Cats are masters as hiding disease and may appear well, despite underlying problems.
Examining cats more often as they age will help detect problems earlier, often resulting in easier disease management and a better quality of life.
Like people, some cats age faster than others. Generally speaking however, older cats can be placed into one of the following three groups:
- Mature or middle-aged 7-10 years (44-56 human years).
- Senior: 11-14 years (60-72 human years).
- Geriatric: 15+ years (76 years for humans).
Senior cats, those that are 11 years old or order, can develop chronic diseases that may require more frequent checkups.
Helping Your Senior Cat
You can help your pet through this time of transition by being aware of a number of items:
- Understand the common signs of aging, and look for common age related diseases.
- Be aware of changes in weight.
- Know your cat’s behavior and pay attention to any changes.
- Be aware of your cat slowing down, changes in jumping or climbing stairs.
- Decide on what to feed your cat. As your cat ages, nutritional needs may change as well.
- Pay attention when you scoop. Look for changes in stool which can represent an underlying issue.
- Ensure your aging cat gets proper veterinary care.
How Long do Cats Live?
With a good home and veterinary care, many cats can live into their late teens and early twenties.
It’s important to understand that your cat is likely to undergo certain physical changes with age. Some changes, such as reduced kidney function, may be associated with diseases that affect how long, and how well your pet will live.
Others, such as decreased ability to see, hear and taste, may require certain changes in how you interact with your cat.
Reduce Visit Stress
One very positive aspect of a cat only veterinary clinic is that it reduces the stress on a senior cat.
Owners will want to make sure you pet is well adjusted to it’s carrier in advance of the appointment and making it comfortable with soft bedding it’s familiar with.
You’ll want to schedule plenty of time around the checkup as well. Leave your house to arrive early and so you’re not rushed. This way the cat can remain as calm as possible.
If you know your pet becomes stressed with travel or vet visits, you can ask our vet about a synthetic feline facial pheromone to be used in advance, during and after your visit.
Read more here about caring for your older cat.
Twice Yearly Checkup Recommended
Our vets recommend a routine check up for all cats, a minimum of once yearly, and more frequently for senior cats or those with chronic conditions. These visits are important to your cat’s unique healthcare plan. Our checkups are designed to ensure both the detection and prevention of potential diseases.
Even healthy senior cats should see their veterinarian twice a year to detect early stages or prevent disease. Blood work and blood pressure should be done at least once a year past age 11.