Senior cats health needs

Senior cats health needs

Lucy at age 39 in 2011. Photo: via Wales News Service

In Senior cats health needs:

  • Golden oldies
  • Aging
  • Monitor your cat more closely
  • Behavioural changes
  • Veterinary care

Aging

We expect certain changes to occur in an animal’s body as the animal ages. These changes may not be the same in each animal species. In some animals such as toy breeds of dogs changes in the heart are common, whereas in cats, the kidneys may be one of the first organs to show signs of aging.  We can help older animals to adapt to these changes in a variety of ways: diagnosing problems early, use of appropriate medications and supplements, modifying the cat’s environment, and changing the way in which we interact with our older friends. (Source: Doctors Foster and Smith)

Monitor your senior cats health needs 

According to Doctors Foster and Smith, caring for older cats involves health care, nutrition, awareness of age-related behaviour problems, and monitoring for common changes and diseases in senior cats.

As your cat ages, it is likely he will develop various changes in the function of his body systems. Some of these will be normal changes due to the aging process, others may be indicative of disease.   You will need to monitor your older cat more closely. Do not disregard a change in your cat’s activity or behavior as ‘just being old age.’ Many of the changes can also be signs of a more serious disease. If you are in doubt, consult your veterinarian and be sure to discuss with him/her any concerns you have about your older cat during the regular physical exam.

Behavioural Changes

As cats become older, they may be more apt to change their behavior or develop certain behavioral problems. With the correct diagnosis and treatment, many of these behavioral problems can be resolved. It may take some patience on your part, but your longtime feline friend is worth it!  Many of the behavioral changes we see in older cats can be due to medical conditions. If your cat’s behavior is changing, have your cat examined by a veterinarian. Your older cat is more easily stressed, so attempt to reduce stress by making any necessary changes in routine gradual, and decreasing the exposure of your cat to stressors.  Here are common behavioural changes your mature cat may experience:

Inappropriate elimination
Aggression
Fear/anxiety
Change in activity patterns

More information at Doctors Foster and Smith, peteducation.com

Veterinary care

Regular professional veterinary care is essential for our senior cats health needs. Not since your cat was a kitten have regular checkups and vaccinations been so important. Preventive veterinary care can add years and quality to the life of your senior cat. Have a check-up in winter to make sure they are ready and as healthy as possible for cold weather.

Consider yourself, your cat, and your veterinarian and staff a team whose main goal is to keep your cat happy, healthy, and in a loving relationship with you for as long as possible

Many cat veterinarians have a geriatric wellness program.  Ask your veterinarian which tests are appropriate for your mature cat. (Source: peteducation.com)

PetEducation.com was developed by Drs. Foster & Smith.  The information is not intended to be used to provide a diagnosis or treatment plan for individual pets. We highly recommend that you establish a long-standing client relationship with the veterinarian of your choice. Please consult with your veterinarian for regular exams and in situations where your pet may be exhibiting signs of illness.

Golden oldies

The oldest cat ever recorded was “Creme Puff” a female cat who died at age 38 years and 3 days according to the 2010 edition of Guiness World RecordsCreme Puff lived with Jake Perry in Austin, Texas, USA who was also the owner of Grandpa Rex Allen, the previous record holder.

A family in Llanelli, South Wales, has discovered their cat, Lucy, could be the oldest in the world after reaching its 39th birthday.  Cat experts say she has clocked up the equivalent of 172 human years as at January 2011.