Caring for Your Senior Cat — Today, our cats are living longer than ever before, many times into their late teens and sometimes even into their 20s. However, with this shift toward older cats, we’re also seeing age-related conditions that were less common previously.
What is a Senior Cat? — Though there is not one age at which a cat is considered senior, the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) suggests the following classification: 7 to 10 years – mature or middle-aged; senior – 11 to 14 years; and geriatric – 15 years and older.
Common Problems in Senior Cats — From arthritis to cancer, the illnesses and ailments affecting older cats are actually quite similar to what senior people deal with. Common diseases seen in senior cats include:
- Dental disease and other oral diseases (e.g., periodontal disease, stomatitis)
- Kidney disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Heart disease (e.g., cardiomyopathy)
- Lung disease
- Changes in vision and other eye abnormalities
- Cognitive decline
- Muscle wasting
Signs and symptoms associated with many of these age-related diseases may be subtle and difficult to notice. Regular veterinary examinations are recommended, particularly for middle-aged to older cats. These examinations can often detect evidence of disease before the condition becomes serious. Early detection may mean better success in treating the disease and less discomfort for your cat as well as less expense for you. Sometimes something as simple as a dietary change is all that is necessary to make a big difference in your aging cat’s quality of life.
For the complete slideshow on common problems associated with aging in cats, visit petMD!