Getting older is inevitable, even for your feline friend. This means that their needs will change over time, whether its their diet, their routine veterinary care or home environment. Today, our Rancho Cucamonga geriatric pet vets talk about how to care for your senior cat and how care for old cats change as they age.
How to Care For a Senior Cat
You've likely cared for your aging cat over their entire lives. This means that you should be able to spot any signs of potential health complications through changes in their behavior. Even so, there can be some subtle signs that are missed. For this reason, yearly (or twice yearly as they get older) geriatric veterinary care along with at-home care essential to their ongoing health.
Changes That Affect Old Cats
As your cat begins to settle into their golden years you will need to take a different approach to their veterinary care. You will need to consider making some changes to their diet, environment and care as well as watching for changes from the cat itself.
Some of the changes that your senior cat may experience include:
- Altered Sleep Cycle
- Changes in Thyroid Function
- Decreased Kidney Function
- Vision Impairment
- Decreased Sense of Smell
- Brittle or Ingrown Nails
- Circulatory Issues
- Inability to Absorb Nutrients and Digest Properly
- More Easily Affected By Stress
- Decreased Mobility/Joint Diseases
Nutritional Need of Senior Cats
While feeding your cat a healthy diet throughout their life is important, it can become a crucial aspect of their health during old age.When you feed your cat a healthy diet that is specially curated for senior cats you can help:
- Manage weight
- Increase lifespan
- Maintain healthy skin, coat, and bodily functions
Our geriatric pet vets in Rancho Cucamonga recommend offering your senior cat wet food as well as adequate access to water as they tend to not drink enough leading to dehydration.
You can also focus on providing your cat with a few smaller meals throughout the day as opposed to larger meals in order to allow for easier and more complete digestion.
The cognitive abilities of your cat will diminish with age which can lead to your cat forgetting where their food is as well as overeating when they do find it. This can cause its own issues such as vomiting from gorging which can result in low nutrient absorption.
Your geriatric pet veterinarian in Rancho Cucamonga will be able to help you determine the best food to offer your senior cat based on their needs.
Preventive Care For Senior or Super Senior Cats
Having a good relationship with your geriatric pet vet is crucial as they will be able to help you sport when something is not quite right with your pet. They also know you and your pet and know the specifics regarding your life and what your cat's unique needs are.
Your vet will likely perform a routine exam and diagnostics such as bloodwork during your cat's visit but they will also offer any preventive care that your cat needs. Your geriatric pet veterinarian will look at your cat's teeth and offer preventive dental care as well as any vaccinations and parasite protection that will help them live comfortably through their golden years.
What to Expect With Veterinary Care For Old Cats
During your senior cat's routine checkup, your geriatric pet vet in Rancho Cucamonga will focus on the following:
- Review of Habits and Behavior
- The Weight and Condition of Your Cat
- Skin and Fur Quality
- Dental Health
- Ears and Eyes
- Thyroid Gland Palpation
- Heart and Circulatory System
- Lungs / Nose Health
- Abdomen Discomfort
- Muscles and Joints
- Blood Pressure
- Bloodwork and Urinalysis
Our geriatric pet vets at Rancho Regional Veterinary Hospital in Rancho Cucamonga will also perform any necessary testing for feline diseases as well as administer any preventive care during your cat's visit.
At-Home Care For Senior Cats
Keeping your senior cat safe, happy and healthy isn't only about routine veterinary care. You will also need to provide care at home to help keep them safe and healthy as well as stimulated mentally.
Some of the other areas of care and considerations for old cats include:
- Easy Access to Food / Litter / Beds
- Create an Easy-to-Maneuver Environment
- Keep a Consistent Veterinary Care Routine
- Administer Required Medications
- Lifestyle Accommodations
By understanding the health and lifestyle needs of your cat you can help ensure that they live comfortably well into old age.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.