Cats are generally small independent creatures with big personalities. They are predators, and their diets are more carnivorous than dogs. Cats need a lot more protein than dogs do, and specialized diets to keep them healthy and their organs working well. They also need a lot of exercises and mental stimulation to stop them from literally climbing the walls of your home!
Because they are so fit and independent, it is difficult to spot age-related issues as your cat gets older. Senior cats also tend to keep their aches and pains to themselves, and you really need to be on alert to know when there’s a problem and take him or her to the vet as soon as possible. Some common age-related issues you need to look out for in an aging cat are:
Arthritis is one of the most common types of age-related diseases that come up with cats. Typically seen in cats older than ten years old, arthritis is a slow killer that can be a genetic condition that has nothing to do with the cat age. It affects the joints and stiffens them so movement is difficult. One of the best ways to prevent the onset of feline arthritis is to keep your cat lean and healthy. Obesity puts more pressure on the cat’s joints and makes cartilage erode faster.
Because your senior cat might sleep or lie down a lot, spotting the early signs of arthritis might be difficult. If your older cat is moving less than usual or hesitating when jumping on to places like the litter box, then you should get your cat checked out. There are treatments that manage pain and help your cat manage this condition.
Cats have eye-related issues similar to people. As they age, things like eye infections, glaucoma, and cataracts become an issue. Glaucoma is a build-up of fluid behind the cat’s eyeball. Cataracts occur because the lens of the eyeball becomes increasingly cloudy. Cataracts are often treatable with a simple operation.
Eye infections occur because of the cat’s immune system slowing down as become older cats. Things like conjunctivitis, which is an inflammatory infection, can occur in an older cat. Eye infections can occur on the ball or the eyelid. Your vet might prescribe a simple treatment like an ointment for treating eyelid infection in cats or might prescribe surgery for more serious issues.
As humans grow older, the skin becomes thinner, drier, and less elastic. This same issue happens in cats. Because of this, cats can develop a lot of skin conditions as they age. You might notice your cat is scratching itself much more than usual. Their fur might lose some luster as well.
Examine your cat’s skin for signs of infection like redness and swelling. If you spot any, do a once over to check for any parasites like fleas or ticks. Ticks are dangerous because they can give your pet tick bite fever which turns fatal if left untreated. Skin infections also lower your pet’s immunity and can leave him or her susceptible to a host of other illnesses, regardless of cat ages. It is important to treat these right away in senior animals!
Older cats are also susceptible to dental issues like plaque and infections. Studies have found that over half of older cats suffer from one or the other kind of dental disease. Dental disease is both easy to treat and easy to prevent.
If your senior cat is showing signs of discomfort when it is eating, if their gums feel swollen, and if you notice blood in their mouth, it is time to visit the vet. To prevent dental issues in your cat, keep up a regular routine of brushing your senior cat’s teeth. If there is a lot of plaque buildup, then get it removed by asking your vote about a scaling and polishing session. Dental issues in cats can snowball into requiring tooth removal, so prevention is definitely better than cure in this case!
Aging happens when body processes start to break down. The joints don’t work as they should, the senses become dulled, and the mind is also affected. This is true for both senior cats and humans. And just like it happens in humans, cats can also develop senility. If your cat is over ten years old, then you need to keep an eye out for signs of senility.
Senior cats who are becoming senile forget where they are, keep standing in one place for a long period of time and act uncharacteristically. They forget people and places and can react aggressively if you are not careful. These senior cats will sleep a lot more than they used to, will be louder and more vocal when they are awake, and have a tendency to reduce their interactions with humans.