As your cat reaches old age, their health, nutrition, and exercise needs change, requiring adapted routines and more frequent checkups.
Your cat may not help you spot any health issues. Instead, they may deliberately hide them. That’s why it’s important to be observant around the house, as well as conscientious about scheduling regular veterinary checkups. With a little preventive care and regular checkups, you can help ensure that your senior cat stays happy and healthy.
What are the stages of a senior cat’s life? How to spot signs of ageing?
According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), here are the typical age ranges at which senior feline citizens reach various life stages:
Mature to middle-aged:
- 7 to 10 years
- Senior: 11 to 14 years
- Geriatric: 15+ years
Here are a few of the more common things to watch for: stiffness, dementia, constipation, hearing loss, vision loss, urinating more, eliminating outside of the litterbox, increase or decrease in appetite, drinking more, not keeping up with daily grooming and losing weight.
My senior cat is losing weight. What can I do?
A subtle decrease in your cat’s weight can be the first indication of illness. Unfortunately, weight changes in older cats are often attributed merely to ageing, so clients may not seek veterinary care. If you are concerned this is an issue with your kitty, please schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians as soon as possible. The doctor will be able to get a detailed history and start performing screening tests if required.
How can I care for my senior cat?
The importance of regular wellness check-ups increases along with your cat’s age. Senior cats should be examined by one of our veterinarians at least once every 6 months allowing us to detect any signs of disease at their earliest when they are the most treatable.
This will promote the longest and healthiest life possible for your furry member of the family.
What are some common health issues?
Some common health issues include arthritis, cancer, cognitive disorders, constipation, deafness, dental disease, diabetes, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, vision problems and mostly KIDNEY disease. Your senior cat may be more susceptible to anemia, as well.
Why is my senior cat having behavioural issues?
Aging involves some inevitable slowdowns. Not only will your cat sleep more and become less active, he/she may become irritable, cranky and more easily disturbed. Playful children just may tick them off! So, watch those young kids around your elderly cat and remind them to approach quietly. Even if they have been an angel their entire life and never scratched a soul, their temper will be shorter.
If you have other animals in the household, you may notice them all undergoing behavioural changes. This is because animals develop a natural pecking order, and as your cat ages, their place in that order may change. The other animals can begin to pick on them. If this becomes a problem, you may need to separate them.
Cats are often loners, but you may notice your cat keeps to themselves more often now. Also, many older cats begin to vocalize more, and they become increasingly anxious about the unknown, whether it is people or noises. They may begin to vocalize and cry out at night due to vision or hearing loss. Try to make them as comfortable and relaxed as possible by minimizing changes in their world. If anxiety problems persist or get out of hand, one of our veterinarians can prescribe medication to help.