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signs of older cats
Some cats start showing age-related physical signs as early as seven, while others remain more playful than kittens at ten. A general rule of thumb is that a cat is classified as “senior” if he is over 11 years old.
As the parent of an aging cat, you’ll want to watch for changes in behavior that could indicate an underlying problem. Here are five common age-related symptoms and conditions you might see in an older kitty:
- sleeping all the time…or not sleeping at all: while slowing down as a cat ages is normal, if you notice your cat sleeping all the time or more deeper than normal could indicate a more serious health problem. Conversely, cats that are more active at night and don’t sleep as much could be experiencing age-related changes. The Chicago Treehouse Humane Society also notes that an older cat who suddenly seems to have a lot more energy could be suffering from hyperthyroidism. talk to your vet if you have any concerns about his general health.
- Confusion: If your cat is getting confused by common tasks or objects she’s used to, like finding her bed, she may be reaching her golden years. this can also be a sign of larger cognitive issues, so see your vet if you notice this type of behavior.
- Difficulty climbing stairs or jumping: Arthritis is common in older cats. Although your cat may not limp or show other obvious signs of joint pain, you may notice that she has more difficulty jumping into the litter box, climbing stairs, or jumping on furniture than before.
- Unintentional weight loss or gain: In an older cat, weight loss can be a sign of a number of problems, from heart and kidney disease to diabetes, notes the New York College of Veterinary Medicine. university of illinois medicine Some pets’ food and energy needs may increase as they move from adult to senior cats, and they may lose weight faster than they can eat to catch up. On the opposite side of the spectrum, as cats get older, their metabolism slows down, so they don’t need as many calories as before. if you notice that your cat is beginning to gain weight, it might be time to transition to a senior cat food that is better equipped to meet her biological needs.
- behavioral changes: Does your cat have accidents when she has never had one before? are you avoiding human interaction? these may be signs of a cat with kidney failure, a cat in pain, or a cat with mental confusion, health conditions that are more common in older cats. your vet can help you get to the bottom of your cat’s behavior changes.
- matted or oily hair: A cat that has stopped grooming itself may be in pain from arthritis or dental problems.
Older cats should see a veterinarian every six months. but if you notice any changes in your cat’s behavior or appearance, you should never hesitate to call sooner. after all, a vet will be familiar with all the signs of aging in cats.
taking care of your golden girl
You can also take some simple steps at home to improve your cat’s quality of life in her old age:
- choose a high-quality food made for older cats: youthful vitality 7+ cat food, for example, is specially formulated to support brain function, energy and vitality , and kidney and bladder health. , healthy digestive system and luxurious coat.
- Give her a warm place to rest: Especially if she suffers from arthritis, she’ll appreciate it if you move her bed out of a drafty area.
- Think about easy access: Provide a litter box, water bowl, and food bowl on each floor of your home. if he seems to have trouble getting into the litter box, find one with lower sides or even try an old cookie sheet.
- help her groom herself: Many people rarely brush their cats because they are so good at grooming themselves. but as your cat ages, brushing serves the dual purpose of acting as a bonding activity and keeping her coat healthy when she can no longer do it alone.
- keep exercising: here are some easy ways to keep your older cat moving.
It is important to remember that aging is not a disease. The Cornell University Feline Health Center notes that aging is a natural process, and the body, whether human or feline, goes through many complex physical changes as the years progress. But even though some of your cat’s conditions may not be easily cured, they can likely be managed. Help your cat enjoy her old age by making sure she has access to veterinary care and lots of love and attention at home.