Senior cats are wonderful companions. Here are some considerations to enhance their golden years.
How old is your cat? Check this chart to determine your cat’s age equivalent in human years.
A cat is considered senior above age 7, and benefits from routine wellness testing to confirm health and detect disease early on. Aging itself is not a disease, but there is increased risk of developing medical conditions in the senior cat.
Here are some proactive measures you can take to make sure your cat is meeting their full purr-tential!
Cats are carnivores and have a very high protein requirement with minimal carbohydrates. Canned food is recommended, as this is much higher in moisture and proteins compared to dry food. Small frequent meals are ideal.
Limit dry food to treats, if used at all. High quality protein is recommended for healthy senior cats. This will prevent muscle wasting that is seen as cats age. If there are disease processes present, a special diet or the use of supplements may be recommended by the veterinarian.
Does your kitty seem stiff when moving around? Do you notice he or she doesn’t race around or bound up and down the stairs as before? The truth is, the majority of senior cats suffer from arthritis. This includes bony changes in the joints and loss of cartilage. The good new is there are many options for maintaining mobility! Omega 3 fish oils are anti-inflammatory and can be added directly to the cat’s food. Glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM powder are also available from your veterinarian and can be added to the diet to help with lubricating the joint and decreasing friction. There are also diets with added nutrients to support joint health. Ask your vet which product is right for your cat!
Pet steps or ramps are also commercially available or can be made to allow easier access to your cats favourite spots (up on the bed, etc) Litter boxes with lower sides make it easier for cats to climb in, preventing accidents. (These can also be made by cutting a hole with low sides into an under bed storage bin.) Consider placing litterboxes on each level of your home, making it easier for your cat to access the litterbox when needed.
Annual and bi-annual health exams become imperative in the maintenance of good health. On physical examination, some disease processes can be identified early on. Bloodwork and urinalysis screening can give even more important information on liver, kidney and thyroid function. Unintended weight loss can be an indicator that a medical condition is developing. Cats are masters at hiding illness, so even if there are no concerns you can pick up, it is still a good idea to bring your cat in for their annual. Your veterinarian is trained in identifying any problems and they can confirm the good health of your beloved family member!
As cats age, there may be a decrease in grooming. Brushing them daily removes loose hairs which can prevent hairballs. The bristles also stimulate the skin and promote blood circulation which maintains a healthy skin and coat. Check your cat’s nails weekly – nails get thicker with age and have a tendency to grow into the pad, especially dewclaws. Nails should be trimmed every 4 – 6 weeks.
We hope this information has been helpful!
Please do not hesitate to call us to book your cat’s preventive health exam today!