As your cat’s constant companion, you know what it takes to make them happy, safe, and healthy. But, as time goes by you may notice certain changes in your cat’s behavior, habits, and overall appearance. While this isn’t uncommon, any age-related shifts make the following senior cat care basics absolutely pivotal for the highest quality of life possible.
The Deep Well of Lifetime Health
If we’ve been fortunate enough to know and treat your cat since kittenhood, we’ve established a baseline of his or her health and wellness. Information gathered from earlier exams or tests creates a broader picture of health when your cat becomes a senior, around 7 years of age. At this time, we encourage senior wellness examinations twice a year.
Why the Extra Visit?
Besides the fact that we enjoy seeing your cat, additional visits allow for the early detection of common age-related conditions. With early diagnosis, we have a greater chance of effectively treating any conditions. Not only an influence on a positive prognosis, catching problems before they get out of hand can also save you financially in the long run.
What to Expect
To prepare for your senior cat’s upcoming visit, we always recommend bringing a notebook or journal containing your cumulative questions, observations, and concerns. In addition to updating necessary vaccinations and parasite preventives, we typically address the following areas of health:
- Activity levels (interaction and socialization)
- Sleep-wake cycle
- Stool and litter box habits
- Quality of coat, skin, and muscle mass
- Tooth decay or bleeding gums
- Respiratory distress (wheezing or coughing)
Conclusive results from blood or urine tests can help us determine whether or not your senior cat is suffering from an age-related condition, making treatment a more feasible option.
Managing Senior Cat Care
It’s essential that your approach to caring for your senior cat adapts to his or her life stage in order to prevent or manage the most common issues:
- Dental disease
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
If you notice that your senior cat is behaving differently (even in a very subtle way), we urge you to contact us. Cats are highly skilled at hiding illness or weakness, and pressing health needs can go unnoticed. Acting quickly and seeking emergency care can save your cat’s life.
Do Your Best
Your aging feline will appreciate these adjustments to senior cat care:
- Adding ramps or steps up to places he or she favors, like a window perch or your desk
- Raising food and water dishes to reduce craning the back and neck while eating and drinking
- Smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day
- A shallow litter pan
- An orthopedic bed away from any cold drafts (planted in a favorite sunny spot…)
- Daily play and exercise to keep him or her mentally fit and physically healthy (this is true even for arthritic cats)
- Brushing, nail trimming, and even a bit of massage
- Sticking with your aging cat’s routine as much as possible
- Discouraging loud noise in your home
- Keeping his or her litter box, feeding area, or sleep zone in the same places (moving furniture can also be highly disorienting to a senior cat with decreased vision)