Cats are living longer, healthier lives than ever, some with lifespans of 20 years or more. This is especially true for indoor cats, who don’t risk as much harmful exposure to the elements as their outdoor counterparts. Your kitty can be classified as a senior cat anywhere between the ages of 7 and 12. Depending on her lifespan, this means that she could potentially be a senior for nearly half of her life. In other words, chronic conditions are common among cats.
Cats are both predator and prey; because of this, they tend to naturally hide any weaknesses for as long as possible so they don’t appear vulnerable. If your senior cat is experiencing health problems, she may do a good job of hiding them. As your cat gets older, pay extra close attention to your kitty so you can notice subtle changes as they occur.
Joint & Mobility Issues
As your sprightly kitty turns into a senior cat, you’ll likely notice a change in her energy levels as she starts to prefer lounging in her favorite sunspot instead of chasing after a laser pointer. While it may simply be a change in interests and energy levels over time, her reluctance to play could also be the result of mobility issues caused by joint discomfort.
You may notice a change in gait over time; your cat may become hesitant or willing to jump or climb to high places. Perhaps your typically well-groomed cat is looking a bit more unkempt than usual because she’s having trouble reaching her usual spots, or her nails are looking extra unruly because she’s having trouble using her scratcher.
If your senior cat’s litter box is tall and requires jumping to enter, consider switching to a more shallow design. You may also need to provide your elderly kitty with some extra grooming assistance to keep her looking and feeling healthy.
Your senior cat may experience digestive issues for a variety of reasons as she gets older. For example, she may lose her appetite due to a decreased sense of smell, or she may be reluctant to eat as a result of dental discomfort. Changes in appetite and/or weight could also be caused by a variety of health conditions.
Urinary and bowel issues are also common in senior cats and can be caused by various health issues. All cats are prone to dehydration, but senior cats tend to need extra care in this department. Many pet owners switch to senior-specific diets which incorporate a significant portion of wet food to encourage hydration.
Promote healthy digestion and nutrient absorption with PetHonesty’s Digestive Probiotics+ Powder For Cats. Just scoop this delicious blend of natural ingredients onto your cat’s food to support her health.
Skin & Coat Problems
As your cat ages, her skin will become thinner with reduced blood circulation, making her more prone to skin issues and infections. She may also develop various lumps and bumps—some of which are a sign of serious health concerns and others of which are completely harmless. As you cuddle with your cat, take some time to evaluate her skin and coat, and contact your vet if you notice any abnormalities.
Your senior cat’s joint and mobility issues may lead to less effective grooming, resulting in matted, dirty fur. Pamper your furry friend by brushing her on a regular basis to remove loose hairs and debris (plus, that’s less hair for her to turn into a hairball).
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Weakened Immune System
A weakened immune system may simply be a natural result of aging; it could also be the result of underlying health conditions. Either way, your senior cat will inevitably become more prone to various health issues as she gets older, as her aging immune system becomes less capable of fighting off invaders.
Changes in your cat’s behavior and appearance—weight changes, excess vocalization, lethargy, etc.—could be the result of both physical and mental health issues. Talk to your vet if you notice any changes in your cat’s looks or demeanor. That way, you can accurately determine the source of the problem and come up with a plan to address the issue to ensure a happy, healthy cat.
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