Senior Cat Care
While your pet may seem healthy well into its senior years, many common problems to senior pets, like kidney or heart disease, may not cause symptoms until your pet becomes seriously ill. A comprehensive senior care program helps your veterinarian identify problems early enough to institute preventative health care measures. By intervening either before a problem starts or in the early phases (while prognosis may remain favourable), you can save not only money but perhaps some heartbreak as well.
What are the stages of a senior cat’s life? How to spot signs of ageing?
Signs of ageing to watch for include difficulty climbing stairs or jumping up, increased stiffness or limping, loss of housetraining, changes in activity level, less interaction with family, changes with their skin or fur, changes in sleeping patterns or appetite and decreased vision or hearing. If your cat is experiencing one or more of these signs, be sure to bring it to your veterinarian’s attention. What may seem like normal ageing could be a manageable health condition.
• Mature cats: 7 – 10 years of age
• Senior: 11 – 14 years of age
• Geriatric: 15 years or older
Generally, any cat over the age of 7 years is considered a senior.
My senior cat is losing weight, what can I do?
We recommend senior testing for all senior pets as well as any pet that is exhibiting one or more the following or the following symptoms: weight loss or gain, increased thirst or urination, lethargy, vomiting/diarrhea, poor fur condition, coughing, unusual behaviour or the overall decline in health.
What are some tips on how to care for my senior cat?
A physical exam and complete history is the most important part of the senior care program. Your veterinarian will assess all body systems to check for any abnormalities. Topics that will be discussed include dental/oral care, diet and nutrition, weight control, parasite control, mobility, vaccines and mental health. It is recommended to have a physical exam performed every 6 months, along with blood chemistry testing, a complete blood count, a urinalysis and a thyroid screen.
What are some common health issues experienced by senior cats?
Dental disease, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus and cancer.
Why is my senior cat having behavioural issues?
Many physical changes take place when a cat is increasing in age, all of which could potentially impact a cat’s normal pattern of behaviour. As an owner, it is important that you are aware that behavioural changes can occur as a direct result of illness. Signs that may indicate a physical problem include changes in drinking or eating, balance problems, toilet accidents, weight loss, difficulty passing urine or feces, disorientation or distress and uncharacteristic behaviours (e.g. hiding, aggression, excessive vocalization, attention-seeking behaviours). Therefore, a thorough veterinary examination is essential to rule out diseases.
Your veterinarian team will take into consideration the physical and emotional changes that occur as a result of the ageing process. We will provide you with support and guidance on the best way to care for your senior cat.