Senior cats can take a bit more care then our younger cats, but it is important to remember that age in and of itself is not a disease. Although our senior cats are more prone to developing a disease in their later years, there are signs and special steps that you can take to enrich their lives. This way, they can live a longer, healthier and more active life, by eating right and discovering any problems while they are still manageable.
What are the stages of senior cat’s life? How to spot signs of ageing?
Senior cats are prone to health concerns such as diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease and debilitating arthritis. Recognizing early signs of diseases can help to improve your senior cat’s quality of life. Typical signs to look for include:
- Excessive increase or decrease in eating, drinking or urinating
- Decrease in activity level including walking and playing
- Weight loss or gain
- Dull hair coat
- Depressed or lethargic
- Cognitive loss
- Foul odor from mouth
- Hesitant to climb stairs, jumping on and off objects or getting up from laying position
My senior cat is losing weight, what can I do?
Weight loss can be a sign of many different disease processes. It is very important to closely monitor weight loss in our older cats. Making an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss any weight loss or changes in behaviour can help to identify why your cat may be losing weight and your veterinarian will be able to help to give you advice on what the next steps should be.
What are some common health issues?
Common health issues in our older cats are diseases such as thyroid, kidney, diabetes and arthritis. Through regular routine examinations and being aware of any changes in behaviours, these diseases can be caught early and will allow your veterinarian to guide you to take the proper steps in managing the disease process, allowing your cat to live a longer and healthier life.
Why is my senior cat having behavioural issues?
With ageing cats, it is not uncommon to behavioural issues arise. Some common diseases such as thyroid issues or diabetes can lead to behavioural issues in our elder cats. It is important to mention these changes in behaviour to your veterinarian, as it can be vital information for diagnosing diseases in our older patients.
How to care for senior a cat?
We recommend bringing your senior cat twice a year, as your cat ages it’s important to keep on top of their health. Animals are so good at hiding their illness and/or pain until sometimes, it’s too late. It’s also good for you to know that in 6 months your pet ages roughly 3 ½ years!
There are a few fundamental steps that you can take to ensure your senior cat’s optimal health, including things like diet, regular vaccinations, exercise, dental health and regular check-ups by your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will do a complete physical exam, followed by diagnostic testing, which may include blood work, urinalysis and checking the stool for any parasites. All of these in combination allows your veterinarian to get the bigger picture of what may be going on inside your cat’s body.
Most of the time you won’t be able to see clinical signs, so having a wellness exam is very important to detect the early stages of a disease. Catching diseases early such as diabetes, for instance, can greatly improve overall health and longevity of your dog.