A cat can be considered a senior when it turns seven years old, when the aging process has normally begun.
As a pet owner, you should be aware of the most common ailments that can affect the quality of life of an older cat. With the help of various measures, the development of several such conditions can be delayed and prevented. We recommend that you have a senior check-up of your cat once or twice a year from the time the cat turns seven years old. During this health check, the veterinarian examines the following:
Mobility In Senior Cats
Stiffness in the back and legs often occurs in older cats, often due to degraded articular cartilage, osteoarthritis. In osteoarthritis, lameness and stiffness can be seen when the cat gets up after rest. Cats sometimes do not show symptoms until they have difficulty jumping up. A cat with osteoarthritis likes to lie in warm places at lower altitudes than before. Osteoarthritis can be painful. During senior check-ups, skeletons and joints are examined, and sometimes an appointment is made for an X-ray examination.
There are special foods and various supplements that help preserve the articular cartilage. These can be given as a preventative measure to slow down or counteract the onset of osteoarthritis, or combined with anti-inflammatory and analgesic treatment for those cats who have problems with their joints to increase their quality of life.
Problems With Teeth In A Senior Cat
60% of all cats over the age of five have a dental disease called dental resorption (TR) or feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORL). In this disease, the dental tissue breaks down. The condition is very painful and requires treatment. In addition, tartar is a common finding in middle-aged and older cats.
Tartar can pave the way for inflammation in the gums and in the worst case to tooth loss (periodontitis). Tartar removal is done under light anesthesia and at the same time the mouth and teeth are examined. If a tooth does not look healthy or there is a pocket formation in the gums, further examination may be needed, such as a dental X-ray.
Monitoring Your Cat’s Weight
Being overweight can worsen the condition of a cat with osteoarthritis and can cause the joints to become overloaded, which can lead to pain and impaired mobility. If the cat is overweight, you can try switching to a slimming food that can reduce weight and light food that helps keep the weight at a reasonable level. Obesity can also lead to diabetes.
During the senior check, routine blood samples are taken to examine, among other things, how high the cat’s blood sugar is.
During a health examination, routine blood samples are taken and any urine samples that can, among other things, reveal early signs of impaired kidney or liver function. With the help of special feed, the course of such diseases can be delayed.
Metabolism In Senior Cats
Older cats may have increased metabolism due to hypothyroidism (hyperthyroidism, sometimes called toxic goiter). Cats with hyperthyroidism are often lean despite having a good appetite. They may appear more restless or walk away more, and they have an increased heart rate.
They also risk high blood pressure, which, among other things, increases the risk of bleeding in the eyes or brain, causes changes in the heart or worsens a possible impaired kidney function.
Hypothyroidism can be detected by a special blood test. It is also possible to measure blood pressure in cats. If the cat is healthy and well and no abnormality has emerged during the examination or blood test, we recommend that the older cat eats senior food, which covers all its needs. With regular health check-ups and good feeding, we can give the cat a good quality of life for life.