Like humans, cats go through significant changes as they age. During this transition, pay attention to your feline companion’s behaviors to determine their needs. Your veterinarian will also begin to adjust your pet care routine. With the proper precautions, you can help your cat live a longer, healthier life.
At What Age Does a Cat Become a Senior?
With the advancement of veterinary medicine and improved nutrition, cats today live longer than ever. While every cat’s progression is unique, most felines are considered seniors from 11 to 14 years of age. Depending on your cat’s breed, medical history, and lifestyle, senior care may come earlier or later than expected. Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s needs as they approach senior status.
What Are Some Common Age-Related Issues?
Many behavioral changes and health issues are linked to the aging process. For instance, dental disease is common in older cats and can contribute to decreased appetite. As your cat ages, their vision, hearing, and sense of smell may worsen. Arthritis can make mobility a challenge, often leading to accidents when cats can’t access the litter box.
You’ll likely notice a decline in activity and play. Even behavior may change—elderly cats can become more aggressive, vocal, or skittish than they used to be. With age, their nails tend to grow brittle and their skin becomes less elastic, making both more prone to infection.
How Can You Care for a Senior Cat?
Most cat owners are accustomed to their pets being relatively independent. However, during this stage of life, your cat will become much more reliant on you. Make sure all of their belongings are easily accessible, including beds, food and water bowls, and litter boxes. Older cats have trouble grooming themselves, so provide assistance by brushing them and trimming their claws regularly.
Your cat may be less active, but that doesn’t make exercise less important. Work in short periods of gentle play with their favorite toys every day. Keep an eye out for sudden changes in behavior, which can indicate developing health issues. Veterinarians recommend increasing the frequency of wellness checks to once every six months, which will allow them to detect and treat any health concerns early on.
Make sure your senior cat receives the veterinary care they need at Wahiawa Pet Hospital. This Oahu animal hospital offers personalized treatments based on your pet’s needs, whether they’re due for cat vaccinations or a simple wellness exam. Their state-of-the-art medical equipment allows them to provide more in-depth services as well, such as digital radiography, laser therapy, surgery, and ultrasonography. Call (808) 621-7000 today to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian. Visit their website for more information about their services.