Caring for a Senior Cat: The Basic Essentials
Senior Cat Care Basics
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone that a senior cat has needs that are different than those of a young cat. But how do you know when your cat is a senior?
Generally, cats over 7-10 years of age should be considered seniors. With increasing age, changes in the body occur as well. For instance, in one study, roughly 90% of cats over the age of 12 years were noted to have radiographic evidence of arthritis. Needless to say, with arthritis comes pain and mobility issues.
Without the proper care, dental disease can also pose a problem, particularly for older pets. You may be surprised to learn that veterinarians find evidence of dental disease in pets as early as 2-3 years of age.
What can you do to help your senior cat? Here are some tips:
Schedule regular visits with your veterinarian. Your cat needs to be examined at least yearly even if they appear healthy, as many diseases are hidden and not apparent. Remember it is much cheaper to prevent disease than it is to treat it!
Besides looking for early signs of disease, your veterinarian should also perform a body condition evaluation for your cat during each visit. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to evaluate your cat’s body condition as well. Body condition is used to determine whether your cat is overweight, underweight or at an ideal body weight.
Feed your senior cat food with adequate protein levels. Avoid vegan or vegetarian foods. Cats are obligate carnivores. They require nutrients such as taurine and arachidonic acid that are only found in animal sources. They also require a higher protein level than dogs, comparatively. Learn to read a pet food label and feed a food that is appropriate for your cat’s age and lifestyle
For the complete article on caring for your senior cat, visit petMD!