Senior Cat Care
Did you know that cats are considered to be in their senior years when they turn eight years old? As our pets age, physical and behavioural changes occur. You may notice your pet sleeping more, they may not want to jump up on things or may be reluctant to go up or downstairs. They may lose or gain weight, depending on their metabolism and activity. It is important to understand that old age is not a disease.
What are the stages of a senior cat’s life? How to spot signs of ageing?
Many times when our furry friends begin ageing, we start noticing changes in their behaviour or activity level. Like people, some cats age faster than others. However, older cats can be placed into one of three groups:
Mature or middle-aged: 7–10 years (44–56 years for humans).
Senior: 11–14 years (60-72 years for humans).
Geriatric: 15+ years (76+ years for humans).
In many cats can live happily into their late teens and early twenties.
My senior cat is losing weight, what can I do?
If your senior cat is eating well but is still losing weight, it could be the result of periodontal disease (gum and tooth problems), thyroid dysfunction or kidney failure. It is important to seek out veterinary attention if your cat is losing weight.
How can I care for my senior cat?
We all want to grow old with grace and dignity, and we want the same for our pets. Through an understanding of cat health and advances in veterinary medicine, cats can live longer, better lives than ever before. Caring for your elderly cat will often require more frequent health checks, particularly if they have any age-associated symptoms or diseases. Age-appropriate diagnostic testing should be completed once or twice per year can help identify conditions that can lead to medical or behavioural problems.
What are some common health issues?
As with older people, there is a range of illnesses that can occur as your cat ages. Being in tuned to the changes in your cat’s behaviour and habits and communicating with your veterinary care team can help ensure early detection and timely treatment. Some of the common diseases affecting older cats include kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism and high blood pressure.
Why is my senior cat having behavioural issues?
Older cats can experience some behaviour changes such as nighttime crying, confusion, staring at walls or the ceiling. It is important to understand that such behaviours can be triggered by some causes, the most common being an underlying medical problem.