Senior Cat Care
Do You Have A Senior Cat? We love senior pets!
Senior cats are wonderful companions. If you have lived with your cat since it was young then you have a good understanding of what is normal for your cat in the way of behavior and habits.
It is important for parents of senior cats to watch for any changes in their behavior or habits. These can be a sign of illness, and the sooner you bring your senior cat to Pet Wellness Animal Hospital, the sooner we can investigate and begin treatment as needed.
Cats age much quicker than humans, and a cat over the age of 7 or 8 years old is considered to be a senior cat. We recommend semi-annual wellness exams for senior cats.
Regular Wellness Care Is Essential for Senior Cats
Prevention is the key to a long and healthy life in our cats, just like in humans. There are many common diseases in older cats that if treated early, can help them live longer lives. This is why we recommend monitoring senior cats every 6 months. Cats are very good at hiding symptoms of disease or illness. As cats age, illnesses become increasingly common. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that mature cats, senior cats, and geriatric cats will likely begin to develop one or more conditions that will significantly affect their quality of life. A focus of senior cat veterinary appointments is to identify illnesses which may be in an early stage and set up a plan for treatment and management of any symptoms that may be causing discomfort.
A typical wellness visit for senior cats includes checking:
- Thorough review of habits and behaviors
- Thorough physical examination
- Visual dental examination
- A review of your cat’s history and discussion of any changes that you have observed since your last visit
- Wellness visits for senior cats can also include vaccinations, parasite prevention, and treatment for any specific conditions that your senior cat may be developing.
Senior Cat Food
Feline nutrition is extremely important throughout the entirety of a cat’s life. However, it is an especially important facet of senior cat care. Feeding a mature, senior or geriatric cat an age specific diet can help:
- Manage Weight
- Increase Lifespan
- Reduce or eliminate pain
- Maintain healthy skin, coat and bodily functions
Senior cat food is formulated specifically for the nutritional requirements of aging cats. It can be served in dry or wet (usually canned) form. Because aging cats require increased daily water intake, serving canned food and/or leaving multiple water dishes around the house is always a good idea when possible. Feeding small, frequent meals 3-4 times a day will help senior cats digest food easier than serving fewer, larger meals.
Managing Disease In Elderly Cats
As your cat ages, he or she becomes more susceptible to the myriad of diseases commonly found to plague elderly cats. Some of the more common ones include:
- Kidney Disease
- Thyroid Disease
- Gastrointestinal Issues
- Memory/Comprehension Challenges
Identifying Diseases in Senior Cats
Spotting symptoms in elderly cats before they become full-blown emergencies requires you to be vigilant and monitor your cat’s behavior and routine, and note any changes, including:
- Change in attitude or behavior
- Change in activity levels
- Weight Loss
- Are they more vocal, unwilling to jump or hesitant to use stairs?
- Increase in thirst and urination
- Litter Box Habits
If you witness or suspect any changes in behavior or routine for your mature, senior or geriatric cat, give us a call to schedule an appointment.