As your cat begins to age, their health needs and concerns may begin to shift. They will have new issues that can arise and considerations that should be made to keep them comfortable. Today, our Alpharetta geriatric pet vets share some advice for caring for senior cats and some of the changes you can expect as they enter old age.
Senior Cat Care
Caring for senior cats includes keeping them healthy and comfortable as well as monitoring them for the subtle signs of health issues if they occur. This makes yearly geriatric veterinary care along with at-home care essential to their ongoing health. Vets may also even recommend twice-yearly visits for super senior cats.
Changes Experienced by Old Cats
The care of old cats is a bit different than if you were caring for a younger cat or kitten. 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 Needs 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.By opting to feed your senior or super senior cat a diet that is specifically formulated for older cats, you can help in many ways, including:
- Manage weight
- Increase lifespan
- Maintain healthy skin, coat, and bodily functions
Food for senior cats can either be wet or dry. Our geriatric pet vets in Alpharetta 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 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 issues such as vomiting from gorging which can result in low nutrient absorption.
Your geriatric pet veterinarian in Alpharetta will be able to help you determine the best food to offer your senior cat based on their needs.
What preventive care is needed for old cats?
Ongoing checkups with your vet will be crucial for discovering potential health concerns for your senior cat before they become more serious. Having a good relationship with your vet can also make it easier for the vet to pinpoint potential changes as they have the opportunity to see your pet often gaining insight into what is normal and having an idea of what your life is like.
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 From Veterinary Geriatric Care
Some of the key areas that your vet will address during your senior cat's routine checkup in Alpharetta include:
- 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 and Nose Health
- Abdomen Discomfort
- Muscles and Joints
- Blood Pressure
- Bloodwork and Urinalysis
Our geriatric pet vets at Loving Hands Animal Clinic & Pet Resort in Alpharetta will also perform any necessary testing for feline diseases as well as administer any preventive care during your cat's visit.
How to Care For a Senior Cat at Home
Routine vet care at the veterinary clinic can help to provide in-depth care for your senior cat, while at-home care is also vital to keeping them comfortable, happy, and healthy. Keeping your pet happy with both physical and mental stimulation will also help them as they age.
Some of the things that you should consider when it comes to at-home senior cat care include:
- Ensuring Easy Access to Food and Beds
- Making Changes to Make Your Home More Accessible
- Keeping a Veterinary Care Routine
- Providing the Necessary Medications
- Lifestyle Accommodations
Focusing on the ever-changing needs of your old cat as they age can go a long way in helping them lead a long and comfortable life.
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.