Part 3: The Golden Oldie: Senior & Geriatric Cats
This talk covers common health and behavioural issues seen in cats over 7 years of age.
At this stage you should be seeing the vets 4 times per year. This is because, like in adults, health can deteriorate very quickly and the early onset of problems is often not perceptible to the untrained eye. Even some diseases such as kidney disease do not show any “clinical signs” until very late in its development and by the time you notice any outward changes over 75% of the kidney function will have been irreparably lost. Kidney disease can be detected through a simple unobtrusive urine test, followed by a blood test if the test gives the vets cause for concern. If you only see your vet once a year then ask for a geriatric profile to screen for these kinds of common conditions.
A common mistake to make with older cats is to put down changes in behaviour as the natural result of aging. These include:
- Drinking more than usual. Often a sign of kidney disease or hyperthyroidism.
- Deteriorating coat condition
- Poor teeth
- Not jumping as high as he used to
- Sleeping more than usual
- Weight loss
- Inappropriate urination
- Loss of appetite
- Wandering aimlessly in the night randomly meowing – often a sign of feline dementia which can be managed successfully.
Often this is a sign of a medical problem and almost always it can be treated or at least managed through supplements, diet change, pain relief etc to give your older gentleman a better quality of life that he deserves after bringing you so many years of happiness. Even some feline cancers are routinely treated often with successful outcomes, so don’t just put these changes down to “getting old” and if you see any changes at all in your older cat take him to the vets immediately.
In our next and final video blog Denise will share some tips on making your cat’s visit to the vets less stressful.