Such Great Heights: What You Can Do to Support Senior Cat Health

Paws cleaningIf you’ve lived with your senior cat since their infancy, you likely know them really well. You know their preferences and capabilities – and you know when something isn’t right. Watching for any signs of change (even the most subtle) can make a huge difference to overall senior cat health. Early detection and intervention are your biggest allies in helping your pet achieve a long, healthy, and happy life. Your friends at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital are here to help!

The Long View

Senior cat health is built on the foundation of regular wellness exams. After felines reach the age of 6 years old, we may need to address their needs a little differently to ensure long term wellness. Routine wellness exams should be scheduled twice a year to:

  • Address any behavioral or nutritional changes
  • Provide diagnostic testing
  • Create potential treatment plans with the goal of graceful, healthy aging

Senior Cat Health

Thanks to veterinary advances and a higher level of owner involvement, cats are living well into their second decade. While frisky felines continue to enjoy an excellent quality of life, the chances of developing a health condition are high. In addition to dental care and shifting nutritional needs, a routine senior cat health exam takes the following into consideration:

  • Sleeping and eating habits
  • Lifestyle
  • Physical environment (you may need to install ramps or kitty stairs to ensure access to the litter box and food/water)
  • Exposure to stress
  • Medication

The Downside of Aging

Disease prevention is paramount to senior cat health. The most common age-related health conditions that affect cats include:

  • Kidney disease
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Dental disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Lung disease
  • Cancer
  • Thyroid disease
  • Retinal disease
  • Cognitive disorders
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Constipation

When we catch symptoms early enough, we can extend the life – and quality – of a senior cat’s life. This also minimizes the need for costly, painful treatments down the road. It’s a win-win!

A Word on Weight

It’s important to note that pet obesity is on the rise. Extra weight can lead to painful (even debilitating) arthritis, and a loss of mobility can decrease quality of life. Please let us know if you think your senior cat is gaining weight. The right nutrition can have a huge impact on an aging feline.

It’s All in the Details

Cats are experts at hiding symptoms, but a vigilant owner will notice the following changes:

  • Inappetance
  • Oversleeping
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision problems
  • Noticeable loss of smell
  • Noise intolerance
  • Decreased attention-seeking
  • Problems urinating or defecating
  • Skin conditions
  • Brittle nails
  • Crying or increased vocalization
  • Breathing difficulty

Remember, noticeable shifts in your senior cat’s behavior can quickly develop into a full-fledged emergency.

Keeping it Real

It can be difficult to accept that your little fluffy-muffin is growing older, but when you meet age-related problems head-on, your cat has a better chance of aging gracefully.

As a partner in supporting senior cat health, the team at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital is always here for you and your pet. We hope you’re able to enjoy every moment with your purr-fectly lovable senior cat!

posted in:  Senior Pet Care