Senior Cat Care
At around age 7, your pet enters their senior years. Often, pets may begin to develop diseases similar to their human counterparts such as diabetes, heart disease, hypothyroidism and cancer. These diseases can go unnoticed in their early stages. Cats instinctively hide their illness from their owners and then suddenly health changes can occur quite quickly. That is why preventative health care is very important. An annual exam can help detect and address concerns before they progress, which can lessen the effects a disease has on your pet. Early detection provides us with the opportunity to change the course of the disease, giving you and your pet more happy and healthy time together.
What are the stages of a senior cat’s life? How to spot signs of ageing?
One of the most common and underdiagnosed conditions in senior cats is arthritis. About 90% of cats over the age of 12 are suffering from some form of arthritis, yet their owners are unaware of this. Cats are small and quite agile therefore they can often cover up mobility difficulties and pain due to arthritis. Unlike dogs, cats generally do not limp from arthritis but will show subtle changes in their lifestyle and behaviour. These changes can include a reluctance to jump up or down from surfaces, urinating/defecating outside of the litter box, scruffy coat from lack of grooming and less tolerance of people or a withdrawn attitude. If you have noticed that your cat is both drinking and urinating more, this is another sign of ageing and is often related to renal disease or diabetes. A dramatic weight loss is also an indicator of an age-related illness and should be addressed by your veterinarian.
My senior cat is losing weight, what can I do?
If you are noticing a drastic reduction in your feline friend’s weight, we recommend booking an appointment with your Veterinarian for a physical exam and blood work. There are a number of reasons why this could be happening to your senior cat and we want to ensure we are addressing the rapid weight loss in the proper manner.
What are some tips on how to care for my senior cat?
Your senior cat is special and caring for your senior cat starts at home with lots of love! Just like when we age, you need to be aware of your feline companion’s changing environmental needs. This may include moving their litter boxes and perches, so they are more easily accessible. Access to plenty of fresh water is also important to help flush their kidneys. Annual wellness exams, as well as regular senior blood screens, play a key role in early detection, treatment and management of age-related conditions.
What are some common health issues experienced by senior cats?
The most common health issues we see in senior cats include obesity, dental disease, renal disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes and arthritis.
Why is my senior cat having behavioural issues?
It is quite common for your senior cat to develop behavioural issues during their senior years. This is most often related to pain or discomfort due to arthritis or another age-related disease. Your senior cat may also be developing a cognitive dysfunction that can cause them to behave in a manner that is most unlike them. An example of this is yowling at odd hours in the night.