Senior Cat Care
The ‘golden years’ for our cats begins around the age of 7 and older, this is the time that they officially enter the senior citizen category. It is around this time that we start to monitor your cat for changes that could indicate early diseases and illnesses are beginning. Our older cats have won a definite place in our hearts. We know their quirks, quarks and what truly makes them unique to our lives. We never want to face the inevitable fact that they are advancing in years but with the right amount of love, affection, health care and nutrition – we can make these senior years some of the most memorable ones yet.
For all of our cats, they are considered senior pets at seven years of age or older.
What are common senior cat issues?
- Arthritis: just like people, as our pet’s age they can develop degeneration changes in their joints (arthritis). This can lead to painful joints, which can decrease mobility and comfort.
- Kidney disease: Over time, our cat’s kidneys age and lose the ability to concentrate urine. The most common sign seen at home is initially an increase in drinking and urination.
- Thyroid disease: An overactive thyroid gland, or hyperthyroidism, can be very common in our senior kitties. The most common signs we see at home are weight loss and an increase in appetite.
- Dental disease: This can happen at any point in a pet’s life, but it is especially important to assess in their golden years. A buildup of tartar and gingivitis can lead to infections, damage to the jaw bones and a sore mouth.
- Behavioural changes: Over time, senior pets may display increased vocalization, appetite changes, drinking changes and more or less affection towards their owners or other pets in the household. This could indicate many things, including an underlying disease process, pain, blood pressure issues or sometimes cognitive changes including senility.
How should I care for my senior cat?
The most significant thing to do is watch for any changes to your pet’s typical routine. Watch for mobility changes and changes in appetite, drinking, behaviour, and weight. This can help detect any underlying problems as early as possible. A physical examination is recommended once to twice a year to ensure that any ageing issues found are addressed. Annual blood work and urine samples are an excellent way of screening our pet’s internal organs (liver, kidneys, protein levels, blood sugar levels and more) to detect any underlying diseases and catch them at an earlier stage so that treatment measures can be undertaken quickly.