Key Points About Senior Cat Care

my cat BoscoeAs our cats age it is important to make them as comfortable as possible. This means provide a warm, comfortable bed or place in which your elderly cat can feel safe and secure.

Allowing free access to water is also very important, as well as a possible change in diet, these points are major factors in ensuring good cat health in older age.

Senior cat diets account for reduced activity levels and therefore help prevent obesity. Certain senior diets tend to help manage kidney disease which is very common in older cats, and also helps with the older, weaker immune system. Regular check-ups are one of the most important parts of caring for your elderly cat. More info on the subject by Richmond Vet below

Managing Elderly Cats  by Richmond Vet

Fighting the Signs of Feline Aging

We are all aware of the aging process, particularly it’s sometimes unwanted physical effects! Wrinkles, expanding waistlines and receding hairlines are things that we humans battle against as the years pass by. Advances in modern medicine have successfully increased life expectancy throughout the world, often by combating diseases and disorders linked to advancing age.

Our pets don’t escape nature’s biological clock, but the good news is that similarly much can be done to increase life expectancy and help our pets cope better with many of the more common problems associated with aging.

Today’s blog article is about caring for the senior cat, how to recognize the signs of aging, and what steps to take to help your senior cat live a long, happy, healthy and comfortable life.

Just like humans, different cats age at different rates, but most cats will start to show some signs related to aging between 7 and 11 years of age. Many cats live well into their late teens and even into their early twenties, but a 14-15 year old cat is generally considered to be geriatric.

What are the common signs of aging in cats?

Aging is a natural process, and many of the common signs result from this natural process:
– reduced activity levels
– reduced ability to jump and climb
– changes in appetite
– weight loss
– coat and fur changes
– behavioral changes

There are also a number of conditions and diseases that are much more common in cats as they age, and we have discussed some of these in earlier blog articles. These conditions often cause characteristic signs and symptoms, for example:

– increased thirst (seen with kidney disease, hyperthyroidism and diabetes) – stiffness and lameness (seen with osteoarthritis) – excessive appetite and weight loss (seen with hyperthyroidism, some tumours and heart disease) – reduced appetite and halitosis (seen with dental disease and kidney disease) – memory loss, vocalisation and increased aggression (seen with senility, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure and any painful conditions including arthritis) – diarrhoea and constipation (seen with hyperthyroidism and kidney disease)

As this list demonstrates, many of the signs and symptoms seen with age-related conditions in cats are an exaggerated form of the common signs seen with general aging. This is important to remember, and is key when keeping your senior cat as healthy as possible.

General care of the senior cat

Here are some key points:

– Younger cats keep their claws short through daily activity, allowing the claws to regularly shed a shell and keep to a healthy length. Older cats are less active and therefore their claws don’t tend to shed, so are much more likely to become overgrown, and occasionally will even grow into the pads of the toes causing severe pain.

Checking the claws of older cats is a very important part of keeping them comfortable, with regular trimming of claws usually necessary. This is something we can do here at the surgery for you.

– Try to keep your older cat’s routine the same, since older cats dislike change and are less able to adapt. Feeding times and food bowl and litter tray locations should be kept the same. However, it is important also to remember that older cats are often less mobile, and therefore food and water bowls should generally be at floor level to prevent the need for jumping and climbing. Similarly, access to litter trays should be easy. Read full article