Did you know…
The average cat has a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. Advances in veterinary treatments and nutrition alongside a tendency to keep indoor-only cats has contributed to this longer life expectancy. Cats over the age of seven years old are considered senior. As they age, a cat’s dietary, exercise, and healthcare needs will change, so it’s important that you monitor these changes closely.
Senior cats are susceptible to a number of diseases. The most common are kidney disease, diabetes, abdominal tumours, thyroid disease, and arthritis. Being able to detect changes in your cat’s behaviour and habits early and notifying your local pet care team will help to reduce serious long-term health issues.
Health concerns which your cat may be experiencing
Always pay attention to changes in your cat; they hide their feelings well, so if they’re ill or something is wrong, it can be hard to identify.
- Arthritis and joint issues
- Heart diseases
- Kidney failure
- Liver disease
- Increased thyroid disease
- Abdominal tumours
- Joint issues
Following are some of the symptoms which indicates that your cat might be having some health concerns
- Excessive thirst or urination
- Significant increase or decrease in appetite
- Lethargic behaviour – reluctance to move around
- Reluctance to jump on beds or lounges
- Changes to their skin or coat e.g. lumps or bumps
- Significant increase or decrease to their weight
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Hissing more when touched or patted
- Meowing more
- Heart murmur or rapid heart rate
- Breathing difficulties
Greencross Vets recommends that healthy older cats be examined by a veterinarian at least twice a year. Pets age much faster than we do, and six months for a senior cat is similar to three years for us, which is a significant amount of time for health problems to creep up. Talk to your local Greencross Vet for more details.
Care at home
Making small adjustments to your pet’s home environment can assist them as they start to show signs of ageing. Things to consider when living with a senior pet could include:
- Providing easy access to food and water, consider raising the food and water bowl slightly off the ground
- Keeping them cool in summer and warm in winter
- Comfortable bedding
As our cats age, you may notice they become less active and start spending more time indoors. Their metabolism also slows down, making it harder for them to digest higher levels of protein and fat found in kitten and adult cat diets. Transitioning your cat onto a premium senior diet once they turn seven will be beneficial for managing their overall health.
One of the easiest way to care for your cat’s teeth is providing a varied diet that promotes chewing and gentle abrasion on the teeth. Such foods include human grade chunky cooked meat/ calamari/ cooked chicken hearts, dry foods especially formulated for oral hygiene. Of course, the best thing to ensure your cats teeth are clean is daily brushing. Ensure your cats eat slowly and consider a go-slow bowl.
Frequent health check-ups
Taking your cat to the vet for twice yearly check-ups will help to detect problems earlier, resulting in a happier and healthier feline friend.
What your Greencross Vet will monitor in your senior cat’s examination:
- joints and arthritis
- eyes and ears
- teeth and gums
- skin, coat and lymph nodes
- urine and faeces
- blood test and blood pressure
- weight and body condition score
- heart and lungs
$30 off professional services*
Book online and redeem in clinic.
*Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer including Healthy Pets Plus. Excludes food, medications, grooming and merchandise. Applicable for dogs and cats aged 6 and above. One voucher per pet. Can be used only at Greencross Vets clinics. Ends 31 May 2019.