Before the advent of technology in the medical sector, cats neared eight years of age were termed as seniors. However, today you can see cats as old as 20 in your local veterinarian’s clinic. With proper treatment and medications, felines today live a longer life, but it surely requires ample nurturing and care from their owners as well.
Keep in mind that we all grow old, and growing old isn’t a disease, rather a harbinger of diseases. While some cats might not show signs of any diseases in their old age, some are pained by numerous old-age-related diseases.
Before you start worrying about your cat’s health issues due to old age, you first need to know about what counts as old for the feline population.
Cat’s Age in Human Years
Cats tend to experience aging in their own particular manner. Most cats start encountering physical changes related to aging between years 7 to 10. On the other hand, there are others who show the signs only after they are 12. It is a common belief that each year lived by a cat equals 7-human years. However, this isn’t accurate when it comes to scientific belief. A year-old cat is close enough to a 16-year-old human. As we progress, a 2-year-old cat equals a 21-year-old human.
With this count, a 10-year-old feline is as wise as a 50 to 53-year-old human and so on.
Aging isn’t a Disease
We generally assume that aging is in itself a disease. However, it is a completely natural process that brings in several physical and physiological changes in the body that could eventually lead to diseases taking a toll on the feline.
Although several conditions that affect older dogs might not actually be treatable, they can surely be controlled with proper care and medication. The right way to go about it is to provide the best and healthiest quality of life for your feline friend and recognize the factors as early as possible.
It can help you correct or at the least delay its progress while improving your cat’s overall health.
Common Aging-Induced Diseases in Cats
Let us learn more about the diseases that could trouble your cat as they age. It would help you detect the issues as early as possible while prolonging the lifespan of your pet.
Strong-smelling, dark-yellow pee
Feeling tired, dizzy, and lightheaded
Aggressiveness due to pain
Physical Changes-Increased stiffness
reduced mobility, pain in joints
Poor coat density
|Constipation||Passing feces less often|
Straining while defecating
Crying or pain while defecating
|Deafness||No response to loud sounds or calls|
Disorientation or dizziness
|Ear Infection||Shaking head every now and then|
Pus discharge or unpleasant odor
|Dental Diseases||Tartar collection on gums and teeth|
Redness in gums
|Diabetes Mellitus||Enhanced appetite or thirst|
Changes within the eye
Bad coat condition
Behavioral changes like restlessness or hyperactivity
|Kidney Disease||Poor appetite|
|Cognitive Dysfunction||House soiling|
Changes in waking or sleeping patterns
Changes in environmental/social interaction
Cat Diseases: Sickness or Simply Old Age?
It would be wrong for you to assume that any physical or health-related changes you see manifesting in your old cat are just due to the aging process & are untreatable. Although aging is unavoidable, the associated diseases aren’t. You need to be alert of any physical or behavioral changes in your old cat and get in touch with the veterinarian as soon as possible to find a suitable remedy.
Here are some behavioral changes you might observe in old cats suffering from any health condition:
- Aggression induced due to pain such as arthritis or dental disease
- Frequent urination from diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism, or diabetes mellitus
- Hyperthyroidism induced territorial marking
- Defecating all over the house instead of the litter box due to painful arthritis
How can you keep your old cat healthy?
The right way to keep the old cat healthy is by keeping an eye on them, observing the behavioral changes, if any. You might want to ask your vet to perform a physical examination every week or every month, depending on the cat’s age.
Apart from that, you should also self-assess the cat in places such as the gums, teeth, ear flaps, or ear canals. Also, while stroking the cat’s fur, owners must check for the presence of any abnormal bumps or lumps to evaluate the skin & coat condition.
Here are some ways to evade or manage the health conditions affecting your old cat.
With old age, your cat would surely lose a lot of hair. Daily combing or brushing would prevent or at least reduce the hair fall. Further, it would also prevent them from swallowing the hairballs.
Make sure you choose a good quality brush that also helps stimulate sebaceous secretions and better blood circulation to ensure a healthier coat and skin. You can make use of the GoPets Dematting Comb to ensure that your cat is free of tangled or loose hair.
Make sure you use toothpaste meant for pets to clean your cat’s mouth and evade any possible dental diseases. Do consult with your vet to decide the brushing frequency required to keep their teeth healthy and pain-free.
Focus on Nutrition and Stress-Reduction:
Cats tend to get heavy or obese with age. Add stress to this, and you get a cat that ails from multiple diseases. To ensure that your cat is free of this pain, make sure you focus on a well-balanced diet for the feline and don’t indulge in anything that might stress them out, such as an unfamiliar relative or another cat.
Keep in mind that cats are well-known experts when it comes to hiding their illnesses. It is very common for an old cat to carry several diseases and not even show a single symptom of the same till it reaches an advanced stage. Frequent visits to the local veterinarian with regular examinations can aid the senior cat’s betterment for as long as possible.