The fires are stoked and we can all guess who is likely to be next to the fire on these cold evenings…yes, your cat! Elderly cats have some important health issues that need to be monitored to ensure a long and healthy life.
Dental disease is common problem in old cats. Unlike us, they don’t clean their teeth daily and over time can get build up of tartar. This can lead to gum disease and recession and eventually tooth loss. This process is reversible if caught early enough. Signs that your cat might have teeth issues include:
- lack of grooming
- smelly breath
- not wanting to eat
- excess drooling
Arthritis is also seen in cats, although it is commonly thought to be an old dog’s disease. Arthritic cats have difficulty turning to groom themselves and are less active. They stop being able to jump up as high as they were able to or fall when attempting to jump and end up climbing up. There is treatment available for this condition to help your elderly cat cope with this debilitating condition.
Most elderly cats have some form of kidney disease. It is a very common complaint in an older cat. Clinical signs of kidney insufficiency and/or failure include increased thirst as the kidneys are no longer able to absorb water from the urine. The urine becomes very dilute and so the cat will urininate more frequently and in larger volumes. The litter tray will become very full, very quickly. Although there is no cure, there are diets and drugs available which can help support and stabilize the diseased kidney.
Hormonal diseases include hyperthyroidism, due to an over active thyroid gland, and diabetes. Again, these diseases can be treated with both drugs and dietary management.
How can you help your aged cat?
Even small differences can make a big difference to their quality of life.
- Feed good quality Senior cat food, eg, Iams Senior, Hills Active Longevity, Hills Mature, Royal Canin Senior.
- Help them groom with a good brush every few days – they will really enjoy this time with you.
- Have their food at floor level, or give them a ramp to get up to higher places.
- Have their food and bed closer so they don’t have to travel long distances between their bed, food and littler tray, if they use one.
- Regular check ups with your local vet