An eight-year-old cat is the equivalent age of a 50-year-old person. When humans reach this stage in their life their doctor will recommend screening for various age-related conditions such as cancers, kidney and liver abnormalities, gastrointestinal and heart conditions. Blood work, urine testing, x-rays and blood pressure measurement and other diagnostics can catch disease and age changes early. We recommend the same for your cat.
Early detection of kidney, liver and thyroid diseases, to name a few, allow us to administer the appropriate treatments to make your cat comfortable, and help extend their life.
How often should my senior cat visit the veterinarian?
Even though you may believe your pet is healthy, there are many age-related disease processes that do not show any outward sign until the disease is quite advanced. More advanced diseases can be more difficult to treat and are not always as responsive to treatment as diseases diagnosed early. We recommend annual visits for all our feline patients. Cats with ongoing chronic medical conditions may require more frequent visits for follow-up tests two or three times a year. Geriatric patients (14+ years of age) or those with advanced medical conditions should be seen at least every six months.
My senior cat is losing weight, what can I do?
Cats of any age with unintended weight loss should visit the veterinarian for a thorough nose-to-tail examination. A physical examination includes:
- Bone, Joint and Muscle Examination
- Skin & Coat Examination
- Heart & Lung Evaluation
- Eye & Ear Health Examinations
- Abdominal Examination
- Urinary Tract and Genital Examination
- Neurologic Examination
- Nutrition & Weight Assessment
- Lifestyle & Behaviour Consultation
- Nail Trim if Required
After performing a thorough physical examination of your cat and asking a few questions, the doctor will develop a treatment plan for you cat. Some diagnostic testing may be required to determine the cause of the weight loss. Tests may include: blood and urine tests for internal organ function, blood pressure, x-rays or ultrasound.
What are some tips for how to care for my senior cat?
As they age, you may notice a change in your cat’s mobility and activity levels. You may need to provide easier access to food and water bowls, and the litter box. Some older cats may have more difficulty grooming themselves. You may need to brush them more regularly and bring them in for regular nail trims.
For less active cats, you may wish to provide more interactive types of toys to keep them moving and stimulated.
Your cat’s nutritional requirements will change as they age. Part of their annual examination will include a discussion about diet and body condition.
What are some common health issues experienced by senior cats?
A few of the more common senior cat health problems we treat regularly include: kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, dental disease, urinary infections, heart conditions, obesity, and arthritis. Regular check-ups for senior cats are recommended so that we can catch these common ailments at an earlier stage and provide them with a better quality of life in their senior years.
What are some signs my senior cat may display if they are feeling unwell?
Cats are experts at hiding signs of pain or weakness. Often, their behaviours will change very gradually over time and you may not notice it until it becomes more pronounced. If you notice any changes in your cat’s behaviour, appetite and feeding habits, litter box habits, grooming habits, a reluctance to jump up or climb stairs, please call us.