If you take good care of your cat, he can live even beyond 20 years of age. However, he has certain requirements while aging which you should understand. Your cat will enter his senior years from the age of seven and will undergo changes in metabolism and activity level.
1. Prominent Signs of Aging in Cats
- The commonest sign that your cat is getting older is weight loss. This can be due to thyroid problems or weight loss. At this age, there may be kidney problems too and they can be life-threatening. Cancers can also develop leading to strange growths and abrupt and ongoing weight loss.
- Cognitive behavioral dysfunction may also be seen in senior cats. This is similar to Alzheimer’s disease that develops in humans. Hence understanding and care are essential for your cat to be as happy and healthy as possible in her last years.
- Another problem aging cats may face is arthritis and joint stiffness, especially in the colder winter weather. In such a condition, gentle handling and utmost care is essential. You may also need to use medication for pain management. Consult your vet about how you can comfort your cat.
- Senior cats may also develop dental problems and gum disease; their signs are not seen easily though. If your cat is struggling or taking very long time to eat, you better take him to your vet.
- Aging may also bring about deterioration in hearing, vision and coordination in cats. They may ignore your call or talk to them and this may be due to aging and not stubborn behaviour.
2. General Care for Senior Cats
You should keep your cat’s bedding and other moving areas warm, draught-free and as near the ground as possible. A trampoline-type bed which is above the ground but not too high to climb on easily is perfect. Keep them indoors to protect them from potential dangers outdoors.
3. Nutrition for Senior Cats
Anyone like a professional Pymble vet will tell you how important nutrition is for a senior cat. Aging will change the cat’s dietary needs from about 7 years of age. An excellent nutritious diet given from early life and adjusted according to your cat’s age and activity levels will offer him highest quality of life.
4. Vet Visits for Senior Cats
Regular vet visits are essential for your cat’s entire life. Make sure that all vaccinations and worming programs are up to date. Make sure that worming and flea treatments are administered monthly.
Vaccinations and general health checkup (including a dental checkup) should be done every year till the age of seven. After that, it’s highly essential to visit a cat clinic near you and get your cat’s health checked every six months since cats are used to hide pain and certain symptoms of diseases that only a vet’s trained eyes can see.
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5. Cat Health Insurance
As your cat ages, it will cost you increasingly higher to maintain a good quality of life for her. You should take advantage of pet health insurance in such a situation. For a small monthly fee, you can claim any vet expenses and can comfortably give a good life to your beloved canine child.
Pet insurance eases out financial burden of vet fees and costs of testing procedures, ultra sounds and scans that may go on adding up.
Moreover, you will have to bear the costs of medications, supplements and special diets; therefore while your cat is in her young age and healthy, you should get her health insurance to ensure she can spend a good life in her twilight years.
It takes a bit more time and effort to look after your aging cat, but with correct foundations laid in early years, your job becomes easy, and you can enjoy your canine’s company for the longest possible time.