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Cat Senior Care - How to Provide Care For Your Senior Cat

How will getting older impact the health of my cat?

As your cat ages, there's a lot of things that could potentially cause some problems. And a lot of it has to be determined by what their lifestyle was like as they were younger. Did they have a good diet? Did they have good care? What were the circumstances in which they spent the majority of their time? Because a lot of things that happen early in life will be an indicator of how well we do as a senior pet. So if you have that kitten that was well cared for and always had a good home and had good food and good care, we can often see that they do much better. They don't have a lot of underlying conditions that could have been prevented. However, if you have a cat that didn't come from maybe a pleasant environment starting out, those cats will have more problems as they age.

Dr. Mitch McKee
Cupola Animal Hospitals - Berry Farms Animal Hospital

What are some signs and symptoms that my cat might be slowing down?

People will often notice mobility issues, and that would manifest as the cat doesn’t jump up on the counter anymore, or they jump up on the furniture like they used to, or they’re just laying around and not as active as we used to be. There could be changes in appetite, as perhaps they don't eat as much or maybe we're eating more. And also, they may not use the litter box as they used to in the past, or you see changes in litter box behavior.

What are some health complications or diseases that senior cats commonly experience?

Most common in our senior cats will be kidney disease, some types of cancers, thyroid diseases—those will probably be the top three that I can think of at the moment. And these are diseases that can have some serious effects and some serious long-term difficulties in terms of trying to treat or deal with. But we do know that cancer is pretty prevalent in many of our pets now, and we see it a good bit in our older cats. And it can also cause some GI problems. We also see many dental issues with some of our older pets in terms of tooth resorption or cavity-type lesions. It's not an uncommon thing to find.

What kinds of preventative care can help extend the life and health of my cat?

Preventative care that can help extend life will always be having a good diet, as good food's vital for bodily function to make sure that we're providing the proper nutrients. Also, getting routine blood work done will be helpful because we want to be able to detect some of those problems that might be coming up in your cat that maybe you're not noticing at home. And when we talk about those kinds of tests, we're typically looking at your cat's red and white blood cell counts. Are they well hydrated, anemic, or are their numbers where they should be? Are they below normal, or are they above normal? Is there some type of evidence of infection going on?

And we look at how well your cat’s kidney, liver, and thyroid are functioning. So those are essential things to look at when your cat ages. And we also recommend that as a senior cat, and we're mainly talking cats that are eleven and older or sometimes seven and older, depending upon any underlying condition, we'd like to have them come in at least twice a year. And dependent upon what we're dealing with, we may have them come in more frequently if we're trying to monitor certain things.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (615) 224-7776, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

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