With excellent care from you and dedicated veterinary professionals like those at Mobile Vet M.D., our feline patients are living longer lives than ever before. This means, though, that we care for more cats in their golden years than ever before. Understanding senior cat health and potential diseases that affect aged felines is an important part of caring for them successfully, and we are here to help.
Common Conditions in Older Kitties
There are a few problems that we commonly diagnose in the senior cat, and as a pet owner, it is helpful for you to be on the lookout for them so that we can intervene and help.
Conditions we see often include:
- Osteoarthritis—Wear and tear as well as old injuries can result in the degeneration of the joints and painful arthritis. Many cats, especially those who have been declawed, suffer from osteoarthritis which may result in mobility issues and poor self-grooming.
- Dental Disease—Periodontal disease, fractured teeth, and inflammation of the gums and other oral tissue can affect cats.
- Chronic Kidney Disease—Cats are particularly prone to losing kidney function over time, which can result in increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss, anemia, and high blood pressure.
- Feline Hyperthyroidism—An abnormal increase in thyroid hormone can cause a high metabolism. This means a hyperactive hungry kitty that is losing weight. Feline hyperthyroidism is common in middle-aged to older cats.
- Diabetes Mellitus—Pets can suffer from diabetes just like people. Increased thirst and urination and weight loss in the face of increased appetite are often telltale signs. Most cats with diabetes can be managed well with diet change and insulin.
Senior Cat Care Considerations
Cats are considered senior after the age of ten, but many of our kitty patients live well into their late teens or even early twenties!
Caring for a senior pet isn’t entirely different from caring for any other animal, but there are definitely a few things to pay some extra attention to.
If you are taking care of a senior cat, keep in mind that:
- Routine veterinary checkups (at least annually) and wellness care are important to track health, discuss care, and recommend screening testing for common conditions
- Parasite prevention is always important, but becomes more essential as immunity sometimes decreases with age
- Nutrition is paramount and we may need to discuss things like calorie intake, hydration, and special nutritional needs for the aged pet
- Tests aren’t just for sick pets, and things like blood tests and urine monitoring can provide vital information to help successfully care for your pet
- Good dental care is important at any age
- Mobility may decrease with age and adjustments may need to be made for your older cat
You are the most important person in the life of your senior cat. Our feline family members aren’t exactly known for telling us when something is wrong, though, which makes it so important to communicate with us and allow us to examine your cat regularly. Small changes in body weight, coat quality, or blood values may tip us off to something before it becomes a major issue.
We love keeping cats healthy, whether they are tiny kittens or grown grandmas. Please call us to get your cat set up for a wellness examination, or any time you have kitty concerns.