Caring for the Aging Cat

Dec 08, 2017

Our feline friends are living much longer lives than previous generations. On a regular basis, I see cats that are 15 years and older! As they age, there are many health concerns that we should keep in mind.

1. Weight loss- Age does not cause weight loss! Age can cause a loss of muscle mass as it does in humans; however, if your cat is noticeably thinner then there is an underlying cause for this. Kidney disease, thyroid disease, diabetes, cancer, and dental disease are all very common. Senior cats (10 and older), should have physical exams and blood work every 6 months. Early detection of these diseases is very important.

2. Dental disease- As mentioned above, dental disease is very common in both dogs and cats, especially seniors. At your cat’s physical examination, your veterinarian will let you know if a dental is needed. Cats can lose weight due to pain during eating as a result of dental disease. We all know toothaches are a very unpleasant experience!

3. Osteoarthritis- Unlike dogs, osteoarthritis is often underappreciated in cats. Cats are extremely stoic and are very good at hiding their pain. Approximately 90% of cats over 12 years old suffer from some degree of arthritis. Signs of arthritis in cats can be vague but the most commonly reported include reluctance to jump up on the couch or bed and hiding more than usual. Typically, very few cats actually limp when they have arthritis. Although there are not any anti-inflammatory medications approved for long term use in cats, we would be happy to discuss options to make your cat more comfortable.

Quality of life is so important in senior cat healthcare. Routine examinations and blood work can aid in early detection of serious illnesses. As a fellow cat lady, I know we all want our wonderful cats to live long, happy, healthy lives. Please call the clinic to discuss any concerns you have about your senior cat.


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