Senior Cat Care
Senior pets add so much joy to our lives, whether they are new additions or have lived long lives with us. Here at Harbour Cities, we understand the incredible bond people have with their senior pets and want to ensure we provide them with the best possible care to make the golden years as pain-free, fun, and happy as the early years. We offer wellness exams and diets that are targeted to our “mature” pets and their specific needs.
What are the stages of a senior cat’s life? How to spot signs of ageing?
Cats have four life stages, kitten, adult, senior and geriatric and each of these life stages requires different levels of care. By the time your feline companion is age 8-10 human years old, they are considered a senior cat. This typically entails general ageing issues such as subtle mobility changes, changes in organ function, an increase in napping time, and changes in appetite. Once your pet enters the senior zone, it’s a good time to begin monitoring and tracking these changes and report back to your veterinarian at your annual exam. They want to know year over year how they might be slowing down, and what changes are being seen. Typically, by age 14-16 cats are considered geriatric, and we begin to see issues such as dementia, worsened mobility, renal disease, and other advanced disease processes. The senior pet benefits greatly from twice-annual examinations to assess the advancement of change and provide an opportunity for early intervention – potentially adding quality years to their lives.
My senior cat is losing weight, what can I do?
Weight loss in senior cats is a common concern and can be caused by different types of diseases or sometimes lack of appetite due to arthritis or dental related pain. If your cat is exhibiting signs of weight loss, please contact us to set up a senior wellness exam with a veterinarian.
How can I care for my senior cat?
Senior cats, just like senior people, need extra medical attention as they age. More regular exams with your veterinarian, senior blood work, specialized diets, and supplements are some of the medically based considerations. Added comforts at home can help as well. Firm but comfortable pet beds to support arthritic joints in cats, food dishes that are raised to allow less strain on the neck, ramps or stairs to allow your senior kitty to get to their favourite hiding places and lower edges on litter boxes to allow easy access. Having all of their necessities on one level of your home can help as well, the less they need to do stairs the easier it is for them. It is still important for our senior pets to be active with low-impact, regular activities being the most beneficial. Discuss your cat’s senior needs with a member of our team today for more helpful tips!
What are some common health issues?
All cats age differently, just like humans, and can be affected by different health issues. Some of the more common concerns are renal health issues, dental issues, weight loss, dementia or behavioural changes, and arthritis. If you notice symptoms like weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, odd behaviour, signs of pain or lethargy, please contact our hospital to book a senior wellness exam. We like to keep on top of ageing concerns to ensure your cat lives a long, healthy and happy life.
Why is my senior cat having behavioural issues?
Dementia in animals is similar to that in humans. When a cat has dementia, they can show some of the following symptoms: Lack of grooming, an increase in restlessness or anxiety, especially at night, sleeping more often, eating less, a sense of being lost in their home, vocalization, often at weird times, and urinating or defecating outside of the litterbox. If you are noticing more than one of these symptoms in your cat, you should contact the clinic to set up an appointment with your veterinarian.