Caring for Your Senior Cat

Whether you’ve had your cat since it was a kitten or have recently introduced a senior cat into your household, it is important to keep in mind that it may need different care than a young or adult cat. Being more aware of not only the general health of your cat, but also ensuring that it maintains proper nutrition and exercise, are incredibly important in keeping your senior cat around for many years to come.

Sleeping Senior Cat - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal

Normal changes

The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) considers the term “senior” to describe cats between the ages of 11 and 14 years. Past 15 years of age your cat is considered geriatric, however, that term doesn’t take into account its playfulness! Even though you may see a reduced amount of curiosity and enthusiasm in your senior cat, this is a normal change: they can become more stable and more relaxed as time passes. Your cat could also become slightly more cranky or intolerant of excess noise or different surroundings, depending on the breed.

Recognizing abnormal changes

Regardless, it is important to keep an eye out for changes that occur in your pet’s demeanor and physical appearance. Health issues like heart disease, cancer, and deafness, among others, could develop without your knowledge if close attention is not paid. Your cat may mask symptoms of sickness, so it is important that you monitor for changes in habits like grooming or litterbox usage. If your cat is above or below the recommended weight for its breed, it is susceptible to other health issues such as diabetes or improper nutrition.

What you can do about it

The most basic concern should be your pet’s comfort. Making sure your senior cat can get around easily in your house is important for its continual repose and happiness. Convenient access to the litterbox, food, and water, may require some relocating, but it is definitely worth the love you will receive in return! Your cat may show signs of struggle during eating or gaining weight over time, so talking to your veterinarian about dietary changes may become important. Besides what you can do at home, taking your cat in to see us at 5 Points Animal Hospital at least every six months will prolong its life as long as possible and allow us to oversee and supervise any health issues that may occur. During a normal exam, we will ask you about your cat’s health history and give us an opportunity to track changes, if there are any, between visits. Any appearance changes will be noted by measuring muscle tone, heartbeats and breathing, as well as feeling for any abnormal changes around the stomach and neck.

With any questions, we’re here for you! Caring for a senior pet can be stressful at times, so don’t hesitate with asking questions! We want your pet to live a long and healthy life.

By Dr. Janet Grace | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on Caring for Your Senior Cat

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