An older cat requires special care. As an owner, you have had your kitty companion on your lap and purring for a long time and as a cat ages, an owner needs to be more aware of a cat's health. A healthy cat is a happy cat and as a cat owner, the responsibilities and joy of having a cat changes. As a kitten, they need more stimulation and playtime. An owner of an older cat also has to ensure regular veterinary visits for preventative veterinary medicine and to carefully watch your purring companion for changes in behavior.
The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) Senior Care Guidelines, defines a cat to be mature or middle-aged at 7 to 10 years old, senior cats at 11 to 14 years old, and geriatric from 15 to 25 years old. Cats often live to 16, so many become geriatric and need special monitoring and care.
Many vets will start wellness checks on all cats over age 7. Our resilient feline friends need regular medical care. An experienced owner is very aware of how subtle the signs of illness in cats are and how well cats can hide their (often multiple) illnesses.
Many health conditions occur in older felines, and the owner must be more mindful and attentive of their day-to-day habits needs to be sure we can prevent and catch problems early. We are our cats best friend and should know when our cat changes behavior
A yearly complete physical exam is recommended every six months for all cats over 7 years. Biannual vet visits would be the equivalent of a human seeing their doctor every three to four years. Cats are excellent at hiding illness and often can have multiple health conditions needing care so to keep a cat healthy, yearly exams and wellness testing are essential for keeping a senior cat healthy.
During a well exam for older cats, a chemistry panel should always be performed, which includes checking thyroid levels, a complete blood count to ensure your cat has no illnesses, heartworm/Felv/FIV screening and urinalysis to ensure your cats kidneys are working properly.
Routine blood pressure checks are advised in all cats over 10 years of age and in cats with diseases commonly associated with hypertension (kidney, diabetes and hyperthyroidism). Additionally, abdominal ultrasound or chest or abdominal radiographs are indicated to help screen for disease.
A cat of any age needs a nutritious meat-based diet. Cats are naturally carnivores and need a certain diet and certain compounds to be their best. Protein level and phosphorous levels are two of the most critical analyses that need to be considered to ensure your cvats diet is providing them the right nutrition. Your vet can tell you what your cat needs more or less of from the information learned at the yearly wellness visit to them.
A cat with kidney disease or a history of bladder stones needs protein more and normally a canned food diet in small portions and more frequency will encourage kitty to drink more water and is a diet that is close to the natural diet of a cat. Any diet changes must be done gradually in cats, especially older cats, and is best with your veterinarian's advice based on physical exam and wellness test findings.
These tips can help you have a good cat care plan, diet and home environment for those beloved senior cats. With this guide, you can catch problems early so your kitty will truly enjoy those golden years!
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How To Ensure Your Cats Golden Years are the Best - Patch.com