When our senior feline companions get older, their ability to see and hear may start to decline, their mobility decreases and they can develop arthritis. Some cats can develop behavioral changes as well and can become more sensitive to environmental changes. Senior felines are more likely to become overweight, to develop organ disease and develop serious tooth and gum disease. Some joint and muscle changes may, for example, deter them from using a litter box that is down a large flight of stairs. A sore mouth may deter them from eating the food they require for proper nourishment.
The thing to keep in mind is that a cat doesn’t understand that these things are wrong with them, they think that something is wrong with their world. It can take quite a bit of understanding and patience living with a senior feline. Also, most cats will do their best to hide any problems from you, making your job of spotting changes more difficult.
To keep on top of the changes your senior feline is going through, take your pet to your veterinarian at least yearly, if not every six months. Six months to a cat is equal to two years for us! Many age related problems can develop in that short span of time.
Your veterinarian can check sight, hearing, teeth and gums, body condition and mobility in a physical exam. Your vet team can also test for age-related diseases by taking a little blood and urine from your cat. Catching disease early can help you and your feline ease into food transitions and medication as needed as well as spare your cat from discomfort or even pain.
Food can also be a huge contributor on your senior feline’s health! Senior felines require different nutrition than a kitten or adult cat and your veterinary team can help choose a diet that will benefit your cat and any medical condition they have. Some foods are even known to reduce disease symptoms, clean teeth, promote weight loss or promote joint health! Remember to be patient and understanding with your senior feline and your veterinary team is only a call away to help answer any questions.