Tender Loving Care For Senior Cats
Has your cat celebrated its eleventh birthday recently? New Haven Pet Hospital welcomes your cat to its golden senior years! Generally, cats are considered seniors from ages 11 through 14. It’s important to shift care of these older, wiser felines to accommodate their changing health needs. Since cats can’t communicate with us, we have to observe our cats as they age for any signs of discomfort or changes in behavior. The experienced veterinary team at our hospital can help with grooming, dental care, and annual wellness check-ups.
What’s On The Menu
As our cats age, their metabolism may slow down and their weight may increase. Don’t get us wrong, a little extra chonk makes them even more cuddly but it’s important to prevent it from getting out of hand. Some senior cats benefit from senior cat foods that have higher protein content. A higher protein diet helps older cats maintain their lean body mass and prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes or kidney issues. Hydration is equally important to your cat’s health, so you may consider adding wet food to their diet or setting up a kitty water fountain to encourage extra moisture intake. Taking your cat for annual wellness exams is helpful to track their weight year over year and to keep your cat at an optimal size for their age.
Sometimes older long-hair cats have difficulty grooming themselves. You may notice their coat is duller, knotted and matted. Knots and mats are actually quite uncomfortable for your cat, so it is important to regularly brush them and remove the mats. If regular brushing doesn’t seem to be helping, you might consider taking your kitty for a “lion cut” to start things over.
Cats need dental care just like us to maintain their pearly fangs. It is recommended that your cat come in at least once a year for a teeth cleaning. Senior cats may need a bit more attention to dental health especially if they did not previously receive regular cleanings. It is important to note if you notice your senior cat is having difficulty eating, chewing, keeping food in its mouth or drooling, they may have an immediate dental issue that they should be seen for.
The Restorative Cat Nap
Senior cats nap and rest more than their younger friends, which is completely normal. Sleeping up to 20 hours a day provides these older cats with the rest their aging bodies need. Senior cats may start to suffer from degenerative issues such as arthritis, joint pain, muscle loss, or generalized inflammation. These conditions may increase the need for those restorative naps. Laser treatment is a novel, medicine-free method that has been known to reduce inflammation and speed recovery times, which can be highly beneficial to an elderly cat.
Senior cats, in particularly females, and senior cats with diabetes are more prone to developing urinary tract infections (UTIs). Senior cats suffering from a urinary tract infection can have a host of symptoms ranging from:
- “Wiggling” their tail when urinating
- Frequent urination, but only passing a small amount of urine
- Increased licking of urinary area
- Urinating outside the litter box
- Crying out in pain while urinating
Treatment for a UTI is usually a course of antibiotics, however cats that have frequent UTI issues may need to eat prescription cat food specially formulated to combat urinary crystals from forming. In some circumstances, it’s hard to diagnose or notice any symptoms of a UTI so don’t be afraid to call us if you suspect something is wrong with your cat. New Haven offers an on-site diagnostic laboratory where we can run your pets blood and urine samples to determine any underlying or chronic conditions.
Whatever your senior cat’s needs may be, the experienced staff at New Haven Pet Hospital is standing by to help. We realize that no two cats are alike, each needs specialized and curated care. Please schedule an appointment with us to learn more about how we can help your senior cat.