Cats Can Age Gracefully

old cat with green eyesJust like humans change as they age, so do our pets. Grey hair, arthritis, and hearing loss are just a few of the signs of ageing we share with our pets. Senior cats rely on us as pet parents to adjust their care plan and lifestyle as they grow old.

Signs of age-related change

Reduced grooming

Owners may notice that as cats age, their grooming habits may change. They begin to groom themselves less, and their coat can smell and become matted. Owners can help their feline friend keep up with their grooming by lending a helping hand and brushing them regularly.

Dehydration

As cats get older, they may reduce their water intake. It is important that they be encouraged to drink frequently because dehydration can lead to kidney disease. Place more water bowls around the home to remind your cat to drink. A water fountain may entice finicky drinkers that look for the freshest water.

Brittle Nails

Cats’ nails can become quite brittle as they age. This can be due to lowered activity levels.nIn some cases, their overgrown nails may embed into their paws, causing infection and pain. Regular inspections and trimmingares recommended.

Dental Disease

As cats age, they are more vulnerable to dental decay. Their teeth may appear dark yellow or brown, often accompanied by bad breath. Cats showing signs of dental disease may paw at their mouth or have trouble eating their dry kibble. Dental cleanings should be performed on senior cats by a veterinarian to prevent any further problems from occurring.

Arthritis

Just like humans, cats get joint problems as well. If your cat is suffering from arthritis, it’s easy to improve their quality of life with these steps:

  • improving their environment – your cat may benefit from a few simple changes around the house, like providing comfortable bedding, a litter tray with one low side for easy access, and keeping food and water bowls within easy access
  • watch your cat’s weight – a reduction in food intake might be necessary. This means cutting out treats, reducing portion sizes, and feeding your cat less fattening foods
  • visiting your local vet for a physical assessment – there are now many medications and supplements available to support cats with suffering from arthritis

Weight changes

Obese cats should shed the extra kilos to avoid extra strain on joints and lower their chance of diabetes. It is important to weigh senior cats once a month and report to the vet any subtle and progressive signs of weight loss or gain.

Weight loss could indicate an underlying condition like kidney disease, cancer, diabetes, liver disease or hyperthyroidism.

It’s important to keep a close eye on senior cats and take them for regular health checkups. Healthy cats are happy cats, and your local Greencross Vets wants to help your pet remain in top condition.