Cats, like people, are living longer than ever before. This can be a joy for pet owners, especially for parents who want to make sure their child’s pet has a long life expectancy. But, it also means taking on extra responsibilities when your pet reaches old age. Cats become the feline version of senior citizens around the age of seven or 10, and have a life expectancy of up to 20 years. That means that in order to preserve the lifespan of their cat, the owners need to take extra precautions when their feline companion reaches “elderly” status.
Some common problems that can occur in older felines include thyroid problems, arthritis, obesity, skin conditions and cancer. In general, indoor cats live longer lives than outdoor cats by a very wide margin. It is estimated that felines that remain indoors can live over twice as long as their outdoor counterparts. The reason for this is not that outdoor cats tend to get into fights. It is mostly because outdoor cats face dangers that indoor cats do not. Such as possibly being hit by a car or being exposed to chemicals, toxins and extreme weather conditions. If your cat enjoys being outdoors, it might be difficult getting him or her used to a new lifestyle and you may decide to simply hope for the best and let your cat out. Then again, it is always possible to teach an old cat new tricks and acclimate them to a more stable, safe life.
Like most cat owners, you’re likely take your cat to the vet for a yearly checkup. However, you need to be even more careful about involving your vet as your cat gets older. Be on the lookout for a sudden change in eating and sleeping patterns, weight gain, dental problems, difficulties moving and lumps on the body. Arthritis is something that many cats have to deal with late in life. The symptoms include an unkempt appearance, shakiness and a reluctance to move. Your cat may find it difficult to get in and out of the litter box and may not move as quickly as they once did. Rapid weight gain or weight loss can signal thyroid problems which are quite common in felines.
If you see any irregularities in your cats’ behavior, take your cat in for a blood test or urinalysis. This should be in addition to any routine tests you may give your cat, including vaccinations. Cats tend to gain weight rapidly as they get older and become less active. It is important that you monitor meals if you notice that your cat is becoming obese. You cannot simply let your elderly pet graze the way they once did. Purchase healthier food that is high in protein and relatively low in carbohydrates. If you feed your cat wet food, remember to add a little dry food into the mix. The combination can be good for your cats. Make sure your cat stays hydrated, and encourage him or her to drink plenty of fluids. This can improve bladder function and is helpful to the kidneys.
If, like most pet owners, you are attached to your cat, you can make sure he or she lives out a long and healthy life by taking extra care. Stay aware of problems that can occur in felines as they age and bring your cat to the vet for regular checkups.