Old age is not a disease
Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, the evolution of care and healthier eating, cats live much longer and healthier than before. But, like humans, they feel the effects of time. Perhaps you have begun to notice that your cat once so full of life seems to be working a bit in slow motion. By being aware of the natural changes that occur in your aging cat and knowing how to help him live healthy and active, and avoid unnecessary discomforts, you can together take full advantage of his past years.
Annual visits to the veterinarian: twice a year
When your cat begins to get old, it is more important than ever to have it checked regularly by the veterinarian. In fact, at this stage of life, a complete examination is recommended every 6 months because the adult cat can age from 4 years (in "human" years) in one year. In addition to the physical examination, the veterinarian may find it necessary to carry out urine and stool tests as well as blood tests. If your cat goes outside or you have more than one cat, the veterinarian may also recommend that he or she be tested for Feline Leukemia or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.
An informed veterinarian is worth two
It is important to inform your veterinarian of any changes you have noted in the physical condition or behavior of your cat. So a problem that you simply believed related to the advanced age of your pet might rather be the sign of a health condition that can be treated. For example, if your cat is reluctant to exercise or play, this is not necessarily caused by the normal energy drop that accompanies old age. It may be stiffness or pain related to arthritis that is involved. However, this state can be treated or controlled. By seeing your pet twice a year, the veterinarian will be able to design a prevention program and spot problems early enough to administer an effective treatment. Your vet and you can make sure your cat lives its last healthy and happy years.
How - and when - will I know that my cat is "getting older"?
There are gradual changes in the aging cat that are very similar to those that occur in humans: it can begin to gray, it becomes less agile and its reflexes are less sharpened than before. Its hearing, sight and smell can deteriorate and its energy may decrease. In fact, the general decline in activity is often the first sign of aging. The animal tends to sleep longer and deeper. These signs may begin to manifest between the ages of 7 and 11 years. In addition, a healthy house cat, especially if it has been sterilized, will tend to age less quickly than a cat that has been sick or has had to brave all the perils of life outside when it Was young. The stray cat has, on average, a longevity of only 3 years, while the well-cared for neutered house cat can live happy and healthy until the early twenties. Again, as in humans, the process of aging varies among individuals. Your veterinarian will be able to judge when your companion will be considered "old".
Healthy eating on the menu
Your cat's nutritional needs may also change with age. So, you may notice that your cat is gaining weight even if it eats less. This could be due to a slowing down of its metabolism or a decrease in activity. Excess weight can aggravate a large number of health problems including heart, respiratory tract, skin and joints. To help your plump kitty lose weight, try to give it smaller portions or gradually move it to a less calorie diet.
Other cats have the opposite problem: they lose weight as they age. This weight loss is sometimes due to a heart problem, periodontal disease or diabetes. In other cases, loss of taste diminishes appetite. Either way, your veterinarian can tell you about your cat's nutritional needs.
Feeding Your Elderly Cat: Things To Do And Not To Do
Make sure your cat receives a balanced diet that is palatable and easy to digest. Its food must contain potassium and taurine.
As foods with high mineral and protein content should be avoided, ask your veterinarian to recommend a suitable food for your cat.
Consult your veterinarian to find out if you should increase the amount of fiber in your pet's diet, especially if it is often constipated.
Warm her food to body temperature. This could make meals more tempting for cats that have little appetite.
Do not give snacks to your cat or table scraps.
10 Health Tips for Older Cats
- Have your cat examined by the veterinarian twice a year.
- Learn about diseases that commonly affect older cats. Be alert and tell the veterinarian any worrying symptoms from the onset.
- Give your cat the food best suited to his condition, advised by your veterinarian. Consider giving him two small meals rather than one big one.
- Do not overfeed - obesity causes many health problems and can shorten the life of your cat.
- Get your cat to exercise to maintain muscle tone, resistance to bones and joints, and fight obesity.
- Make sure your cat's dental health. If your veterinarian recommends a professional cleaning of your cat's teeth, follow his advice.
- Ask your veterinarian to assess the risk of illness to which your cat is exposed in order to determine which vaccination program is most appropriate for your cat.
- Do your best to protect your companion from fleas and make sure his living environment (eg, his basket, his playground) and him are always meticulously clean.
- Check your cat's claws weekly and cut them as needed, as it is possible that your cat will no longer use its pole to scratch as often as before.
- Give him a lot of love and attention and do everything possible to keep him alert, active, happy and healthy.