Caring For Your Senior Cat
As your cat gets older, she'll need more attention to her health, nutrition, and exercise regimen.
Cats are incredibly observant and can spot almost anything wrong with their owner. That's why consulting your vet for regular checkups is important to make sure your cat stays happy and healthy.
When is a Cat a Senior Citizen?
It is not easy to know when a cat becomes a senior citizen. However, most cats become one between 11 and 14 years old. Here are some typical stages for felines in these different age ranges:
No one wants to see their feline friend suffer from a health issue. Often, seniors will have an autoimmune system that is not as resilient as it once was. Some of the more common conditions include arthritis, diabetes mellitus type II, heart disease, and respiratory problems. For this reason, you should always be on the lookout for any signs of developing health issues in your senior cat parent!
Senior cats can get arthritis, cancer, cognitive disorders, dental constipation disease, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, retinal diseases, and vision problems.
Doing Wellness Exams
Just as we humans get regular checkups, senior cats need to have frequent wellness checks by a veterinarian. In addition to this, the following goals can be accomplished:
A routine exam at the vet also includes checking for illness signs such as heart, lungs, pain, and muscle tone. If a cat is ill, the vet will look inside her mouth or ears to check for abnormalities. They typically feel along her neck and abdomen, looking for lumps or tumors!
In mature cats, vets recommend that baseline lab testing be performed at least once a year to monitor any developing trends in their health. Additional testing is necessary for an accurate diagnosis; however, this set of laboratory tests can help your vet identify potential problems early on and keep them from becoming severe if you get regular checkups and other healthcare services from a trusted veterinarian who knows your cat best! Additional tests may be recommended based on the results of routine screening tests.
Checking Your Cat's Health
Unlike humans, cats cannot tell you exactly what's wrong with them. As such, most felines hide signs of illness well. Senior cats often suddenly fall ill when their ability to compensate for the disease is overwhelmed. Paying close attention between regular exams is essential not to miss anything that might signal some similarity or injury or illness in your pet- like weight loss and gain, which can sometimes serve as an early sign of an underlying condition. Weight management can be a major health issue; overweight and obese pets are at greater risk of diabetes, osteoarthritis, and other conditions because they're less active than normal-weight pets who depend on food instead of energy expenditure. After all, they don't get enough exercise.
Routine Preventative Measures
All pets need to get regular wellness care, and as they age, routine preventive measures will continue to be necessary, such as dental exams, parasite protection, nutritional management, and vaccinations. Don't think that just because your cat gets more frequent vet appointments means you can skip out on these other routines.
Make sure your cat can easily get to food and water, bedding, and a litter box. If it seems like she cannot reach something anymore or it is hard for her to access anything- give her some space! Don't forget that cats need attention too! Take the time out of your day to pet them while playing on their favorite toys.
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