Louie (1996-2013)

Can a cat's hair get thinner and change color as he gets older?

My Louie will be 13 this February, and over the last year it seems that his hair is getting thinner all over and lighter in color in certain spots (face/neck, tummy, bottom of tail). Maybe I just notice it more with Louie because he's black?

He was given a clean bill of health on his last vet visit, and his personality hasn't changed, so is this just a part of growing old? Even his brother Henry has a few white whiskers and a bunch of white hairs now. Would supplements or a special food help?

Asked by Louie (1996-2013) on Jan 7th 2009 Tagged coat, older in Senior Pet
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I had a black cat who lived to be 18, and his fur lost its darkness, becoming rather rusty in color, and its shininess, in the last years of his life. I don't remember whether it got thinner or not, but in the last 2 or 3 years of his life, he didn't seem to groom himself as well as he had in the past, and his fur looked very dry. (One reason was that his sister, who died when they were both 15, used to be his groomer, and when she died, he got sort of unkempt looking.) For whatever it's worth, he had both liver and kidney problems, although he basically died of old age. However, he only started looking like an old geezer in the last 2 or so years of his life; 13 seems a bit young to be showing signs of aging. However, since the vet says Louie's fine (did he have blood tests and such to rule out kidney/liver problems?), and since his brother is also aging at the same rate, maybe this is just Louie's pattern of aging.

Spike answered on 1/7/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Yes, cats fur can change colors as they get older. I honestly do not know if there is a special food for it or not, I think it is a normal part of aging. My sister Cleo is 12 and mom says her colors are changing too. She has always had thin hair, but since changing to a higher quality of food it has become shiny.

Actually, someone shared this with me about all black cats...hopefully I can get the story right in the space I have left here...

Black cats often get stray white hairs in their fur. They are angel hairs. A long time ago pure black cats were killed because people thought they were witches. So the angels would come down and turn some of the hairs white so the cats would be safe. If the people saw a black cat with white hairs, they would not hurt it.

I hope I got the story right....

Sebastian answered on 1/7/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Omega three and fatty acids are for a healthy coat. Are your cats on a senior formula food? Over 10 years old, the best nutrition for them would be a senior food but I wouldn't worry too much about the coat color if the vet said he was healthy. Did they do a full lab panel at his check up? Just keep an eye on it and if it seems to get really thin or the color change gets more dramatic and worries you, I would have another vet visit.

Allie answered on 1/7/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

(My Angel) Marrakech

Can't answer the supplments/special food question, but..

Yes, we've noticed the thinning and graying fur too.

Over the years we've lived with 3 black and white boys and my sister and I are 12-year-old Siamese.

The boys all got gray hair as they aged, and our Capuccino, who lived to be 17 actually had bald patches on his elbows.

I'm a chocolate point--known for my cream-colored coat and light brown mask, and my sister is a seal-point (with very dark, thick fur). Over the past year Mom noticed that my coat has turned almost as light as it was when I was a kitten, and that the mask on half my face has faded, giving half my face a kind of bleached-out look. My sister's coat is still as dark and thick as it always has been.

Hope this helps.

(My Angel) Marrakech answered on 7/20/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer