

A brown, white, and black cat standing on the top of a pink and white enclosed litter box, looking towards the camera.

These causes of abnormal behaviors can be just as worrisome as medical causes and could explain excessive digging in the litter box.

  1. OCD: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a behavioral issue where a cat becomes fixated on a particular action and performs it regularly and repeatedly. It can be hard to break these habits, especially when they involve innate behaviors such as scratching and digging.
  2.  Anxiety/Stress: Cats are finicky creatures and can become stressed by even little changes in their household. Stress can cause cystitis, as mentioned above, and can contribute to abnormal behaviors, including inappropriate urination or defecation, hiding in strange places (litter boxes included), and OCD type behaviors.
  3. Marking; Naturally, cats will signal to other cats in various ways such as urine marking, scent-marking through pheromones, and scratching. When cats knead, dig, or scratch, they display this marking behavior and leave their scent through pheromone deposits. Excessive digging or scratching in the litter box could be related to marking their territory or signaling to another cat.
  4. Playing: Some cats find the strangest places to play. The litter box can be one of these places. This is more commonly seen in cats who haven’t been properly trained or aren’t used to being inside and using the litter box as their bathroom.
  5. Hiding Food or Toys: Stray, feral, or wild cats can be found hiding their resources from other animals. Even domesticated cats living solely indoors can display this behavior and may take to hiding their toys, treats, or food in odd places such as the litter box.
  6. Boredom: A bored cat is a destructive cat. If your cat isn’t given the necessary enrichment to keep them entertained, they will fend for themselves and find places to play, items to destroy, and expend their energy in whatever way they see fit. This could include playing in the litter box, excessive digging in the litter box, and other abnormal behaviors, as previously mentioned.

Medical Issues Why Your Cat Is Digging Too Much

A white and tan cat lying down looking tired, with a brown teddy bear on top of it.
  1. Diarrhea: Diarrhea is abnormally frequent defecation where the feces are soft or liquid. This can result in an increased urge and frequency to go to the bathroom.
  2. Intestinal Parasites: Cats can suffer from various intestinal parasites such as tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and others. These parasites can cause an upset stomach leading to vomiting, diarrhea, gas, and frequent defecation.
  3. Constipation: Constipation is the inability to defecate regularly or easily. This can result in straining in the litter box and frequent visits to the litter box.
  4. IBD: IBD, or Inflammatory Bowel Disease, is a disease where a cat’s gastrointestinal tract is chronically irritated and inflamed. This commonly causes diarrhea, vomiting, and a decreased appetite.
  5. UTI: Urinary tract infections are bacterial infections of the bladder and other parts of the urinary tract. Common signs include frequent urination, urinating small amounts at a time, blood in the urine, and inappropriate urination.
  6. Idiopathic Cystitis and FLUTD: FLUTD, or Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, includes several different urinary tract disorders that cats are prone to. This category does include UTIs, but a more common condition cats can get is idiopathic cystitis. Cats with cystitis have similar signs as those with UTIs, including frequently urinating in small amounts, blood in the urine, and inappropriate urination, none of which is caused by a bladder infection. Sometimes this is caused by stress, anxiety, inflammation, diet, or behavioral issues.
  7. Urinary Blockage: Male cats are the most at risk for a urinary blockage than females due to the small size of their urethra. A blockage of mucus, tiny stones, or crystals can form in the urethra preventing the cat from urinating. These cats usually have a painful abdomen, strain to urinate but don’t produce urine, make frequent trips to the litter box, and often act sick. This is an emergency! If you see your cat trying to pee but he can’t, you need to take them to see your veterinarian immediately.
  8. Diabetes: Cats with Diabetes Mellitus don’t respond normally to insulin, which results in high blood glucose. Common symptoms include drinking more water than usual and urinating larger amounts (thus more frequent trips to the litter box).
  9. Kidney Disease: Cats are prone to Chronic Kidney Disease as they age. This disease causes a loss of kidney function over time. Some common symptoms included weight loss, anorexia, vomiting, drinking excessively, and increased urination.

What to Do About Excessive Digging in the Litter Box

4 kittens in a cage, 3 of which are sitting in a small litter box.

Now that we have gone over several reasons why your cat might be spending more time in the litter box and excessively digging or scratching in it, let’s look at some solutions.

  1. See the Vet: Number one, as we already mentioned, is to take your cat to the vet. You’ll want to make sure you aren’t dealing with a serious medical or behavioral problem that needs attention.
  2. Size of Litter Box: Make sure your cat’s litter box is big enough that they can turn around, have plenty of space to move, and space to dig and cover as needed. The top shouldn’t be too low where they have to hunch over. It must also be long enough and wide enough. If you think your litter box is too small, try a bigger size.
  3. Type/Style of Litter Box: Cats can have different preferences as to what kind of litter box they prefer. Some enjoy the privacy of a hooded or sheltered box with a top. Others feel too confined with a hood and want an open box.
    • Cats with arthritis, injuries, or other mobility issues will require a litter box with lower walls, making it easier to get in and out of.
    • Self-cleaning litter boxes are popular because of the convenience and cleanliness they provide for the cat owner. However, some cats are scared of the motion and noises and may not use them appropriately.
  4. Number of Litter Boxes: It is recommended to have one more litter box than the number of cats in your household. You may need to add another litter box.
  5. Location of Litter Box: Litter boxes should be found on each level in the house or spread out across different areas.
    • Litter boxes should be located in quiet, out of the way areas.
    • Litter boxes should be kept away from other pets such as dogs.
  6. Litter Substrate – Type of Litter: Cats may have preferences for the type of litter they want to use.
    • Typically, the best and most common type of litter is a clay litter – either clumping or non-clumping.
    • Litter should always be unscented. Scented litters, while appealing to cat owners, is not appealing to the cat.
  7. Enrichment & Entertainment: If your cat displays abnormal behaviors such as excessive digging in the litter box, make sure to provide enough enrichment. This includes toys, play, attention, cat trees, scratching posts, and time and space to explore.  
  8. Amount of Litter: Ensure that the litter box has enough litter in it. There needs to be enough for the cat to be able to cover what they need to completely.
  9. Cleanliness: Last but certainly not least, the litter box must be kept clean. This means scooping it at least once a day, changing out the litter weekly to monthly, and cleaning the box itself regularly.
    • Cats don’t like to be dirty, and even though a litter box seems like a filthy place, cats will avoid it if it is too smelly or full.

Why Do Cats Use a Litter Box? 

An overhead shot of a brown/blackish cat looking down into a litter box with white and blue litter in it.

It is a cat’s natural instinct to use a litter box as their toilet. After they urinate or defecate, they bury it in the litter. Cats are notoriously clean and tidy creatures and prefer a clean environment. From a young age, they inherently know that burying their excrement helps keep their environment clean. Their wild ancestors would bury their droppings to cover their scent from other animals, keeping predators unaware of their whereabouts.

Normal Litter Box Behavior

A brown and white cat sitting in a litter box looking up at the camera.

Normally, when a cat or kitten has to go to the bathroom, they will seek out an area where they can bury their excrement. For outdoor cats, this could mean the kid’s sandbox, the garden, or a dirt pile. 

Indoor cats must be provided the substrate to bury their droppings. A proper litter box should contain the appropriate amount and type of litter for the cat to use (more on this later). The cat will go into the litter box, walk around until they find that perfect place, and then do their business. When they are done, they will cover it up with litter and leave the litter box.

Abnormal Litter Box Behavior

A grey and white cat with black stripes in peaking out of a an enclosed litter box.

Some signs that your cat is using the litter box abnormally include:

  • Frequently going in and out of the litter box while they may or may not be doing anything in it.
  • Spending a longer amount of time in the litter box. They could be squatting or posturing for a long time, straining to urinate or defecate, sleeping, playing, or digging around.
  • Urinating or defecating outside the litter box. This could be right outside the litter box, on the floor, on a rug, on your laundry, in the bed, or anywhere else.

These behaviors are abnormal, and you should seek out veterinary attention if you notice your cat displaying these types of litter box behavior.

Can Cats Eat Raspberries? How Safe Are They?

A square, white bowl filled with raspberries and a mint leaf on the top. There are 3 raspberries on the table next to the bowl

Raspberries are a delicious and nutritious food that we can enjoy anytime. While you indulge in this simple treat, you might wonder if your feline friend can share this snack with you. The short answer is yes. Cats can eat raspberries…

However, it isn’t as easy or as straightforward as a simple yes. There are some things you should take into consideration for your cat’s best interest.

Are Raspberries Healthy for Cats?

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they are true carnivores, requiring meat to live. Their digestive tracts are specifically made for digesting meat. They don’t absorb nutrients from carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits, and other foods like other mammals. This doesn’t mean a cat can’t digest other types of nutrients; they are simply naturally programmed for a specific diet.

That being said, the majority of a cat’s diet should be a high-quality protein. Cats can enjoy other foods in moderation. The best way to think about it is that any other foods should be considered a snack.

Non-high-quality protein foods should be considered a special treat for your cat.

This includes raspberries. If your cat is curious about your raspberries, don’t worry, they can have a little nibble. Make sure to keep it in small amounts, such as one or two on occasion.

Most cats won’t give raspberries a second thought as they aren’t necessarily the first thing their taste buds crave. As most cat owners know, cats are curious about everything, and some have quirky habits or get into things more than others.

Since cats are obligate carnivores, they don’t require any specific nutrients from fruits, including raspberries. Feeding them raspberries won’t give your cat any additional health benefits.


Are Raspberries Safe for Cats?

Cats can safely snack on raspberries in small amounts. Think one or two berries at a time and given infrequently. If your cat likes these sweet and tart treats, it is important that you don’t leave a large amount out in an area where your kitty can eat too many. Keep them stored in the refrigerator or a locked container out of reach.

Raspberries, as well as some other fruits, contain a natural sweetener called xylitol. This study suggests that raspberries have the highest amount of xylitol compared to other fruits. There are approximately 400 micrograms of xylitol per raspberry.


Why Is This a Problem for Your Pet?The word "Xylitol" and its chemical formula written over a blue background with someone's hand holding a white pen.

Xylitol is known to be a major toxin in pets, especially in dogs. It is a dose-dependent toxin, so the more xylitol consumed per pound of body weight, the more toxic it is in the body, and the more severe problems it can cause.

The main issues with xylitol in dogs are low blood sugar, liver failure, and even death at high doses. We already know that cat’s process foods differently than other animals, and xylitol is no different.

While more research needs to be done on a broader sample of cats, this 2018 study shows that xylitol poses minimal to no negative side effects in cats.

So, you can rest easy knowing that feeding your cat a raspberry or two shouldn’t cause any toxic issues. However, you don’t want to purposely feed your cat food or candy that contains high amounts of xylitol due to the unknown effects.

Since raspberries are small berries, you will want to make sure to offer it in bite-size amounts, so your cat won’t choke on it. Most cats will be more cautious about eating a new treat and will only eat small bites at a time, but if your cat loves berries, she may try to eat the berry quickly or all at once, which could pose a choking hazard.

When offering any new food or treat, make sure to closely monitor your cat when they first try a raspberry. Some cats are sensitive to certain foods, especially those with other health issues or digestive abnormalities. Watch their behavior after eating the berry. Watch for vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, gas, lethargy, inappetence (lack of appetite), or any other signs of illness. If you are concerned about your cat after eating raspberries, contact your veterinarian right away.


How Many Raspberries Can a Cat Eat?

Cats can safely eat 1-2 raspberries at a time.


How to Feed Raspberries to Your Cat

It is best to feed fresh raspberries to your cat without additional preservatives, added sugars, or other ingredients. If your cat likes frozen treats, then frozen raspberries, raspberries frozen in plain yogurt, chicken broth, or ice, are OK to offer your cat.

Make sure to slowly introduce raspberries (or any new food or treat) into your cat’s treat rotation. Offer them only on occasion and only small amounts.


What Other Fruits Can Cats Eat?A watermelon pizza: A circle made from watermelon slices, with banana slices, blueberries, possibly cottage cheese bits, and mint leaves on top.

If you’re looking to add some variety to your cat’s diet and treats, then fruit might be a good option if your kitty. Make sure to consult your veterinarian if there is any question about whether a particular fruit is safe for your cat to eat. Always do your research to determine if a particular fruit is safe before offering it to your cat. Some fruits you think are safe may actually be dangerous for your cat to consume.

While humans find fruits to be nutritious and delicious, as we already mentioned, cats are designed to only eat meat. They don’t require any particular nutrients from fruits. Adding antioxidants and vitamins found in fruits is safe and beneficial in small amounts, even if not required in their diet.

Some Fruits That Are Safe for Cats Include:

  • Apples (without the seeds since the seeds are toxic)
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon (seedless)
  • Strawberries


What Fruits Should Cats Avoid?Green grapes with green leaves in the background. I silver metal scoop of raisins in the center of the photo

Just as there are fruits safe for cats, there are several fruits that you should avoid access to as they are toxic to cats.

  • Cherries – the pits contain cyanide.
  • Citrus – citric acid can cause digestive upset.
  • Grapes and raisins – can cause kidney failure.


Cat Vitamins and Supplements: Does Your Cat Really Need Them?

A dark brown, plastic bottle with a white cap and light green/dark green capsules inside, standing up on a grey carpet. There is also a grey cat with black stripes closing its eyes in the background. There is some white pills or possibly a cover next to the medicine bottle.


Cats require a nutritionally balanced diet just like any other animal or human. Most high-quality cat foods from reputable brands provide the balanced nutrition each cat requires, but in some cases, your cat may need a little nutritional support with supplements.

Usually, supplements are required in addition to their regular diet if there is an underlying health condition your veterinarian has diagnosed. Some of the most common conditions that require supplementation for cats include kidney disease, gastrointestinal disease (including hairballs), decreased immune system, joint disease, behavior conditions, dental disease, and liver disease. There are thousands of various supplements and vitamins on the market for pets. Make sure to be judicious in your use of these supplements and only use those recommended by your veterinarian.

Does My Cat Need Vitamins or Supplements?

There are eight main areas in which your veterinarian might recommend supplements for your cat. These areas are:

  1. General immune system support
  2. Kidney support
  3. Gastrointestinal support
  4. Skin and haircoat support
  5. Joint support
  6. Liver support
  7. Dental support
  8. Behavioral support

Here is the list of several quality supplements that are available under each category.


1.  General Immune System SupportA cute, light brownish cat with black stripes on what appears to be a cushioned chair, licking paste off of someone's hand.

There are two typical supplement types for general immune system healthy support:

  • Lysine Supplements
    • These are helpful supplements for cats for general immune system health and additional respiratory and eye support, especially from a viral disease such as Feline Herpesvirus.
  • General Health Vitamins and Supplements
    • These supplements are found as tinics, multivitamins, immune supports powders, or gels that provide additional immune support for older, sick, or otherwise immune-compromised cats.

There are several reasons why a cat might have a decreased immune system. One common reason is viruses that can weaken the immune system.

Some viruses that cats are especially susceptible to include:

Cats who have been diagnosed with these viruses should receive immune support under the direction of their veterinarian. Immune supplements can include L-lysine supplements, vitamins, fish oils, minerals, and more.


 1.  Viralys

Vetoquinol Viralys L-Lysine Supplement for Cats
Daily L-Lysine supplement for cats helps support a strong immune system and eye &

respiratory health.

Helps manage common feline health issues such as sneezing, runny nose and watery, inflamed eyes.

L-lysine is an essential amino acid that some studies show blocks the replication of Herpes virus cells and possibly decreases the virus’s shedding. Overall it supports the immune system. This supplement comes in powder to mix in wet food, or gel which has a molasses-like consistency.


2.  Enisyl

No products found.

Enisyl is another L-lysine supplement that comes in chews, bites, and a paste.


3.  Imuquin for Cats

No products found.

Enisyl is another L-lysine supplement that comes in chews, bites, and a paste.

This is a great immune health supplement with a variety of ingredients including Beta Glucan to support healthy immune system function, Marine lipids as a source of omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation, and vitamins and minerals to maintain a normal immune system and cellular activity.


4. Nutri-Cal

Nutri-Cal Nutrical High Calorie Gel
A high calorie supplement for cats and dogs.

Nutrical is a supplement that is high in calories and helps when a sick cat doesn’t have a great appetite. It is great for adding calories to the diet of an underweight or immune-suppressed kitty as well. This is a thick, molasses consistency gel that contains fish oil, vitamins, and protein.


5. Liqui-Tinic

Liqui-Tinic 4x Flavored Vitamin and Iron Supplement for Dogs, Cats, Puppies & Kittens
Iron, B-complex vitamins, and amino acids that is palatable for your pet and can help to support the healthy growth of young cats.

This is a flavored supplement that provides additional iron, vitamin B, and amino acids. Your veterinarian might recommend this product if your cat is deficient in any of these nutrients.


6.  Pet-Tinic

Pet-Tinic Vitamin-Mineral Supplement for Dogs and Cats
Contains iron, copper and 5 essential vitamins for pets that may not be receiving complete nutrition.

Pet-Tinic is another liquid dietary supplement that your veterinarian might recommend to supplement nutrients your cat may be lacking. It contains iron, copper, and vitamins.


7.  Vetriscience NuCat

VetriScience Laboratories - Nu Cat Multivitamin for Cats
An all-in-one multivitamin and mineral supplement that provides total health for cats of all ages.

NuCat has multivitamins that are great for additional nutrients to support your cat’s immune system. The multivitamin has essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids such as taurine, and omega fatty acids. It comes in tablets and chews, and they even provide additional supplements for senior cats specifically. This is an all-around quality supplement to support a sick, elderly, or otherwise immune-compromised cat.


2.  Kidney SupportA grey cat with black stripes lying down on a carpet, looking a little sick with its eyes half closed.

Kidney disease is common, especially in older cats. They require not only general immune system support but also kidney-specific health supplements. There are different aspects of kidney disease that can be supplemented, depending on the stage of kidney disease. There are potassium supplements, phosphorus binders, and probiotics specific for kidney health.

As cats age, they are prone to kidney failure, also known as chronic kidney disease. This disease occurs in several different stages that require additional nutritional and hydration attention.

Kidney disease has no specific treatment but can be supported through special care, including increased hydration and fluid intake, providing increased calories and high-quality nutrition. Adding supplements may help with secondary issues that kidney disease causes, such as anemia, increased phosphorus, decreased potassium, protein loss, blood pressure changes, and urinary issues.


1.  Azodyl

Vetoquinol Azodyl Kidney Health Supplement for Dogs & Cats
Azodyl probiotic caps to help support kidney function; safe for cats & dogs of all ages and sizes

Contains beneficial bacteria to help promote good kidney health & manage uremic (renal) toxins.

Azodyl is a special probiotic and prebiotic supplement that specifically supports kidney health.


2.  Epakitin

Vetoquinol Epakitin Chitosin-Based Phosphate Binder for Cats & Dogs – Renal Support
Chitosan-based phosphate binder is highly-palatable & supports renal function in dogs & cats.

Soy protein-based nutrition powder naturally supports normal kidney function & health in dogs & cats

This supplement helps to control rising phosphorus levels in the bloodstream as kidney failure advances. It contains phosphorus binding ingredients as well as protein supplementation.


3.  Renal K +

Vetoquinol Renal K+ (Potassium Gluconate) Potassium Supplement Powder for Dogs and Cats
A potassium gluconate supplement that is highly palatable & supports normal renal health in dogs & cats.

Renal K + is a supplement that helps potassium deficient cats in kidney failure. It provides additional potassium in the form of a powder or gel.


4.  Hydracare

Hydra Care Pro Plan Supplement
Nutrient-enriched water to support healthy hydration in cats.

This is a nutrient-enriched water supplement that provides osmolytes to increase water absorption. Cats diagnosed with kidney disease are prone to dehydration and can use hydration support in any way possible. Hydracare comes in a small packet that can be added to your cat’s food or fed alone.

Here is a video explaining it in detail.


3.  Gastrointestinal SupportA brown cat with black stripes and white chest is looking up with its eyes closed, and looks to have a big smile on its face.

The health of the gastrointestinal tract is essential.  This is where cats digest all its nutrients. Supplements to support the gastrointestinal system are important, especially in cats who have underlying gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, food hypersensitivities or are prone to hairballs. These include probiotics and omega fatty acid lubricants.

Cats that have frequent hairballs, vomit regularly, or have loose bowel movements, should be checked out by a veterinarian. Your veterinarian may recommend a probiotic supplement to replenish the good and beneficial bacteria in the cat’s GI tract.


1.  Proviable-DC

Proviable DC for Cats and Dogs
A multi-strain probiotic supplement to support gastrointestinal health in cats.

Proviable is a probiotic supplement that provides billions of beneficial microorganisms to your cat’s intestinal tract. This can be helpful for long- or short-term episodes of gastrointestinal upset. These probiotics help stimulate the immune system, digest nutrients, and produce vitamins and essential fatty acids. This probiotic comes in a paste or sprinkle capsule.


2.  Fortiflora

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Probiotics Cat Supplement
Probiotic supplement for the dietary management of kittens and adult cats with diarrhea.

This is another probiotic supplement that provides beneficial bacteria to a cat’s GI tract. It comes in packets of powder that are sprinkled over a cat’s food daily.


3.  Propectalin

Vetoquinol Pro-Pectalin Tablets for Dogs & Cats
Supplement that contains probiotics that support digestive and intestinal health & microbial floras.

Propectalin comes in a flavored gel or tablet form to provide beneficial bacteria to the GI tract and includes kaolin and pectin to aid in firming up loose stools. It helps maintain proper pH in the GI tract and supports normal digestive function.


4.  Laxatone

Laxatone Original Maple Falvor
An oral gel that is palatable, gentle, and an effective lubricant that aids in the elimination and prevention of hairballs.

Laxatone is a thick molasses-like gel given as a supplement to lubricate the GI tract to prevent and eliminate hairballs in cats. It contains mineral oil, molasses, and omega fatty acids.


4. Skin and Haircoat SupportYoung Asian woman kissing a yellow and white cat

Fish oils provide sources of omega fatty acids to support healthy skin and nails.

Cats that suffer from allergies, hair loss, skin infections, poor grooming, dandruff, dry skin, or dull haircoats can benefit from a daily fish oil supplement providing omega fatty acids. There are many different fish oil supplements for cats. They come in oil pumps or capsule varieties. They help nourish and support the skin and fur.


1.  Eicosa3FF SnipCaps

Dechra Eicosa3FF SnipCaps
Concentrated form of beneficial Omega-3 Fatty Acids in a free fatty acid form recommended to aid atopic dermatitis, dry skin or haircoat.

This is one of many varieties of fatty acid supplements. The free form fatty acid is well digested, and the snipcap variety is formulated to make dosing easier in cats. You simply snip off the tip and squirt the oil over your cat’s food.


5. Joint SupportA yellow cat lying down, being held by someone with green gloves. The cat's right front legs is wrapped in gauze.

Cats are prone to arthritis as they age, just like dogs and humans. Providing a high-quality glucosamine chondroitin supplement is beneficial for joint health.

As cats age, they are prone to arthritis and other joint diseases just as dogs and humans. While cats are smaller and, therefore, don’t have as much weight on their joints, they can still have difficulty navigating stairs, jumping on and off furniture and cat trees, and overall have decreased mobility. Supplementing with a high-quality glucosamine chondroitin supplement will help support the joints. These kinds of supplements are also beneficial in cats who have had accidents or injuries affecting their musculoskeletal system.


1.  Dasuquin Advanced

Nutramax Dasuquin Capsules
Formulated with glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health

Dasuquin Advanced comes in a capsule that is sprinkled over the cat’s food or a tasty chew treat.


2.  Cosequin

Nutramax Cosequin Sprinkle Capsules for Cats
Contains 125 milligrams FCHG49 Glucosamine and 100 milligrams TRH122 Chondroitin Sulfate per capsule to help maintain joint health.

Cosequin is another supplement for cats that provides a high-quality source of glucosamine chondroitin to support joint health. It also comes in a sprinkle capsule or chews.


6.  Liver SupportA veterinarian examining a yellow cat with brownish stripes. The cat is lying down on the exam table, and the vet is using a stethoscope on the cat's stomach. The cat is looking directly into the camera.

Cat diagnosed with liver diseases can benefit from supplements that support liver health and function such as SAM-e (S-Adenosylmethionine) and Silybin A+B (also known as milk thistle).


4.  Denamarin

Denamarin Liver Support Supplements for Cats and Small Dogs
Provides liver protection, detoxification, and maintain the health of your pet's liver.

Denamarin is a supplement that contains both SAM-e and milk thistle in one tablet.


7.  Dental SupportA grey cat with black stripes having it's teeth cleaned with a toothbrush by a woman.

Dental disease is as common in cats as it is in dogs. Dental treats, chews, and plaque removing supplements help support the health of your cat’s gums and teeth.

Not only is it important to brush your cat’s teeth and provide regular dental cleanings, but you can also help support your cat’s dental health with supplements to remove plaque and tartar and help prevent inflammation in the mouth, such as stomatitis or gingivitis.


1.  Feline Greenies

Feline Greenies Natural Dental Care Cat Treats, Chicken Flavor
Crunchy texture helps clean teeth, reduce tartar buildup, and freshen breath.

Made with natural ingredients plus added vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients; nutritionally complete and balanced for adult cats.

Greenies are not only specially formulated dental chews and treats to remove tarter and promote dental health, but they are also a tasty treat that cats love to crunch on.


2.  Plaque off

Proden PlaqueOff Dental Care for Dogs and Cats
Promotes healthy teeth, gums and fresh breath.

100-percent natural oral supplement made from a specific strain of seaweed harvested from above Scandinavia.

This is a natural supplement made from seaweed to help remove tartar and plaque from the teeth and support overall dental health. It comes as a powder to be sprinkled over food.


8.  Behavioral SupportA light brown, grey cat with black strips and white patches is in a room, looking angrily to the camera. In the background, there is a shelf with a small white lamp that is very blurry.

Many cats have behavioral issues from inappropriate urination or defecation to aggression or obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Supplements that decrease anxiety and stress can be beneficial to help with these bad behaviors.

Cats can have various behavioral disorders and concerns from inappropriate urination or defecation to aggression, overgrooming, or other obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Supplements can help curb these undesirable behaviors before prescription medications might be needed.


1.  Feliway

FELIWAY Classic 30 Day Starter Kit Plug-in Diffuser & Refill for Cat
Diffuser emits an odorless copy of the facial Pheromone clinically proven to reduce scratching and urine spraying in 9/10 cats.

Feliway is a cat-specific pheromone that promotes calming and reduces anxiety. It comes in a travel spray, plug-in diffuser, and wipes to help cats with anxiety, stress, and inappropriate behaviors.


2.  Composure Chews

VetriScience Laboratories Composure, Calming Formula for Cats
Uses the natural power of Colostrum, L-Theatine and Thiamine to ease nervousness without effecting your cat's personality.

These are chews that support calming behaviors in cats, especially when exposed to stressors in the environment. They contain bioactive proteins from colostrum to help normalize brain function to encourage stress-reduction and relaxation.


3.  Zylkene

Zylkene Vetoquinol 75mg
Non-drowsy nutritional supplement to help manage pet behavior problems; helps promote sense of calm.

Zylkene contains a calming natural milk protein that is lactose-free & simple to administer daily.

Zylkene is a hydrolyzed milk protein that has calming properties and helps cats relax. It can also help make a cat more receptive to behavior-modifying training.



Frequently Asked QuestionsA light grey and white cat with black stripes staring at something on its right side. The background is all black.

Here are some of the most asked questions people have about giving their cats vitamins and supplements.


1. Why Does a Cat Need to Have Supplements?

Your cat might need to have a supplement added to their diet if they aren’t receiving adequate nutrition, have a virus that suppresses their immune system, has cancer, is a senior cat, or is otherwise sick or unhealthy.


2. How Do You Choose the Best Supplement?

The best and first thing to do is to talk to your veterinarian about which supplement is appropriate for your cat based on its health status. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam and run specific diagnostic tests to determine what parts of the body might benefit from supplementation.


3. What Are the Advantages and Benefits of Supplements?

  • Some advantages and benefits of supplements include:
  • They protect and support the immune system.
  • They help fight illness and infection.
  • There are supplements to support nearly every body system.
  • They can help correct nutritional deficiencies.
  • They can help the body absorb nutrients.


4.  What Is the Best Way to Use Supplements?

There are several different varieties of supplement formulations. Some come in powder, capsules, sprinkle capsules, gels, paste, or tablets, to name a few. Most supplements are administered orally.


5. What Kind of Controversy or Precautions Are There for Using Supplements?

Most supplements are considered nutraceuticals, meaning they are products derived from plants that claim a health benefit. The FDA regulates nutraceuticals as food instead of under the drug and pharmaceutical category. They should be administered under the direction of a veterinarian.


All About Maine Coon Cats

A big, brownish, grey-ish fur with black striped Maine Coon cat looking at the camera straight on

Quick Facts

Lifespan: 9-15 years

Size (Adult): Adult males are typically over 12 pounds while females are 8-12 pounds. Their length can reach up to 40 inches long.

Personality: Mellow, friendly, affectionate, talkative, social.

Shedding: Maine Coons shed a moderate amount with their thick, long, shaggy haircoats. They should be brushed frequently.

Pet Friendly:  Yes, they get along great with other dogs and cats. Likely other animals too!

Vocal:  Extremely vocal. They also make a unique chirping sound.

Indoor/Outdoor Cat:  Great as either indoor or outdoor cats.

Intelligence: Moderate intelligence

IntroductionA greyish brown cat with black stripes on a bed with white sheets, clawing and biting a yellow stick

Maine Coons are a large, attractive, and social breed of cat. Their gentle, friendly personalities combined with their sturdy bodies and gorgeous haircoats make them unique cats and wonderful pets. For those considering adding a Maine Coon to their family, or if you’re just curious about this breed, we have compiled some helpful information about getting to know the Maine Coon cat.


Origin/HistoryA yellow and white Maine Coon cat looking directly into the camera

There are a variety of theories and legends about how the Maine Coon cat came to be. It is thought that true to their name, Maine Coon cats originated from Maine in the United States, and were made Maine’s official state cat in 1985. They are said to have come from mating domestic shorthair cats to longhaired Scandinavian cats and first appeared in the mid to late 1800s. A Maine Coon cat named Cosey was the winner of the first American cat show in 1895. The cats adapted to the harsh New England winters, with their thick hair coats, tufted paws, and sturdy bodies. Today, we know them as one of the largest domestic cats and the only longhair breed native to the country.


SizeA big grey, tan-ish, Maine Coon cat with black strips lying down on a cushion looking into the camera.

Maine Coon cats are known as the “Gentle Giants” of the Cat fancy. They evolved through natural selection into big-boned, sturdy, muscular cats that could withstand harsh outdoor environments. They strut a broad chest, large square head, sizeable tufted paws, and a long fluffy tail.

As with many species, the males tend to be larger than the females and typically weight over 12 pounds, often nearing the 20-pound range.

Their female counterparts weigh in smaller in the 8-12-pound range, although they can be over 12 pounds. Maine Coons have long bodies reaching close to 40 inches, and their fluffy haircoats and tails often make them look even larger and longer than they already are.

Due to their size, it takes longer for the Maine Coon to reach a mature body weight. They grow slow and steady until about 4 years of age. Compared to other common cat breeds, the Maine Coon may look large and intimidating, but they will be quick to win you over with their friendly personalities.


PersonalityA cute light tan puppy resting its head on a grey cats head. The cat is slight squashed by the puppy's head, in a cute way. Both are lying on the grass.

Imagine a dog in a cat’s body, which is often what a Maine Coon cat is compared to. They are commonly referred to as the “dogs of the cat world,” with their social, playful, and affectionate personalities, even dog lovers will want a Maine Coon!

They are gentle, easy-going, sweet-tempered, and enjoy interaction with humans and other animals. These traits make them a great family pet since they get along so well with children, adults, dogs, other cats, and probably many other critters.

The only downside of a Maine Coon’s personality might be that they require more attention and talk more than their other feline friends who tend to be more reserved and quieter. Some people describe the chatter of a Maine Coon to be more of a chirp combined with a purr, rather than the traditional cat meow.

Most cats are known to hate the water. Maine Coons have proven to be the exception to this rule. Many of these cats enjoy the water and have been known to be efficient swimmers. They often like to drink from running water sources and will dip their paws and heads under the stream. Some will drink or play by scooping the water up with their paws and splash around in their water bowls. Many people mention that their Maine Coon loves the water so much they try to shower with them!

Maine Coons are intelligent cats. Many people have trained them to perform commands or tricks. They are even known to walk with a harness.

Here Are Some Ways People Describe Maine Coon Cats:

  • Friendly
  • Affectionate
  • Easy-going
  • Gentle
  • Well-mannered
  • Playful
  • Adaptable
  • Social
  • Loyal
  • Intelligent
  • Talkative


Lifespan and Health

A young woman veterinarian checking a big grey cat that is lying down on the examination table. An assistant wearing blue in helping off to the left side, but you can only see their back and right arm.

The average lifespan of the Maine Coon cat is, on average, 9-15 years. Like any cat, Maine Coons can suffer from diseases such as kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and periodontal disease. However, there are a few conditions that Maine Coons are especially prone to.


Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a disease of the hip joint that leads to lameness (physically disabled). This is often a hereditary condition and should be screened for carefully in breeding cats to ensure that it is not passed down to offspring. In minor cases, the condition only causes intermittent mild lameness. Moderate conditions can be medically managed with pain medications and exercise restrictions. Severe conditions can be treated surgically. Your veterinarian can diagnose hip dysplasia with a thorough physical exam and radiographs.


Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

This is another commonly inherited condition that is common in Maine Coons. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM, is the most common heart disease in cats. It causes the heart muscle to become thick and work harder than it is meant to. Signs that your cat might have HCM include an increased respiratory rate, lethargy, or lack of appetite.


Polycystic Kidney Disease

In cats, polycystic kidney disease, or PKD, is a heritable condition characterized by cysts throughout the kidney tissue leading to kidney failure.


Spinal muscular atrophy

This condition affects the skeletal muscle by damaging the spinal neurons, which leads to muscle wasting. This condition isn’t painful but can cause weakness and difficulty jumping and running.



Due to the size of the Maine Coon cat, they are more susceptible to weight gain than the average feline. Excess weight can lead to diabetes and worsen conditions such as arthritis. Hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease, can develop when an overweight cat stops eating. The body uses fat rapidly to supply energy in the anorexic cat, and this overwhelms the liver and causes liver failure.

As with any cat, Maine Coons should be provided with regular veterinary care, including annual preventive care visits, vaccinations, dental cleanings, bloodwork, and fecal checks. They should have routine flea prevention and deworming to prevent intestinal parasites.


CareA man wearing a red and black plaid shirt holding a big grey, white, and blacked stripped cat with green eyes wearing a green collar.

Maine Coon cats are easy-going and require minimal special care. While they do love human interaction and attention, they don’t tend to be needy or overly obtrusive with their attention-seeking.

These cats were originally intended and bred to be outdoor hunting cats, but most are kept as indoor pets. They don’t require a special environment or conditions to thrive, but, as with any cat, their lifestyle should include enrichment such as hunting, playing, climbing, running, chasing, and access to fresh running water. They are active cats and should be allowed to live an active lifestyle. This will also help to keep them trim and athletic as well as stimulate their minds and body.

Maine Coons should be fed a typical cat food for their life stage and activity level. They don’t require any special nutrients or supplements unless they suffer a specific condition, which should be under your veterinarian’s direct care.

Maine Coons do require a little extra grooming care compared to their short-haired feline friends. They should be brushed daily to weekly and kept free from matted hair.

Every cat should have access to a fresh, clean litter box. Ideally, they should be provided with one additional litterbox in relation to the number of cats in the household. Since Maine Coons are larger cats, they may require a longer, wider, and deeper litterbox. Make sure to clean it daily and use a non-scented litter.


CostA bag of white cat food on the floor with a yellow cat standing over it with one paw on the bag. Someone's hand is holding some food to give the cat.

If you are considering adding a Maine Coon cat to your family, first check the local humane society or shelter to see if any need a good home. There are several Maine Coon specific cat rescues that can help connect you to your new friend. Maine Coon specific associations and organizations can provide you with reliable assistance as well.

If you insist on purchasing a Maine Coon cat from a breeder, it is essential to be diligent and do your research to find a reputable breeder. Ensure that they perform the appropriate health screening tests, provide exceptional veterinary care, have high standards regarding their facilities, and offer the best quality food and resources to their cats. Of course, this will come with a premium price, which on average, is around $1,000.

Avoid purchasing a Maine Coon cat or kitten from a pet store as these typically source their pets from unreliable sources and poor conditions.

If you already have a Maine Coon, you undoubtedly, have come to love these gentle giants, and if you are looking to add one to your family, you will soon find out what all the hype is about!


The Best 5 Senior Cat Foods

Older black cat with white patches lying down on the floor looking off to the side


What Kind of Food Should Older Cats Eat?

It might be surprising to know that cats can live to be well into their twenties. This is likely due to readily available advanced medical knowledge, early detection of disease, progressive therapies for diagnosed conditions, and readily available high-quality food that we can offer our feline friends. While age isn’t a disease, an older cat is more prone to illnesses and infections. By providing them with a nutritious diet and supporting them in their senior years, we can make those years happy and healthy.

In this article, we will focus on nutrition for the senior cat. A cat is considered a senior from 11 years of age until about 14 years old. They are considered geriatric after that. Many changes come with age for a senior or geriatric cat. We will get into all those important details, but first, let’s look at some veterinarian-recommended diets for aging cats.

1.  Best Overall Senior Cat Food:  BLUE Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Indoor Mature Cat

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free, Natural Indoor Mature Dry Cat Food
An excellent choice for senior cats with food sensitivities (grain free and no artificial flavors or preservatives.

BLUE indoor mature offers a great balance of macronutrients with a moderate amount of protein, low fat, and high fiber. This is a limited ingredient food, which makes it easy on the stomach, especially in cats with food sensitivities. While the Basics brand doesn’t have any senior-specific canned food, BLUE carries several other lines of canned food for mature cats.

Macronutrients for This Diet:

  • Crude Protein Min: 28%
  • Crude Fat Min: 12%
  • Crude Fiber Max: 7%


  • Limited ingredient diet, which is excellent for cats with sensitive stomachs.
  • Deboned turkey is the first ingredient and a healthy protein source.
  • Fish oil for added omega fatty acids to support the skin, hair coat, heart, and joints.
  • Added amino acids taurine and L-Carnitine can support heart health.
  • Moderately priced


  • Only 28% crude protein, which is the lowest compared to the other brands on this list.
  • No wet food option and the other BLUE brand wet foods all contain chicken so limited protein variety.


2.  Best Senior Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs:  Purina Pro Plan PRIME PLUS 7+

Purina Pro Plan PRIME PLUS Adult 7+ Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Cat Food
This proprietary blend helps to support a strong immune system, maintain lean body mass, and is proven to improve & extend the life of cats age 7 years and older.

Backed by 9 years of research.

Purina is a well-known brand of cat food and a leader in its field. Purina has a staff of veterinarians and nutritionists who dedicate their efforts to conduct research and studies to produce high-quality foods. This food has two protein varieties, one with salmon as the primary protein source, which makes it ideal for cats who have food sensitivities. The other type is with chicken. This senior diet also includes several different varieties of delicious canned food.

Macronutrients for This Diet:

  • Crude Protein Min: 38%
  • Crude Fat Min: 17%
  • Crude Fiber Max: 2.5%


  • Reliable company
  • Salmon is the first ingredient
  • Added taurine for heart health
  • Includes omega fatty acids to support the skin, hair coat, heart, and joints
  • Beta carotene and vitamin E are included as antioxidants
  • High protein diet


  • Low fiber content


3.  Best Senior Cat Food on a Budget:  IAMS Proactive Health Healthy Senior

IAMS™ Proactive Health Healthy Senior
For those on a budget but still want a quality food from a trusted brand.

100% complete & balanced adult nutrition with 0% fillers.

IAMS is another reliable company that produces good quality diets. Their senior cat diet has added antioxidants, taurine, and omega fatty acids. Its affordable price makes it a great option if you are feeding a senior cat but need to stick to a budget. They don’t compromise quality for the price.

Macronutrients for This Diet:

Crude Protein Min: 34%

Crude Fat Min: 17%

Crude Fiber Max: 3%


  • High-quality diet at an affordable price
  • Chicken is the number one ingredient
  • Added Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate to support healthy joints


  • Low fiber content
  • Only one wet food flavor
  • Both the wet food and dry food come in only one flavor, chicken. There are no other protein options


4.  Best Senior Cat Food for Indoor Cats:  Hill’s Science Diet Adult 11+ Indoor

Hill's Science Diet Adult 11+ Indoor cat food
An excellent option for indoor cats over 11 years or older.

Natural high quality, easy-to-digest ingredients and natural fiber to support digestive health.

Hill’s Science Diet brings us an additional trusted pet food brand where the “science” in the name rings true with backed science and research in every diet. Science Diet breaks down their cat’s life stages into kitten, adult 1+, adult 7+, and adult 11+, giving specific age groups the appropriate nutrition. This diet has a higher amount of fiber to help the digestive system. There is a higher fat content in this food, so watch your overweight kitties. There is a canned wet food option (tuna & carrot) for the adult 11+ product. The Science Diet Youthful Vitality line has two varieties in chicken and salmon in both pate and stew forms.

Macronutrients for This Diet:

  • Crude Protein Min: 34.7%
  • Crude Fat Min: 20.9%
  • Crude Fiber Max: 8.5%


  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • High protein content
  • High fiber to support the gastrointestinal tract and healthy stool
  • Added vitamin C and E
  • Includes Omega fatty acids and amino acids


  • Contains a high-fat content, which is not ideal for cats prone to weight gain.
  • Added grain and corn gluten as the second and third ingredients.


Great Basic Senior Cat Food  Nutro Wholesome Essentials Senior Cat Food

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor and Sensitive Digestion Dry Cat Food
A simple and basic choice that is a good value for the price.

No corn, wheat, soy protein, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

Nutro provides a well-balanced senior cat food with only the chicken and rice flavor. This is an excellent option for an affordable, basic senior cat food. The chicken provides a high-quality protein source, and there are added fish oils, vitamin E, and taurine.

Macronutrients for This Diet:

  • Crude Protein Min: 36%
  • Crude Fat Min: 17%
  • Crude Fiber Max: 6%


  • The first ingredient is chicken, followed by chicken meal
  • Added fish oil for omega fatty acids
  • Includes taurine, an essential amino acid
  • Affordable option


  • No canned food option specifically for senior cats
  • Only one main protein variety (chicken)


Runner Up Senior Cat Food:  Wild Frontier Senior Ancestral Diet

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The Nutro brand has a new line called Wild Frontier Senior Ancestral Diet. This is a grain-free, limited ingredient, quality cat food containing chicken, salmon, and Menhaden fish. It has a high protein content at 42% and includes added taurine, omega fatty acids, vitamin E, and DHA. This is a newer brand, so it has limited research, but the brand does pay attention to renewable energy and zero waste, which is an added benefit. They have several wet food varieties, but not specific for senior cats.

Macronutrients for This Diet:

  • Crude Protein Min: 42%
  • Crude Fat Min: 18%
  • Crude Fiber Max: 4%


  • Incredibly high protein for a dry cat food
  • Chicken is the first ingredient followed by chicken meal
  • Limited ingredients that are beneficial to senior cats


  • This is a newer brand, so research is limited


Best Food For Senior Cats:  Essential Information and GuideA big, fluffy, yellow cat eating from a white bowl with spiral designs on the floor with an open door in the background

Cats have specific and targeted dietary needs as they reach their senior golden years. Choosing the right food to meet these nutritional requirements can be an overwhelming and daunting process with many different options on the pet store shelf.

Here are some things to consider when selecting a quality, balanced, senior cat food:


Wet Food Versus Dry FoodA un-canned portion of wet cat food on top a pile of dry cat food with a white background

While dry food provides a nice crunch, a senior cat should also be offered wet food to increase calories and hydration.

Cats have specific hydration needs, and seniors can suffer from dehydration. This is especially true if they suffer from kidney disease. As such, additional moisture is beneficial in any way we can provide it to them. Wet, or canned food, is a great option for senior cats. It has a higher moisture content to battle dehydration. It is highly palatable, so older cats losing their sense of smell or taste will find it more attractive. It is also soft, making it easy on sensitive old-cat teeth.

Some cats will prefer one versus the other but ideally offer both.


High Protein

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they rely on nutrients in animal products, including high amounts of protein. Cats have a higher protein requirement than other mammals, up to five times higher than dogs!

As cats age, they are prone to muscle loss, also known as sarcopenia or muscle atrophy. Choosing a diet with a high protein content is essential.


Low Carbohydrate

Look for a food that is low in carbohydrates. Cats don’t digest carbs as easily as dogs and humans. Again, this goes back to cats being obligate carnivores.


Decreased Phosphorus

This is most important in cats with kidney disease. When the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, phosphorus builds up in the blood. For these cats, choose a diet that contains lower phosphorus levels.


Decreased Sodium

Low salt content is most important for cats who have been diagnosed with or are prone to kidney disease, heart disease, and hypertension.


Increased Antioxidants

Antioxidants are beneficial to fight inflammation and support the immune system. Examples include vitamin E and beta-carotene.


High Fiber Content

Increased fiber in a diet helps cats prone to constipation and diarrhea, both common gastrointestinal conditions in senior cats.

High fiber content may not be right if your cat is prone to weight loss or needs to gain weight since higher fiber diets typically have fewer calories. A high fiber diet is good for your cat if she needs to lose weight for this reason.


Highly Digestible

A senior cat’s diet needs to be highly digestible. This is because their gastrointestinal tract is more sensitive, and with age, they have more trouble digesting fat and protein. This makes a cat’s energy requirements increase compared to a younger cat.



A lower calorie food is ideal for an overweight senior cat. Obesity is a negative prognostic indicator in seniors due to the increased risk of diabetes and arthritis.

Choose a higher calorie diet if your cat is prone to weight loss, has trouble keeping on weight, or is too skinny overall.

Make sure to measure your cat’s food, whether they are overweight or underweight. This will let you know exactly how much you are offering them and how much they eat, which gives you numeric information to keep track of.

Use the feeding guideline written on your cat’s bag of food as a loose guide or a place to start. This may need adjusting based on your goals for your cat’s weight.



Senior cats often lose their sense of smell and taste. Choose a highly palatable and tasty (sometimes smelly) food to encourage them to eat.

It can sometimes help to let wet food warm up to room temperature if kept in the fridge.


Common Medical Conditions in Senior CatsFemale veterinarian using a stethoscope on a brown and black Siamese cat lying down on a metal examination table in a vet office

As previously mentioned, older cats are more prone to various diseases. It is extremely important that you take your cat in for routine veterinary checkups. For a senior cat, this should include a yearly physical examination and yearly routine laboratory work such as a fecal test, urinalysis, complete blood count (CBC), serum chemistry, and thyroid screening. Regular dental cleanings are also crucial to their overall health. Your veterinarian can detect early diseases with physical exams and tests and will be a great asset to you in your effort to keep your cat living a long and happy life. If you are ever concerned about the health of your cat, take her to see your veterinarian.

Here are some common clinical signs and conditions to look out for in your senior cat:

  • Weight gain/obesity
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle loss/atrophy/sarcopenia
  • Dental disease
    • Commonly seen as tartar buildup, gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissue), difficulty chewing or eating, grinding the teeth, spitting out hard food.
  • Chronic kidney disease
    • Owners will often notice signs such as weight loss, loss of appetite, drinking more water than normal, urinating more than normal, clear or dilute urine, or vomiting.
  • Hyperthyroidism
    • Common signs include increased vocalization (more meowing than normal), weight loss despite a great or even ravenous appetite, and vomiting.
  • Gastrointestinal diseases such as cancer or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
    • Clinical presentation is often seen as problems with digestion, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, or inappetence.
  • Diabetes
    • Owners will note weight loss or weight gain, drinking more water than normal, urinating large amounts and frequently, or sticky urine.
  • Arthritis
    • Owners might notice difficulty jumping up or down, lameness, or soreness.
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease


Commonly Asked QuestionsPeople of different backgrounds raising their hands (only their arms are visible) with different colored questions marks above them

1.  Why buy a senior food and what is different about it compared to adult cat food?

  • Senior cat food includes a high protein, high fiber, and low-fat diet. It contains added amino acids, omega fatty acids, antioxidants, and joint support for a senior cat’s specific nutrition requirements. They are highly digestible and palatable foods.

2.  Does my senior cat need vitamins?

  • A senior cat should not require added vitamins if feeding a nutritionally balanced diet.
  • Added vitamins or minerals may help older cats if they have a particular disease requiring such supplementation. Make sure to consult your veterinarian about this.

3.  What other supplements will benefit my senior cat?

  • Glucosamine and chondroitin
    • These supplements support the joints and provide cartilage health benefits.
    • This is a great supplement to help a cat suffering from arthritis.
  • Laxatone
    • This is a molasses-like supplement that helps move hairballs through the gastrointestinal tract. This helps in reducing the frequency of vomiting hairballs.
  • Fish oil
    • Fish oil provides a great source of omega fatty acids to support the skin, hair coat, heart, brain, and joints.

4. How can I provide my cat with more water and better hydration?

  • Canned or wet diets
    • These diets have higher moisture and water content.
  • Fountains
    • Some cats prefer soft running water and will drink more from a fountain
  • Water bowls
    • Provide several fresh and clean water bowls throughout the house.
  • Drinking from the faucet
    • Cats that prefer drinking running water may enjoy drinking out of a faucet.
  • Make sure to provide options!
    • Always have at least one fresh water bowl, if not several, and provide other sources of fresh water.


Foods to Avoid for Senior CatsGrey cat with black stripes and white patches drinking milk from a small saucer on the floor

  • Canned fish
    • Many sources of canned fish have high mercury content and can lead to neurologic diseases. Avoid canned fish in oil and choose the fish in water instead.
  • Raw diet
    • Raw or homemade diets are many times deficient in essential nutrients a senior cat requires.
    • The risk of a poorly balanced diet is significantly increased.
    • There is a higher risk of infectious diseases to your cat, such as toxoplasmosis.
    • Preparing a raw diet presents the increased risk for foodborne illness for pet owners.
  • Milk
    • Despite the common myth that cats should drink milk, cats are actually lactose intolerant and drinking milk often causes a cat to get an upset stomach, and may cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramping, or bad gas.

As always, consult your veterinarian if you have any specific concerns about your senior cat’s health. They can also guide you with selecting the most appropriate diet. No matter what, enjoy those golden cat years and cherish every minute with your beloved feline friend!